For most students, it is such a priceless experience to study in a different country. The ability to spend some time in a different country allows students to get exposed to other cultures or perspectives not present in their native countries.
However, for most students, studying abroad appears to be rather expensive. Due to the variations in currencies plus costly tuition and the increasing accommodation costs, they quickly add up to make things quite tricky.
However, for people who have a firm purpose of studying abroad, these rising costs may not deter them from achieving their lifelong dream. Most international schools have opportunities for financial aids and scholarship opportunities to help mitigate some of these costs.
There are several financial aids available for college students who may find it difficult to pay their way through college. One of such financial support is the FAFSA.
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What is FAFSA?
Can international students apply for FAFSA? If not, what other student aids are available for international students. This post aims to address the position of international students when it comes to FAFSA.
FAFSA means Free Application for Federal Student Aid. It is an application that is used by the government of the USA to check whether a student qualifies for financial aid.
According to the American education system, FAFSA gets filled out in a student’s secondary school’s final year. Alternatively, the student can fill out the FAFSA form a year before they begin their university studies.
FAFSA is only available for US citizens and eligible non-citizens of the USA. The FAFSA’s approval is also available for permanent residents, that is, students who have the American green card.
However, apart from FAFSA, most American tertiary institutions offer numerous opportunities for government financial aid intended for students from international countries.
The government also has schemes to help international students to cope with the financial aspect of their studies. Furthermore, there are other opportunities for funding that comes from both the school and non-profits.
Rather than providing FAFSA for foreign origin students, the US strongly encourages international students to apply to study in the US to look for reliable university scholarship schemes to help with their tuition fees and housing expenses.
There are also work-study programs available in the US. These work-study programs allow students schooling in the US to take up jobs within the campus to earn an income every semester.
The following are alternative sources of financial aid for international students in the US.
FAFSA for International Students
In strict terms, the Federal Student Aid Program’s student financial aid is for citizens of the US and eligible non-citizens.
What Does a Non-eligible Citizen Mean?
Based on the Federal Student Aid classification, the following group of people is eligible non-citizens:
- Any permanent resident of the United States of America who has a Green Card.
- A lifelong resident of the United States of America under the I-551C condition.
- Someone who has an arrival-departure record I-94 which they get from the American Homeland Security Department having the following definitions: Indefinite parole, humanitarian parole, asylum granted, Cuban-Haitian entrant or a refugee.
- Someone who possesses the T-visa. The T-visa gets issues with victims who are subjects of human trafficking. Someone whose parents hold the T-visa also qualifies for a non-eligible citizen.
- Someone who is a battered immigrant-eligible alien. This means that the person is an abuse victim. Alternatively, they can still be children of an abuse victim. The Violence sets these conditions Against Women Act (VAWA) of the USA.
While international students are not eligible for the traditional FAFSA, they can apply for the FAFSA. If an international student does not qualify for the FAFSA as an eligible non-citizen, they can still fill their FAFSA application. Doing this helps them be available for financial aids provided at both the state and school levels.
The students are to fill out the FAFSA and submit the same through their schools. The school will make use of the FAFSA in determining whether the student qualifies for grants, scholarships, and loans.
Diverse organizations offer these financial aids and are not-for-profit organizations, as well as the state. When done with their FAFSA application, students should try other financial aid sources.
They can do this by checking their local embassy and their school’s financial aid office for international students.
Some Alternative Sources of Loans for International Students in the USA
While international students may not access the FAFSA, there are several other loan opportunities available. These are:
Most colleges that accept foreign students offer student loan schemes and other financial aid schemes. The following loan options are available for students from other countries.
School loans: Several schools in the US extend their loans to students from other countries. Students either get to contact their course advisors or their school’s office for financial aid to access these loans.
Private loans: Some private lenders give out loans to students from other countries. These are accessed through their school’s international student’s services department or their financial aid office.
The International Education Financial Aid (IEFA) Organization: As one more alternative to student loans for international students, the IEFA is in partnership with several top providers of international students’ loans.
This helps international students from any part of the world get the funds to help with their schooling anywhere abroad.
Scholarships and Grants
Alternatively, if they cannot access such traditional financial aid schemes like the FAFSA, students studying in the US can send in their applications for grants and scholarships. It is best to do this in the academic institution that you plan to attend. Numerous colleges in the US have different grants and scholarship programs intended for international students to fund their academics.
Most of the time, it could be such an uphill task to fund one’s studies in a country like the USA. However, since international students who are non-citizens of the country cannot apply for the FAFSA, this does not mean that they cannot fund their schooling. There are several alternative sources of funding in the USA that international students can access.