Financial Aid For Study Abroad Program In The United States


Encompassing more number of schools and programs, the United States is the best-opted dream land as an overseas study location for Indian students due to the best programs. But questions block the minds of the aspirants how to avail funding sources to pursue Masters' or Research program. To search for information regarding financial aid to study in the US has been a crucial process for students. This write-up focuses in detail on various sources of funding to study abroad in USA.

Given the quality of education and career prospects along with fantastic lifestyle and infrastructure, the most sought destination for higher studies amidst the student community of India is invariably the United States of America. However, financing for a study abroad program is an important factor to make a planning prior to application process. It is necessary to have a comparison of the cost of the program as well as expenses of various programs and Schools. With appropriate funding alone offshore studies would be possible. Alongside expenses for a living as a full-time study abroad needs to be taken into consideration. Issues with sources of financial assistance vary on the basis of the country, program, School which the student has been applying for. With regard to tuition fees, these may be high or less in certain Schools or countries while some Schools or programs may not have tuition fees at all. If provided with partial funding the level of financial assistance is to be counted. To support oneself for living throughout the program duration with part-time work opportunities needs to be deemed. It is imperative that the student opted for overseas study program is required to prove if s/he could endorse his/her own funds. All these criteria are to be mattered for a preliminary financial planning before making any application procedure to any foreign university.

With the only reliable source of finance being family savings, international students are required to have enough funds for at least the first or two semesters if no study abroad scholarship or financial assistance is available. To begin a study abroad program in the US getting university funding would be easier than in other countries such as U.K., Canada, Australia or New Zealand. Most of students opting Australia and U.K. are sufficiently self-funded. In other words, sources of assistance are very much limited. The funding process is by no means an easy task and definitely would be the most essential focus of study abroad in USA.

Sources of financial aid in India


Different means of sources for funding include personal finance, bank loans/trust loans, scholarships/fellowships and part-time work opportunities. Irrespective of the universities/countries the aspirant wishes to have a study program, funds for education and living expenses would certainly come from anyone or a combination of the above sources. The more complicated issue has been that the list of information about funding increases every year with the application process for loans or scholarships varying between universities. Primarily, we discuss various sources of funding available for overseas study program in India.

Bank Loans


Numerous nationalized banks like State Bank of India, Canara Bank, Syndicate Bank, etc., offer a host of schemes as educational loans from Master's to PhD programs. The sum of loan amount given varies depending on the course or University ranging up to approximately Rs. 10 to 15 lakhs subject to different terms and conditions. The overseas-studies aspirant is to spend 25% of total expenses at least initially. The student is required to mortgage a property, share or insurance policy as a security for the loan he is availing. However, loans by banks are provided fulfilling certain criteria only. Firstly conformation of admission or admission letter is required. Secondly, the academic records of the student must be satisfactory. Finally loans are not offered for any distance program. Meeting the above requirements, s/he would be entitled to avail an educational loan. The loan includes the tuition fees, books, equipment, and in certain cases single airfare to the study destination as well. Repayment of loan can be made after six months completing the course or in case after the student gets employed a month after acquiring the job. The maximum period for repayment of loan has been 15 years from the date of the initial loan amount sanctioned.

Loans from trusts


The loans offered by the trusts or charity institutions are of the least rates of interest (maybe 2-4%), or even free of interest. A listing of some widely popular trusts that provide loans for higher education is as follows.

J.N. Tata Endowment Trust
Loan amount: Rs. 50,000 - Rs. 2 lakhs at low interest rate
Grant: Rs. 25,000 - Rs. 50,000
Last Date: 25th February of the year of the award.
Contact details to apply for loans and grants:
The Director,
J.N. Tata Endowment,
Bombay House,
24, Homi Mody Street,
Mumbai-400001
Phone: +91 (22) 6665 7643
E-mail: nbmody@sdtatatrust.com
Web site: http://www.dorabjitatatrust.org/about/endowment.aspx

