Taking a look on the internet for the kind of financial aid available for international students does not produce the results that most other searches do. Often, one might think it does, only to read a particular college’s mission statement on financial aid for international students and find that it is completely null and void. However, there is some hope out there for international students who wish to study and attend a college or university within the United States.
From what it looks like, students from the United States who want to study abroad in either countries – either for simply a semester or two, or for the entire course of their college career – fare far, far better than international students who wish to study in the United States. Students from the United States – or eligible non-citizens and permanent residents – have their choice of several different types of financial aid packages for studying abroad. They can receive Study Abroad Loans, which fund them if they wish to spend a semester or two abroad. They can also receive Foreign Enrolled Loans, which is available for students who wish to pursue a degree in another country, as long as the university or college they choose is an approved one. As well, American students wishing to study abroad can rely on Stafford Loans (as can non-citizens who meet the eligibility requirements) – again, as long as the college or university they choose is an approved institution.
Depending on the financial aid offered in an individual international student’s country, he or she might be out of luck. There are certain corporations and programs which offer financial aid for international students, such as Sallie Mae and InternationalStudentLoan.com, but for the most part, the pickings are rather slim. In some cases, international students must first qualify for a visa. Most schools in the United States do not have the resources for financial aid for international students. However, some banks and other third-party companies within the United States also have ways of providing aid to international students. In most, if not all, of these cases, the international student must have someone within the United States – who must be a valid citizen or have a green card – to act as a cosigner for their loans.
Likewise, international students are generally not considered eligible to fill out and submit FAFSA forms because they are not United States citizens. However, with guidance from the appropriate sources, there might actually be ways around it.
The one good thing is that the desire of students inside and outside the United States to study in another country is growing every single year. As the popularity increases, the possibility for financial aid for international students will go up with it, opening up more and more possibilities for international students who wish to study in the United States. That does not help much now but until that finally comes to pass, there are possibilities available now, as well as a variety of private and third-party loans, just as long as the international student in question has someone in the United States willing to cosign a loan.