Financing Your US Education
It is fairly easy to obtain financial assistance for undergraduate programs. You only have to apply to ‘the right’ universities and fill up the required forms correctly. Most private liberal arts colleges in the US provide financial aid to international students. Note that state-funded public universities will not accept financial aid forms. International students who intend to attend a public university must show that they have the necessary funds to pay for the cost of their education.
How do I apply for financial aid?
If you are seeking financial aid, you need to fill in the Foreign Student Financial Aid form (FSFA). This form can be obtained from the college that you intend to apply to. Universities provide financial aid based on the information you furnish in this form. Therefore, it is imperative that you fill out this form correctly. You must provide bank statements or income tax returns as supporting documents along with your financial aid application. Double check the figures and make sure that all the information you have provided is correct.
How to fill in the FSFA
The first section of this form requires you to provide personal information such as your address and date of birth. You are also asked about the type of visa you will be applying for. Most international students apply for the F-1 student visa.
The second section of the FSFA form asks you about your family, your parents, and the educational expenses that your family has. For instance, if you have a sibling in college for whom your parents are paying $200 per annum, you would list that expense here.
The third section of the form asks you to state your family income from all sources. The next section asks you to list your assets including the house you stay in. You will have to mention the value of the house when your family purchased it and its current value. List all the assets of your family including bonds, stocks, savings and jewellery.
The fifth section asks you to list all your family expenses. Please make sure that you carefully furnish details of all the expenses that your family incurs. For instance, if you have stated that you own an automobile then make sure that you add expenses for automobile maintenance. Similarly, if you have stated that your family employs other people, make sure you add an expense for domestic help.
The sixth section asks you to state the amount you and your family can contribute towards your educational expenses. You can state support from family, personal savings, relatives, income from on-campus work and so on. The next section is dedicated to describing any circumstances that the college should know of before deciding your financial aid package. You can discuss health related expenses, house renovation expenses and other factors that may affect your ability to contribute to your education.
The last section asks you to certify all the information that you have stated. Your family and you have to sign the form. Keep in mind, that if you give any false information in this form, your financial aid application and your application for admission will be rejected. The university may also take legal action against you.