K.C. Mahindra Education Trust
Amount of scholarships: Rs. 65,000 for Masters' program in various fields
Last date for issue of application: 28th February
Last date for completed forms: 31st March of the year of award.
Contact details:
The Managing Trustee,
K.C. Mahindra Education Trust,
Cecil Court,
Mahakavi Bhushan Marg,
Mumbai-400039
Phone: +91 22 22021031
E-mail: support@nanhikali.org

Mariwala Trust
Loan scholarships: Rs. 50,000 free of interest for postgraduate education in various disciplines
Last date to avail application forms: Before 1st March
Last date of submission of completed forms: 30th April of the year of award
Contact details:
The Managing Trustee,
Mariwala CharityTrust,
409 Shah and Nahar Industrial Estate,
Dr. E. Moses Road, Worli Naka,
Mumbai-400018
Phone: (022) 4938307

R.D. Sethna Scholarship Fund
Scholarship: Rs. 20,000 - Rs. 50,000 at 2% annual interest for undergraduate and postgraduate studies in science, technology, commerce
Last date of submission of completed application forms: 31st May of the year of award.
For more information, write to:
The Chief Executive
R.D. Sethna Scholarship Fund,
Esplanade House,
29, Hazarimal Somani Marg, Fort,
Mumbai - 400001
Phone: +91 22 2207 7044
E-mail: office@rdsethnascholarships.org
Web site: www.rdsethnascholarships.org

Sahu Jain Trust
The trust funds loan scholarships for higher studies in India and overseas also.
Contact particulars:
The Secretary
Sahu Jain Trust,
4th Floor, Times House 7,
Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg,
New Delhi -110002
Phone: 2371 6653 & 2331 7595

Fellowships


Another kind of financial aid to pursue study abroad program can be through various international fellowships. To obtain aid through fellowship though being tough due to huge competition is a secured type of financial aid. A few are as follows.

AT&T Leadership Awards
Fellowship awards amounting to US $ 5,000 for international students from Asia-Pacific countries to the U.S.A for study abroad program in any field of study are given. Applications should be addressed to the program's Malaysia office before 15th September and results declared by 31st December.
Contact details:
Write to USEFI or e-mail to awards@attmail.com
Fax: (886) 2-2715-7013 (attn: AT&T Leadership Award)

Aga Khan Foundation
The Aga Khan Foundation fellowships awards can be obtained for programs for development studies and courses that have not been available in India. Issue of forms is in January every year and completed forms to be reached before 31st March of the year of award.
Contact details:
Aga Khan Foundation,
Sarojini House, 2nd floor,
6 Bhagwan Dass Road,
New Delhi -110001

Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarships
This is the scholarship granted worth of U.S. $ 23,000 in any discipline for any country.
For details:
The Scholarships Program,
Rotary Foundation,
Rotary International, One Rotary Centre,
1560 Sherman Avenue,
Evanston, Illinois, U.S.A.

The Inlaks Foundation
Indian citizens residing in India are eligible for grants from the Inlaks Foundation for programs in all disciplines except engineering, computer sciences, management, English literature, Indian history, urban design and philosophy up to two years at the leading American, European and UK institutions. The recipients of grants need to be lesser than 30 years of age and get admission to their intended study program before applying for the grants. The scholarship includes tuition fees, necessary living expenses and cost of one-way travel. The application forms can be obtained from 10th January and duly completed forms should be submitted before 15th April of the year of the grant.
Contact details for further information:
The Inlaks Foundation,
P.O. Box 2108,
Delhi - 110 007

Sources of funds available in the USA



Assistantship offered by the university/school


In the USA, almost every university offers financial aid to students from other countries primarily on the basis of merit and in certain cases on requirement basis again depending on the type of study program, department, and university. Financial assistance is provided more likely for Graduate programs such as engineering, physical sciences and life sciences rather than in programs like humanities, social sciences and management. Mostly Indian students manage to avail some sort of financial assistance from the university at the end of first semester or the second though not offered assistantship at the time of admission. Certain universities provide part-time teaching jobs to the candidates.

