Budgeting

Paying For Your Studies in The United States : Invest in Your Own Training

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Like many other students, whether they be foreign or american, you are probably concerned about how you’re going to finance your studies in the United States. Don’t let that ruin your projects. A good plan will help you move forward. If you feel overwhelmed by the cost, think about what studying in the United States could mean for your future.  

Studies are one of the best investments you can make, an investment in your own training. Besides, this money won’t only cover the costs of the laboratory and the library books returned late. You’ll also have a great time, such as ski trips or evenings spent savouring sushis with your new friends ! Properly estimate the overall cost of your studies in the United States, then establish a precise budget. You must take many elements into consideration. Keep in mind that many American establishments ask foreign students to pay tuition fees in advance for the entire first year. In order to cover such an important amount, you and your family will probably need to start saving money in advance. 

Despite this, don’t let yourself be impressed by the cost of the studies in the United States. Some studies in the United States and mastering the english language open the way to more secure and better-paying jobs.  

In the end, your studies will quickly be paid off. 

To finance your studies in the United States, you might be able to benefit from financial aid programs, in the form of grants, university scholarships, loans and work-study options. Take the time to research carefully the financing options available to you. 

UNIVERSITY SCHOLARSHIPS

Very few American academic establishments are able to offer a strong financial assistance to foreign students. It’s therefore essential that you and your family be able to cover all the costs for scholarly, housing and food. University scholarships of varying amounts will only cover a small part of the total amount required for an academic year in the United States. You can write to the institution of your choice and ask for a scholarship consideration form. However, we recommend you to check with your family, government and other organisations to which you belong in order to finance your studies. You will have more chances to get some help and you won’t be competing with students from all over the world. Also, if the scholarship program is based in your country, the process will be easier for you. 

LOANS

Loans can help you study in the United States as an international student. There are also loans reserved for international students. Although the majority of american students have to obtain a loan in order to pursue their studies, the decision to go into debt should be viewed with caution. Research carefully the options that are presented to you. It is better to get as much financing as possible (in other words, money that you do not have to repay) then, if needed, finance the rest with a loan. Compare interest rates and loan conditions at various financial institutions in order to find the loan that suits you the best.

As with any other investment, don’t lose sight of your objective. You will invest in your future career and your ability to earn a decent salary.

WORK-STUDIES

It is estimated that 75% of full-time students in the United States have a part-time job. If you are coming to the United States for a certain period of time or as part of an exchange program, it is likely that you will be in possession of an F-1 student visa. This type of visa can allow you to participate in work-study programmes proposed in your establishment.

It is recommended to work in your home country beforehand, as visa restrictions in the United States reduce the number of hours you will be allowed to work. If you are able to get a job in a work-study program, make sure you don’t overwork yourself by doing too many hours of work while still taking the number required of classes. You came to the United States in order to pursue studies and you want to enjoy this visit and excel in your classes. However, part-time work will allow you to earn pocket money but also to gain work experience. The key is to find a balance that suits you.

ENTRANCE EXAMS : 500 USD

Entrance exams in colleges or universities, especially SAT, TOEFL and GMAT, can cost you between 50 and 500 USD. May include additional costs of processing, sending notes to institutions, etc. It’s possible that you may have to take these exams more than once, so it is important to take into account such costs. It is important to plan ahead so that the institution receives the notes before the file application deadline. Additional fees are charged when results are sent urgently.

APPLICATION FEES : 250 – 600 USD

The application fees covering the administration and the process and the application are between 50 and 75 USD per application. Most applicants apply to between for and ten institutions.

TUITION FEES : 2 200 – 40 980 USD

Tuition fees vary significantly from institution and location. Depending on the institution you decide to pursue your studies, annual tuition fees can range from 2 200 and 40 980 USD. In general, schools offering intensive english language courses (ESL) and community colleges cost less than colleges or universities. Public institutions, which are financed by the local state or american government, are more affordable than private institutions. However, most public institutions financed by a particular state charge higher « out-of-state » fees for international students and you should take into account an annual inflation rate of about 5% on tuition fees. collegeboard.com is a useful website to compare tuition fees.

ACCOMMODATION AND MEAL : 8 060 – 11 890 USD 

During the first academic year, the majority of students choose to live in 

dormitories or university residences. Some institutions require first-year students to live in a dormitory during their first year of study. In general, at least two people share a room, which is a good way to make friends, you and your roommate can explore together your new environment. Accommodation on campus is also available for married couples and their families. Rents in rural areas are often more affordable than in large cities. In larger cities, and in the english language institutes, the students can live at lower cost outside the campus. Rental contracts in the United States often require payment of the first and last month’s rent, as well as a security deposit. Wherever you choose to live, make a detailed inventory of the apartment with the company of your landlord and take note of any existing damage before you move in. Make sure the renting and reimbursement conditions of the guarantee are stipulated in the contract signed by both parties. If you do not understand a clause in the contract, ask a friend to help you. It is important to understand the document that you’re about to sign : don’t feel pressured by your landlord to rush it.

Another option, appreciated by many students, is to live with an american family. This is what we call generally « homestay » or host family. If your institution offers such a service, you can ask for a homestay placement. Otherwise, your institution can provide you with a list of companies that arrange homestay programs. Don’t hesitate to ask for help. 

The family gives you an independant or shared room, breakfast and dinner with the family are also included. Living with a host family is an option particularly interesting for the students who are not used to living by themselves. It is also one of the best ways to learn english and understand directly the family lifestyle in the United States.  

About the author

Floyd Porter

I'm a writer and content creator, i also do freelance teaching, translation, and copywriting work, I love music, movies and video games, I'm passionate about social media and can't live without the internet, especially for all the interesting stories out there ;)

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