Find a U.S. School You Can Afford
Apr 12, 2014 by Bryanna Davis
View tips for international students on where to start your US school search, items to consider to stay inside your educational budget, and financial aid.
Live Google Hangout April 24th at 11:00am
Thanks for attending our Kickin’ it old school classroom series. I’m Bryanna Davis from Internationalstudent.com and today we are going to cover how to find a school you can afford. If you’re in the very early stages of finding a school then this will shed a bit of light on where to begin the process.
During the hangout please send in any questions that you have through the hangout chat feature because we’re going to spend the second half of the hangout just answering the questions you send in.
The very first thing that you need to know- how much you can spend. You can’t find a school that is financially acceptable if you don’t know how much you can spend first. Now, you don’t have to know to the exact dollar that’s in your budget but you should have an approximate amount of how much you are wanting to spend- for example if it’s closer to $10,000 per year or $50,000 per year. If you have absolutely no idea how much you are able to spend a good place to start is by finding out what the average annual salary is of the occupation you are pursuing. If you think that $50,000 per year is an acceptable amount to spend but find out that you will be making $20,000 a year for the first few years- you will want to reconsider if that’s a realistic amount to spend. Keep in mind that if your family isn’t paying for your school, you need to be able to afford to pay back a loan you took out.
After you have an approximate amount, here’s your little pricing cheat sheet- If you’re in the $10,000 budget range you will want to start your search by checking out community colleges. If you’re somewhere in the middle, say around $25,000 per year, state colleges might be a good place to start your search- if you don’t really have a tight budget, and the amount of money that you are able to spend is not a problem, then really you can start wherever you would like- including private universities which are much more costly.
This leads us to number two, check out what scholarships and grant packages the school of your choice has to offer. Schools often offer grants to help offset the cost of tuition, especially at private schools that have a higher price tag. Sometimes they even offer international student specific scholarships. So if you have a dream school in mind that you think is too expensive, before you write it off completely, see what financial aid packages it can offer. You might even want to apply to schools that fall into various brackets, for example if a state college is what you can afford, but you have your heart set on a private university, apply to that school and see what they can offer first. However, still apply to schools that actually fall within your budget along with a few safety schools. Safety schools are schools that fall below your budget. The reason you will want to apply to at least one safety school is so if you have a large portion of financial aid that falls through, you can still spend your year abroad.
Lastly- remember that when you try to find a school you can afford, you need to look at more than tuition! So after you have a few schools in mind, you will also want to take into consideration the cost of living in the area your school is located. For example- if you choose a school in New York City you will have to pay New York City prices for rent, food, travel and other essential items you need throughout your time. This will be more expensive than if you choose a school located in say Jacksonville, Florida. The Huffington Post UK just came out with information saying the average monthly cost for international students in the US is about $870.00. Keep in mind this number should only be a guide as it will vary from one city to the next- but it’s a good number to start at.
So- figure out your general budget, which will then give insight into if you can attend a community college, state college or private university along with which state or city you can afford to live in. Then find a few schools that are inside your price range. You can then narrow down your list even further by seeing what scholarships they offer international students.
Before we get to questions, because I’m sure many of you are asking the question- where can I see a list of schools in the US and how much the tuition is- go to www.internationalstudent.com/school-search/usa/. There you can see every school in the US and how much you can expect to pay.
Ok- now let’s take a look at the questions that have come in.
Those are all of the questions we have time for today. If we were not able to get to your question- I do apologize as we are out of time. Please feel free to send it to us through our Google+ page and we will get it answered for you. Thank you for attending our hangout today- we’re glad you joined us. If you want more information- we have a number of videos with tips and tricks for you to watch when it comes to becoming or being an international student, after this hangout make sure you check out our YouTube channel for other great info on becoming and being an international student.