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In the past two weeks, we have got so many inquiries from international students, mostly from Nepal and Nigeria, asking us to give them the list of colleges and universities which can offer full-ride scholarships – that means the scholarships will cover most of the costs for your college education.   Is there really such list?

To be honest, it is very hard to get scholarships, grants, or financial aid as an international student in the U.S.  It is also extremely difficult to obtain a full-ride scholarship for any student, even if you are American.

It puzzles us why those future students from Nepal and Nigeria think “scholarships” come naturally with an admission offer.    They think “if I apply for a U.S. college and get admitted, I can get a full-ride scholarship with my admission.  That means I will have a free education in the U.S. no matter how good my academic performance is.”

Come on!  Snap out of the unrealistic dreams.  Don’t you realize that “Noting is really free, especially higher education in the United States.”   You will have to pay for it one way or the other.

Tuition-Free Colleges & Universities

If you are looking for paying very little for your education here in the U.S., you can consider “tuition-free” schools.  However, only a handful of students are qualified for this approach.  In the past, we have published several articles on this “tuition-free” topic such as:

Price Tag for a College Education

The costs for studying in the U.S. as an international student are not cheap and they include:

  1. Tuition and fees,
  2. Books and supplies,
  3. Room & board,
  4. Transportation,
  5. Student insurance, and
  6. Other miscellaneous expenditures such as entertainment and clothing.

With the rising costs for college degrees, international students will have a difficult time finding a U.S. college or university under $25,000 U.S. dollars per year.  Many recent inquiries from Nepal, however, asked us “which U.S. schools can allow international students to study with an annual budget below $10,000 U.S. dollars.”   This request is a bit unrealistic.


Related blog posts:


Why not check with your government or local organizations for scholarship opportunities?   Should all the scholarship resources are running out, an international student loan can come in handy to fulfill your study-abroad dream.

Getting an International Student Loan in the United States

It is possible for you to get an international student loan from a U.S. lender for studying in the United States, but you need a co-signer for your loan.   The co-signer has to be a U.S. citizen (or a green card holder) who has an excellent credit score.   If your co-signer has a green card only, he or she has to live in the U.S. in the past two years.  You may check with these two organizations:

  1. Citizens Bank 
  2. Discover Student Loan

(Disclaimer: We have no business relations with the two organizations mentioned above.)

Student Loans from Your Country
Sources for a loan for studying abroad can also come from your own country.   You need a co-signer from your country if you borrow money from:

  1. Your government,
  2. Local banks in your country, and
  3. Non-profit or for-profit organizations in your country.

Other Financial Sources for You:

  • If you currently work for a company in your country, ask your company to see if there is a study-abroad scholarship or loan for its talented staff.  We know many famous companies do offer this incentive approach to its employees.  Your company may ask you to agree to serve for a certain period of time after the completion of your studies in another country.  (You may also have to pay back all or some of the scholarship amount or loan.)
  • If you are a college student in your own country, ask your school if there are “exchange student” programs which allow you to pay your school’s low tuition and fees, and you can study at a college or university in another country.   For example, National Chiao Tung University (NCTU of Taiwan) has an exchange student program established with the State University of New York – Stony Brook campus (SUNY-SB).   Each semester, one selected student from NCTU can pay around $500 U.S. dollars for tuition and fees to NCTU, and study at SUNY-SB.  NCTU’s $500 for tuition and fees are so affordable, compared with the tuition ($12,090) for an international student at SUNY-SB.  Each semester, the cost for an exchange student at SNHU-SB is $8,000 – $10,000 for living expenses, books & supplies, transportation, and student insurance.