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Financial Aid Basics for International Students Planning to Study in the U. S.

CIS Institute October 11-12, 2010 11Monterrey, Mexico

Financial Aid Philosophy
Schools are trying to make the best match of applicants to institution. Both the schools¶ and/or the student¶s financial resources might be factors in this matching process. Schools committed to the internationalization of their campuses seek out and help to fund qualified international applicants

µInternational¶ Student A student who does not have US citizenship or US Permanent Residency Financial Aid Money that is supplied by sources outside of the family to help pay for the costs of education Basic premise of Financial Aid: students and parents are the primary source of funds and are expected to contribute to the extent they are able. College funding is a partnership between the student¶s family and the institution.

Stages of Financial Aid

Search Application Decision
You are guaranteed to get $0 if you are not admitted!

The Search Process ± Assessment
Start with an honest Financial Inventory. Consult with parents, relatives, potential contributors Agree on a realistic annual Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) for each of the four years. EFC should represent the maximum contribution possible, not what the family wants to pay. EFC limitations should guide initial school search. High EFC affords many options. Low EFC requires more detailed research into school¶s admission and aid award policies.

The Search Process - School Types
State/Public Universities: Lower price tags (out-of(out-ofstate tuition?), often less aid, higher cost of living? Private Colleges and Universities: Higher price tags, often more aid, comprehensive fees Community Colleges: Lowest cost, associate degrees, higher cost of living? Transfer for Bachelor¶s?

The Search Process ± Admission/Aid Policy
ADMISSION NeedNeed-Blind - Does not consider financial resources in making admit decision. Often implies µMeet Full Need¶ aid policy, but you need to ask! NeedNeed-Sensitive ± Considers financial resources in making admit decision. May still offer generous aid packaging. AID Meet Full Need ± Will provide aid from various sources to meet full demonstrated need after EFC Meets Partial Need ± Will meet partial or certain percentages of need (percentage is sometimes based on academic credentials)

The Search Process ± School Mission Clues
‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ School¶s mission includes international diversity? School location? (Relative cost of living?) Percentage / Diversity of international enrollment? Certain geographic regions desired? Financial aid budget? Average international student aid award? Special scholarships? (What? Who? How?) International recruitment specialist in admissions? Strong international students services office?

The Application Process ±Relationships
Cultivate relationships with those who can help with research and those who may have influence in aid decisions. Via email, school visits, interviews, talent submissions. Stop short of µvirtual stalking!¶ Important Individuals School counselor High School Teachers/Coaches International Admissions Counselor College Financial Aid staff College Faculty College Coaching Staff Current International Students

The Application Process - Forms
International Student Financial Aid Application (ISFAA) College Board form or institutional variant that collects relevant income, asset, expense information, also asking families to estimate their EFC for 4 years. Institutional Aid Application (Supplement) SchoolSchool-specific form that may ask for further financial info/clarification that the ISFAA omits Certification of Finances ± Short form of ISFAA (Section F) sometimes required at the deposit stage in order to refigure and verify the student¶s final contribution. Used by some schools to verify financial info on the initial I-20 form. I-

The Application Process - Verification
Affidavit of Support ± Government or school form used to verify amount, duration, and relationship of financial supporters outside the immediate family µSupporting Documents¶ Tax returns Employment Verification ± Salary statement Bank Statements ± Savings, Checking, Property, Investments

The Decision Process ± Award Components MeritScholarship ± Merit-based. Depends on academic or talent credentials. Grant ± Need-based aid from institutional or donor Needcoffers. Does not need to be repaid. SelfSelf-Help ± Campus Employment, student loans from institution or consortium UnUn-Met Need ± May be expressly calculated or implied. Student will need to show resources for any un-met need in Certification of Finances form. un**The student needs to clarify and understand the terms and conditions for continued receipt of these funds.

The Decision Process ± Terms and Conditions Scholarships and Grants FourFour-year renewable awards? Subject to a minimum GPA renewal requirement? Are awards indexed to annual tuition increases? If so, at what percentage? What is average annual increase? Scholarships typically cannot increase based on stellar academic/talent performance Flexibility/Willingness of aid office to make aid adjustments in response to international financial/exchange rate crisis?

The Decision Process ± Terms and Conditions 2 Campus Employment BCIS limits to internationals students to 20 hrs/week during term ± 40 hrs/week during the summer Hourly pay rates? Competitive positions for more $$? Guaranteed initial job for internationals? If no, student job search process? Availability of summer campus jobs, costs of living? Student Loans US citizen co-signer required? coInterest rate? Deferred interest? Installment plan (for loans and or tuition/comp fees)?

The Decision Process ± Cost of Attendance
Comprehensive vs. Non-Comprehensive Fee Structure? NonIf Comprehensive (tuition, room, meals) ± inclusive of campus activities, books, lab fees, flexible meal plan? Clarify Costs of Attendance: Direct/Fixed Costs: Tuition, room, board, insurance (schools may have specific medical insurance requirements for internationals) Indirect/Variable Costs: Rent, Meals (if non-comp.) nontransportation (local and international), books, supplies, laptop, lab fees, private lessons, laundry, lifestyle expenses, summer housing

The Decision Process ± Comparison
After a thorough account of all costs of attendance and terms and conditions, compare awards based conditions, on out-of-pocket cost. out-ofConsider the µmatch¶ factor and weigh the relative value of the school¶s programs, services, location, etc. Compare environmental factors: cost of city living, proximity to relatives in the US Realize that, in the end, much of the college experience is based on the individual student¶s ability to fully engage and take best advantage of what the school has to offer.

The Decision Process ± Final Choice
Go where there is the best possible mix of fit with manageable cost. Sometimes you will have to go where the best aid offer is. Resist the urge to overextend your budget by enrolling a more µprestigious¶ school whose package might be less affordable. Never assume or hope that once you get on campus, you will be able to secure more financial aid simply by the sheer force of your personality, academic prowess, prowess, or circumstances. circumstances. Once you¶ve decided, shift your focus to how to best prepare academically, mentally, and culturally for your new life as a US college student.

Helpful Websites

Loan Sites
Here are two examples of loans offered by standard banking institutions which require a U.S. citizen as a coco-signer: 
Citibank - (Citi-Assist Loans) Citi  Wells Fargo Bank

Contact Information

Jonathan Edwards Associate Dean of Admission Coordinator of International Admission GRINNELL COLLEGE