Paying for college is one of the toughest parts in earning your degree. Everything from the FAFSA application to how the interest is being computed has shifted. The rates usually reset, rise, or fall.
The Pell Grants, which does not need to be paid, has increased. The Pay As You Earn Repayment Program allows borrowers to limit the student loan payments to 10% of their discretionary income and forgives the remaining balance after 20 years. The criteria for the Grad PLUS Loan eased its criteria.
In getting your college education, you need to go over several student scholarship grants that can help you defray your expenses for college. The Federal Student Aid can help you pay your college or graduate school expenses.
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For parents and students searching for ways to pay education, you can always try the FAFSA. Maximize the use of scholarships, grants, savings, and work-study earnings.
You do not have to repay this money. You should consider how the indirect cost estimates match your expected personal spending and circumstances so you can adjust them as necessary.
Borrow federal loans only after you take every opportunity to use grants and scholarships. Federal student and parent loans have low fixed interest rates and flexible repayment plans if you hit hard times.
Don’t Use Your Credit Card to Finance Your Education. Credit cards are the most expensive source of funds. Avoid using your credit card to finance your tuition, room and board, fees, books, transportation, and health insurance expenses.
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Sources of graduate funding
The first places to check for funding opportunities are the Ministry/Department of Education in your home and host countries. International students may not be eligible for all government funding schemes in the host country, so it’s important to thoroughly check opportunities in your home country first.
Globally, typical government-funded aid includes sponsorships, loans, grants, scholarships (also known as studentships in the UK when referring to PhD students) and bursaries, each with distinct rules regarding eligibility, deadlines, application procedures and amount of funding awarded.
Scholarships are prestigious, highly coveted and usually the hardest form of financial aid to secure. They don’t need to be repaid and cover the full or partial costs of tuition, sometimes along with a portion of living costs.
Scholarships are usually based solely on academic merit, although there are also many specialized scholarships which are targeted at students with certain backgrounds, interests, skills or ambitions.
For example, sporting scholarships for the athletically gifted are particularly common in the US, and you don’t have to be on a sports-related course to apply.
Assistantships (also known as studentships in the US) provide funding for postgraduate students in exchange for time spent working in a teaching or research role. They may be funded by the university department or your supervisor’s research budget, or by an external funding body with vested interests in a particular field of development.
Rarely offered for professional degrees such as the JD, MBA or MD, often a requirement for PhD programs, and particularly common in STEM subjects, assistantships are cost-effective for the university and provide valuable teaching and/or research experience for the student.
Students with an assistantship are obliged to carry out specified teaching and/or research activities, stipulated in a contract. In return, you’ll typically receive a modest salary and/or a waiver of your tuition fees.
Some universities may also provide funding for field trips and conference participation. When working in this capacity, make sure to remain within the constraints of your student visa, which may specify some employment restrictions.
Charities, trusts, learned societies and special interest groups often dedicate a portion of their budget to fund graduate studies. While some organizations target specific and niche demographics, many focus simply on students from lower income backgrounds, those experiencing particular financial difficulty, and/or those with demonstrable academic excellence.
Usually awards are made for a year at a time, with renewal possible, and students can secure backing from multiple organizations.
A form of crowd-sourcing whereby private loans are given to individuals without the mediation of an official financial institution, peer-to-peer (P2P) or social lending provides funding for a variety of endeavors.
Specialized online platforms are often used, with some (such as GraduRates.com and StudentFunder.com) focusing on the student market. While the lending is unsecured and you may need a solid credit history, P2P lending is more flexible in terms of repayment and interest rates for the borrower, while lenders have the opportunity to invest in a project or career they believe in.
It can also provide a more formalized structure when lending among families and friends – turning a favor into a business transaction.
If you intend to use a student job to supplement your finances, remember that each country has its own rules about whether, where and how international students can work. Typical restrictions include limited working hours during term-time, and rules about whether you can work off-campus or need to stick to jobs within the university.
For example, international students in Canada must obtain the Off-Campus Work Permit (OCWP). Most campuses offer many opportunities for part-time work, including working in a shop or café, in the student union, as an organizer or helper at university events, in an administrative role, or as a student tutor or advisor.
You could also consider freelance work as a tutor, capitalizing on skills in fields such as languages, sports, arts or music.
Maybe you should consider the Fulbright Foundation and other organizations for scholarships, aid from the US Government, aid from the US Educational Institutions, aid from Private US organizations and Sponsors, and lastly assistance from your family.