Understanding Financing Options for International Students

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Considering the various financing options before proceeding to process your admission into any school as an international student is crucial. While education is important, it does not come at a cheap price. For international students, especially students from third-world countries, it comes at a cost, a huge one at that. Hence, the importance of sorting out finances before starting the journey. 

Consequently, although financing plays a huge role in the success of any student’s education both at home and abroad. Navigating through the various financing options available should not be difficult with access to the right information. Hence, the reason why this article has been curated for you. In this article, we’ll explore the various financing options available to you as an international student and how you can achieve your study abroad dream seamlessly with access to the funding you need. At Afterschoolafrica, one of our goals is to take students through the step-by-step process of what they need to do to achieve their study abroad dream. Our articles are carefully written to provide the necessary information that will enhance your journey. 

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Why is Finance Important for International Students?

There’s a popular saying that if education is expensive, try ignorance. Of course, being ignorant will cost you a whole lot and rob you of life-changing opportunities. As an international student, there are many things you’ll need money for as you start your admission process and even while you’re at school. Some of the areas you’re going to spend on include:

  • University application fee
  • School fee
  • Travel fee
  • Visa fee
  • Passport fee (if you don’t have one already)
  • Accommodation fee
  • Book fee
  • Registration fee (when you finally gain admission)
  • Feeding fee and the list goes on. 

It is important to note that with the current economic situation in the world as a result of various factors, the cost of these things is gradually increasing. Hence, the a need for you to consider various financing options that can help with the cost of your education while you study abroad. 

When financing is out of the equation, you’ll be able to concentrate on learning while you’re in school. In addition to prioritizing your learning and maximizing your time, you’ll be able to properly handle other aspects of your life like your social life. However, it doesn’t end there, you’ll be able to explore different opportunities that will be beneficial to your career goals in the long run. Consequently, if the finance issue isn’t sorted out appropriately, there’s no way you’d be able to concentrate while in school; and this is if you even gain admission to study abroad. 

What are the various financing options available to international students? 

Having considered the important role finance plays in your study abroad goal, let’s not explore the various financing options available to international students. 

1. Scholarships

Scholarships are a form of financial aid students receive to help with the cost of their education. There are different types of scholarships available for international students offering varying amounts of financial aid. Some of the types of scholarships available to international students include:

  1. Merit-based scholarships: They are given solely based on academic excellence. Students who have excellent results in their bachelor’s degree and want to pursue their master’s degree abroad can search for merit-based scholarship options. 
  2. Need-based scholarships: applicants for need-based scholarships must be able to prove that they need the scholarship and are unable to sponsor their education at that time. 
  3. Government-funded scholarships: they are financial aid options that are provided to students by the government in a particular country. Although many of these scholarship opportunities are often offered to citizens, there are also opportunities for non-citizens alike, 
  4. Country-based scholarships: these types of scholarships are often awarded to students from selected countries. Sometimes these countries might be plagued by natural disasters or insurgency and the awards are given to students to motivate and encourage them to further their education. 
  5. Privately-sponsored scholarships: Privately-sponsored scholarships are sponsored by private individuals or organizations. Moreover, it is important to note that some of the requirements might bother on gender, a particular discipline or they might be for citizens from a particular country. 

To learn more about scholarships for international students, click here.

Read also: 10 Countries That Offer You Easy Work Visas In 2024

2. Fellowships

Fellowship is another financing option available for international students. They function just like scholarships, however, they are mostly open to postgraduate students. Fellowships can provide multiple years of funding to the awardee to help with the cost of their education.  The types of fellowship opportunities available to international students include: 

  1. Academic fellowships: there are three types of academic fellowship opportunities available to international students. These types of fellowships are open to students who want to major in the academic aspect of their career. The types of academic fellowship options include:
  • Graduate Fellowships: this covers the awardee’s graduate school expenses like tuition, health insurance, academic conferences, and living expenses among other fees. They are also open to Masters and Doctoral students.  
  • Research fellowships: They are open to individuals who have an interest in research with undergraduates, graduates, scientists, or scholars. It often covers part or the total cost of the research. 
  • Postdoctoral fellowships: These types of fellowships are strictly open to individuals who have completed their postdoctoral degree but still desire to further their research. They often explore narrow academic disciplines and they aim for expertise in the field. 
  • Medical fellowships: As the name implies, medical fellowships are open to individuals who have completed a residency in the medical field. Doctors who want to further their training can apply for medical fellowships.

       2.   Professional Fellowships: professional fellowships are different from academic fellowships. They provide the awardees the opportunity to further develop themselves in their chosen career path. These fellowships are synonymous with full-time jobs that come with other benefits including payments and the opportunity to work in that organization. 