Aid for undergraduate studies


In most cases, funding policies of universities vary substantially and are as indicated in their prospectus. Undergraduate candidates are required to submit with details filled in the university/school financial aid forms and the Foreign Student's Financial Aid Form administered by the University Scholarship Service as well. A bank statement is an essential document to process aid for study program. Other details include total annual income of parents, student's average annual living expenses, details of assets and savings owned by parents or students and source of funds for education other than the aid from the university/school.

Aid for postgraduate programs


While submitting application forms to the concerned universities, the postgraduate students need to mention their funding requirement. Various types of financial aid in the United States based on merit are in the form of tuition waivers, assistantships, and fellowships.

Tuition waiver


Through tuition waiver, the student has been exempted from paying tuition fees excluding other fees for library, computers, sports and health services that are to be met out by the student. Tuition waiver by and large has been granted to students who are eligible for scholarship or teaching/research assistantship.

Assistantship


Assistantship is stipend offered to the student for which s/he is required to work part-time for at least 20 hours a week in teaching and research activities. In general, most of the universities with substantial research programs grant these assistantship facilities for teaching undergraduate classes. To get qualified for teaching assistantship aid, the candidate needs to take up the Test of Spoken English while completing the first semester of the study program.

Scholarship/Fellowship


Fellowship or scholarship grant received is based completely on the merit, i.e., academic performance of the student and hence prior enrolled into the university for any study program fellowship assistance has been granted. This may be full scholarship in which tuition fees along with required expenses for living are fully granted throughout the entire study program or in certain programs it may be partial funding aid.

Who are eligible to apply for scholarships and assistantships?


Students who are willing to pursue abroad program do have scope of getting US scholarships and assistantships to a great extent if they fulfill the following academic protocols.
1. Proof of commendable academic performance.
2. Good scores in exams such as GRE, GMAT, TOEFL, etc.
3. Showcasing financial needs but with partial funding to manage some expenses. However, establishing financial need may not be essential for some grants or scholarships.
4. A teaching experience in any field at the undergraduate level to get teaching assistantship.
5. Specialization in any field or interest in research orientated to garner research assistantships or grants.
6. Highly impressive Statement of Purpose (SOP) and outstanding recommendation letters.
7. Presentation of professional writing either published in a college souvenir or an article, otherwise.

Loans offered by the US banks for international students


One of the alternative funding options for the aspirants who choose the management program would be loans given by the banks in the USA. The crux of the matter while signing in for this loan scheme has been that the candidate is required to get a cosignatory who must be a permanent resident of the USA. The cosignatory is to take responsibility to repay the loan perhaps the loan obtained by the student has been defaulted. Certain US banks do provide exemption from this cosignatory requisite for some universities. For instance, students that get admission to Harvard Business School can obtain this type of loan without a cosigner from the Citibank. Similarly, Bank of America does offer loans without cosignatory requirement for students getting admission to Kenan-Flagler School of Management, North Carolina. It is important to be sure of understanding the terms, repayment schedule and fees implied of the loans before signing in for loans and if required to get experts' assistance in interpreting the terms would be better.

The American Association of University Women (AAUW)


The AAUW is a countrywide network offering international fellowships to female candidates who have not been citizens or permanent residents of the USA for full-time program or research at the accredited schools.
http://www.aauw.org/learn/fellows_directory

List of web sites


The following are the web sites that keep abreast of financial assistance for international students in the USA.
1. Financial Aid for International Students (www.finaid.org)
2. NAFSA – An Association of International Educators (http://www.nafsa.org)
3. International Education Financial Aid (http://iefa.org)
4. http://www.internationalstudent.com
5. International scholarship resources (http://www.scholarshipnet.info)

With the above sources of funding while applying for study program in the US universities, some sort of preliminary planning of funding process is just enough. Also, US education is affordable, if it has been done through appropriate source. Alongside, the education system in the United States of America with an array of scholarships, assistantships, loans, and earn-while-learn opportunities is indeed of cutting edge quality. Hence, be it music therapy program at Western Michigan University or computer science in Ohio University if one chooses to study in the USA, is the most endearing way of being a part of the desired dreamland.


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