Undergraduate Financial Aid in the U.S.

Undergraduate Financial Aid in the U.S.


Studying in the United states is expensive. Besides the financial aid system can be very
confusing. But we want to give you some tips that can make it much easier for you in the long run. Listen to our podcasts and learn more about scholarships, grants, loans and funding.

Voiced by: Ann Merrill

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Studying in the United States is expensive. The good news, though, is there are many funding opportunities for international undergraduate students to study in the U.S.

There are two categories of undergraduate financial aid: need-based and merit-based. Need-based financial aid is determined by the difference between how much it costs to attend university and how much your family can afford to pay. Merit-based financial aid is awarded based on a student's academic achievements or special talents.

Scholarships, fellowships and grants are “gift aid”, which means you do not have to pay the money back. Educational loans are money borrowed, and you have to pay it back, usually after you graduate. Work/study is when you work at a part-time job on campus, and earn some money to help pay for your expenses. Sometimes a university offers a tuition waiver, which means the student does not pay to study, but still must pay for living expenses, such as rent, food, etc. Undergraduate students may also be eligible for scholarships based on their special talents, such as sports or music.

Many U.S. universities offer partial funding for international students, but very few offer full funding, and some have no financial aid for international students at all. It is important to research the universities carefully so you understand what financial aid opportunities may be available to you.