3. Student Loans

Another financing option international students can explore is student loans. Unlike scholarships and fellowships which do not require the awardee to pay back, student loans will require that the student pay back over a specified period. Some student loans require a cosigner while others do not. Some of the student loan options available to international students include

1. MPower Finance

MPower Finance is chartered by the government of the US and exists primarily for charitable, educational, social, and recreational activities. Currently, MPower supports over 400 schools in different schools, and over 5,000 students have graduated as a result of MPower support. MPower does not need a cosigner and collateral before application. 

  • Eligible schools: Mpower currently supports about 400 schools in different countries. So far about 5,000 students have graduated as a result of MPower’s loan support
  • What do the loans cover: loans from MPower currently cover up to 100% of the education expenses and living expenses. 
  • Maximum amount: Students can borrow from $2,100 to $100,000. 

 To know more about the eligibility conditions and the application process. click here. 

2. Prodigy Finance

Also, like MPower, Prodigy Finance does not require any collateral or cosigner. As of 2022, Prodigy Finance has served over 28,000 students globally in 850 schools across 150 countries. 

  • Eligible schools: Prodigy Finance currently supports about 850 schools in 150 different countries. 
  • What do the loans cover: loans from Prodigy currently cover up to 100% of the education expenses and living expenses. 
  • Maximum amount: the amount is dependent on the school and the course of study but can cover up to 100% of the tuition and living expenses. 

 To know more about the eligibility conditions and the application process. click here. 

3. Ascent Funding

Ascent Funding is a private loan company and the loans offered may be with or without a cosigner. Additionally, they offer affordable rates, flexible plans, and up to 1% cash back at graduation with other benefits. 

  • Eligible schools: Ascent Funding currently supports about 2,200  in the US. 
  • What do the loans cover: The loans cover education expenses and living expenses. 
  • Maximum amount: Students can borrow from $2,100 to as much as $200,000.

To know more about the eligibility conditions and the application process. click here. 

Other types of student loans that require a cosigner include Discover, Wells Fargo, Juno, Earnest, and others. If you need help in the application forces for the no-cosigner loans, we at afterschoolafrica will be willing you guide you through this process. 

4. Work Study Programs

Furthermore, another funding option available for international students to help with their education finances is work-study programs. Depending on the country and your type of visa, you will be able to work as a student while you also study. However, there are requirements you must meet before you will be eligible to work in any country for the specified number of hours. Some of the specified number of hours given to international students to work in various countries include

  1. Canada: With a valid student visa, students can work part-time for 20 hours per week and full-time for 40 hours per week. 
  2. USA: International students with a valid F-1 visa can work on campus for up to 20 hours per week when classes are in session and 40 hours per week when classes are not. However, studuients cannot work off campus with their F-1 visa.
  3. UK: students pursuing full-time degree programs in the UK can work for 20 hours weekly and 40 hours weekly during breaks. Freelance or contract-based work is not permitted. PhD students are also allowed to work for a specified number of hours. 

5. Graduate Assistantships 

Graduate assistantships are another financing option open to international students who want to further their education abroad. There are salary employment opportunities available for graduate students. One of the benefits of assistantships is that they avail you the opportunity to garner the necessary experience that can aid your studies and employability in the future. The types of graduate assistantship options available include: 

  1. Graduate assistantship: a graduate assistant helps a professor or a faculty member in different areas including teaching, class preparation, research, and other aspects. Graduate assistantships require 15-20 hours a week and the student is paid by the university for the job. 
  2. Teaching Assistantship: a teaching assistant involves assisting a professor on campus. They prepare and check student’s assignments, lead discussion groups, and assist students where necessary based on the direction of the professor. 
  3. Research Assistantship: this type of assistantship requires that students help the professors whom they are assigned with their research work. Students gain firsthand experience in research and in return, professors get their workload reduced. 

Although finance is a big deal when it comes to education for international students, there are opportunities such as the financing options listed above that can help international students reduce the cost of their education without having to break the bank or discard their dreams. 

Read also: How To Get A Graduate Assistantship In The US

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Do you want to study abroad? Note that obtaining a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree in this field helps to improve your chances in the labor market. Studying abroad is no joke for international students due to the cost. However, you can achieve your dreams without breaking the bank by applying for student loans, which you can pay for as long as 10 years. 

MPower Finance and Prodigy Finance are some of the best student loan providers for international students. They also do not require a cosigner or collateral before an application. Reach out to us today, and let’s help you get started.