How to fund study at American universities

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By in Study in America. Updated October 2013.

Find out what funding is on offer for UK nationals planning to study in America.International scholarships usa

It’s common knowledge that choosing to study at a university in America is not cheap. Many students would struggle to pay for one year’s study, let alone four (the norm for undergrad).

The good news is that there are lots of scholarships, grants and other types of funding available for UK students wishing to spend their time in the States.

You could be awarded as much as £6,000 of your tuition fees each year. Under some scholarship and funding schemes you could see the cost of attending an American University as an international undergraduate cut to around £10,000 a year (which now isn’t much more than studying in the UK).

Ways and means of obtaining funding

There are 3 main types of funding for UK nationals looking to study in America and they are:

  1. American university scholarships – extremely competitive but available to international students that have excellent grades or other special talents in sport and other extra curricular activities.
  2. Financial aid and funding – available to students who are somewhat held back from further study due to their family’s financial background.
  3. Corporate sponsorship – sometimes offered by companies who invest in a student’s university education before recruiting them.

Key sources of funding study in America

  1. Domestic (UK) Funding

    Some organisations at home (UK) may offer you scholarships or funding to study in America.

    They are hard to come across, but if you have the right contacts and conviction in what you can offer them in return, can be a real help.

  2. Funding from American Unis/Colleges

    Less than half of American Universities offer financial aid to international students, however it’s worth asking your prospective university if they do.

    The international undergraduate financial aid can come in a number of forms including scholarship, loans, work schemes and grants.

    These international student grants are very competitive in America for first years and you will have to prove that you have top marks at college level.

  3. Sports Scholarships

    Some American colleges offer scholarships to outstanding sports men or women.

    If you specialise in any sport from American football to cheer leading (American stereotypes we know), then definitely let them know in your application.

  4. Awards for excellent international students

    This type of funding is very rare and mostly used for postgraduate study but if you ask a financial adviser they will tell you if you are applicable.

  5. Secure a local part-time job

    The employment law for international students in America is slightly confusing. For the first year you are not allowed to work more than 20 hours a week, and must be completed on campus.

    Only after freshmen year can you apply to work off campus, but still is not a dead cert. If you can secure paid work before moving to America you’ll be in better financial position.

  6. Student loans in America

    This should be a last resort for international students looking to study in America. It can be tricky to apply for a student loan, and you will also have to get a US citizen to co-sign and act as a guarantor for you.

More information

Fulbright CommissionSee ‘cutting the cost of an American degree‘ for more ways to save money. And of course there are lots more resources out there to help you secure funding at an American university.

Both the Soros Foundation and Rotary International Foundation offer funding to UK students looking to study in America.

If you are considering a private student loan then try the international student loan company.

To compare and look for a list of funding sources to study in American then take a look at International financial education aid or check out Fulbright international aid.

This article is part of our Study Abroad America series.

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