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Financial Help

If you and your family cannot meet the costs, you will have to apply for financial assistance. Many international students finance their studies through financial assistance from Universities. However, availability of such funding varies considerably depending on the field of study, level of study, and type of institution. Some institutions also limit the funding they give to international students.

Financial Aid
Financial Aid is money to help you pay for your education.

Financial aid comes in several forms: scholarships, grants, loans, and work assistance.

The major providers of financial aid for graduate business students are the federal government, state governments, universities, private loan providers, employers, and private foundations. In other words, Financial Aid is the funding provided either by a private agency or the university to cover either a part or the whole of tuition fee or living expenses incurred by a student. Financial aid decisions are generally made once a year.

The deadlines for financial aid and applications are usually in January, February and March. Early applications are looked upon favorably.
Remember, that missing deadlines and incomplete applications are the main reasons for rejection. Therefore, one requires being on time and ensuring that the application is complete. It sometimes takes several months for Universities to make a decision on the admissibility of applicants. Some institutions review all applications together and notify students on a given date. Others review applications individually as soon as they are complete, and notify the students right away.

Students will have a greater chance of obtaining financial assistance if they:
Show evidence of high level of academic achievements.
Achieve high tests scores in TOEFL, GRE, GMAT, SAT, and IELTS.
Demonstrate financial need, but have private funding to cover some of the cost. Financial need is not crucial for some awards.
Enroll in a field or have teaching experience in a subject offered at the undergraduate level (to increase opportunities for a teaching assistantship).
Specialize in a field or have a research interest, which parallels that of the department and faculty or a private funding source (which increases opportunities for research assistantships and grants).
Have outstanding letters of recommendation and an impressive statement of purpose.
Send a sample of professional writing, published or otherwise.

Common Myths
1. Financial Aid is just for poor people.
2. Financial Aid is just for smart people.
3. Financial Aid is just for minority students.
4. I have job, so I must not be eligible for aid.
5. If I apply for Aid, it will affect whether or not I am admitted to the program.
6. Loans are not financial aid.
7. There is no financial aid for MBA studies.

Many Indian students are concerned about the high cost of education in the United States and seek information on opportunities for financial assistance. The cost of education in the United States could range from $11,000 to $40,000 per annum. In addition to tuition fees, books and food, you have to plan for the expenses towards housing, health insurance and transportation. State schools and schools in the South and Mid-West are often cheaper than private schools and those located in California or the North-East region.

In reviewing opportunities for financial assistance, it is important to understand that graduate schools in the United States offer financial assistance to international students based primarily on merit and rarely on need.
The amount and type of assistance offered varies based on the university, department and level of study.
Availability of assistance is more likely in fields of engineering, physical sciences and biological sciences than in humanities, social sciences, law, arts, and communication.
There is a greater possibility of assistance at the doctorate level than at the master\’s level.
Resources available to individual departments at a university in a particular year, depend on the funding they receive from Federal and State agencies and private institutions.

The Federal Government generally funds most of the financial aid programs at the undergraduate level. Some of the universities (state as well as private) provide funds to the international students depending upon various factors such as the academic achievements, scores received in TOEFL and SAT, etc. Competition for these scholarships (which are limited in number) is very keen.

Merit based assistance is awarded in the form of tuition fee waivers, scholarships (also called fellowships, competitions, prizes, awards), research assistantships, teaching assistantships, national training and research grants, restricted fellowships, travel and research grants.
At the graduate level, there are three types of aid:
Tuition fee waiver.
Scholarships (or fellowships) and
Work programs.

Scholarships or grants is the financial aid, which you do not have to repay. A major source of scholarships for graduate students is the school itself. Schools may award scholarships based on a graduate business applicant\’s test scores, grades and/or life experience, financial need, or any number of other factors. The admissions counselors at the schools where you are applying can provide more information about specific scholarships offered through the school.

This means that the student does not have to pay the tuition fees at the university. However, general fees (for the use of university facilities such as the library, computers, and sports and health services) usually have to be borne by the student. A Tuition fee waiver is frequently awarded in conjunction with a scholarship or teaching/research assistantship.

These are outright awards, which generally require no service in return. These are based on the student\’s academic ability and performance. Hence, only a truly outstanding student may be considered for this type of award, before enrolling at the university. A full scholarship would pay for a student\’s entire living expenses at that university, whereas a partial scholarship would require additional funds from the student. Often they provide a stipend for living expenses besides meeting tuition fee. These are highly prestigious awards.

As the name indicates, students are expected to do some sort of work in the university to be eligible for these funds. These include:
Teaching Assistantships
Research Assistantships
Administrative Assistantships

If you pursue an advanced degree in a subject that is also offered at the undergraduate level, for example, in the arts and sciences, you may have a good chance of securing a Teaching Assistantship. Such a position may involve delivering lectures, correcting class work, grading papers, counseling students and supervising laboratory groups: usually for about 20 hours of work per week is required. Teaching Assistantships provide excellent educational experience as well as financial aid. Appointments are based on academic qualifications and one\’s ability to communicate ideas effectively in English to an American audience, and are subjected to the availability of funds within the department. If you are interested, you should contact the department member who appoints teaching assistants. Usually, you are not considered for such positions until you have been admitted to a program at the graduate level. Some institutions have devised elaborate testing and interview measures to ascertain the English language competence of a prospective teaching assistant. Others want international students whose first language is not English to submit their TSE (Test of Spoken English) and TOEFL scores along with their applications for teaching assistantships. The average take home pay for a teaching assistantship is usually $1500 to $2000 per month.
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Research Assistantships usually require the student to assist in the research activities of a faculty member. Appointments are usually made for the academic year. As is the case with teaching assistantships, research assistantships also provide excellent academic training as well as practical experience and financial support. Generally, funding for foreign students is very limited. Foreign applicants have to compete with capable US students for most financial aid awards. Although financial need is taken into consideration, the most important factor in selection is academic merits. The average take home pay for a research assistantship is usually $1500 to $2000 per month. The availability of financial assistance varies from field to field. There is more aid in the natural and applied sciences and engineering when compared to humanities and social sciences. There is very little aid in professional fields such as law, medicine, and dentistry. Contrary to popular belief, Business Administration does offer a source of funding for meritorious students. Also at the Ph.D. level, the possibilities for financial assistance are greater than at the master\’s level.

These positions usually require 10 to 20 hours of work per week in an administrative office of the university. The average take home pay for an Administrative Assistantship is usually $1200 to $1500 per month.
You may be assigned work in the:
Admissions office,
Placement office,
Grading students answer sheets, or
Office of the International Student Affairs.

Financial assistance for MBA program
NOT TRUE. Financial assistance is certainly available for MBA students also.
Unlike courses in Science and Engineering which have somewhat lost their glamour for American students, MBA is still the most popular program with them and therefore, competition is keener for financial assistance for MBA. But if you have the required academics and have a creditable score, and choose your university with care, it is possible for IAS to arrange financial assistance for MBA also. If you are a chartered accountant, or would otherwise like to specialize in finance or accountancy, apply for Ph.D. directly. There is a dearth of teaching staff in US universities in the finance/accountancy areas, and your chances of getting financial assistance now and a good teaching job later will be very bright.

Bank Loans
All private and public sector banks have educational loan schemes. These Banks give a loan for studying abroad which generally cover your tuition fee and a part of your living expenses.

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