1 (and how to apply and get it) BROUGHT TO YOU BY:
2 What is FINANCIAL AID? Any form of assistance provided by an institution to fund a person s college education, commonly through a combination of: Grants Scholarships Paid employment (work-study) Loans Aside from loans, most financial aid does not need to be repaid.
3 What is FINANCIAL AID? Colleges and universities provide a combination of either need-based aid, merit-based aid, or both: Merit-based aid awarded to students who meet specific distinguishing academic criteria though grants and scholarships Need-based aid awarded to students accepted into the college who demonstrate financial need (usually very limited)
4 MERIT-BASED FINANCIAL AID Merit-based awards are typically given to students who exhibit some form of academic excellence through grades, leadership positions, and standardized test scores. There are some institutions that give merit-based awards to international students, though most selective schools do not.
5 NEED-BASED FINANCIAL AID Colleges and universities that provide substantial need-based financial aid, especially for international students, tend to be among the most selective schools in the country. Depending on an individual institution s admissions policies, exhibiting financial need may affect a student s application.
6 NEED-BLIND VS. NEED-AWARE NEED-BLIND ADMISSIONS A student s financial need will not affect his or her admissions decision. Though there are several schools with this policy, few extend need-blind admissions to international students. NEED-AWARE ADMISSIONS A school will continue to exercise need-blind admissions until it reaches its budget. It is much harder for international students to gain acceptance and/or receive aid from institutions with this policy.
7 HOW TO GET NEED-BASED FINANCIAL AID AS AN INTERNATIONAL STUDENT It s tough, but not impossible!
8 FINDING COLLEGES Knowledge is power when it comes to finding colleges or universities that will not only fit your personal and academic interests but also provide the financial aid that you will need to pursue your education, so research, research, research! TIP: For the U.S., start with LIBERAL ARTS COLLEGES.
9 CHOOSING COLLEGES If you absolutely need financial aid, only apply to institutions that offer need-based financial aid to international students.
10 CHOOSING COLLEGES Diversify the kinds of schools that you choose to apply to in terms of size, selectivity, and need-based vs. need-aware policy. Request to waive application fees if the college requires one. There are usually instructions on the college s website.
11 FULL-NEED Keep an eye out for colleges and universities whose financial aid websites have statements such as: Hamilton meets the full demonstrated financial need of every admitted international student for all four years. - Hamilton College (Clinton, NY) If you need a substantial amount of financial aid, especially as an international applicant, you may wish to consider applying to full need schools.
12 STAND OUT As an international applicant you already have the advantage of contributing to a college s diversity, especially if you re applying to a college with a small international population. Like any other college applicant, make sure your extracurricular activities and essays show why you, more than anyone else, deserve to be admitted and receive financial aid as an international student.
13 GRADES & TEST SCORES You need to have a competitive edge, academically: Consistently high academic standing through all four years of high school Above average standardized test scores (e.g. scoring at least 2100 on the SATs) Leadership positions in school activities TIP: Apply to need-aware schools for which your test scores fall towards the higher percentile of admits.
14 FORMS INTERNATIONAL STUDENT FINANCIAL AID APPLICATION (ISFAA) This is your main application for financial aid, wherein you declare your family s financial situation in terms of assets, expenses, siblings in college, parents income, etc.
15 FORMS INTERNATIONAL STUDENT CERTIFICATION OF FINANCES This form is signed by bank officials to confirm the sources of funding that your family declares.
16 APPLYING EARLY You may choose to apply early if there is a single institution that you would prefer above the rest; however, you would not be able to compare financial aid awards as one would do after regular decision. If you are granted early admission but do not receive enough aid from the college, you may decline admission.
College Visit Checklist To help you find the right college, fill out one of these forms each time you visit a school. College Name Decide City Admissions Contact Name To-Do Checklist Talk to professors
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