International Student Financial Aid

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According to the Institute of International Education, the average cost of studying abroad for the 2012-2013 academic school year was $17,785 for one semester. However, the actual cost boils down to several different factors: your destination, your study program, various legal fees for visas and passports, books, food, and other personal expenses. Needless to say, studying abroad can be expensive. 

Budgeting for Study Abroad

If you’re looking to save money on your trip, it’s important to map out a detailed budgeting plan. Tuition, room and board, travel fees, and personal spending are relatively fixed and can be easier to plan ahead for. However, unexpected medical expenses or travel complications can lead to expensive out-of-pocket costs that can be difficult to prepare for.

While budgeting for your study abroad trip, consider these three financial aid resources to help offset various costs: scholarships, grants, and loans.

1. International Student Scholarships

Scholarships can be a reliable way to help reduce study abroad costs such as room and board, tuition, and sometimes book expenses. Educational facilities tend to award scholarships based on merit, need, and heritage. Third-party organizations, like federal governments, award scholarships based on specific majors or areas of study.

It’s important to research your institute’s available scholarship opportunities as soon as possible in order to meet application requirements and deadlines.

If you’re planning on studying in the United States, check out this free financial aid guide to see the top scholarship resources available for international students.

2. International Student Grants

Grants are another way to help fund your overseas education. Several grants available for domestic study can also be available for international study. The most widely used grants are the federal Pell Grants and the Supplemental Education Opportunities Grant, both of which are awarded on financial need.

To help you get started, College Scholarships.org provides a variety of grant opportunities specifically for incoming international students. There are several categories specially tailored to help you find the grant aligned with your interests, financial needs, and culture diversity.

Grantspace.org is also a great resource for helping international students find grant and other financial aid options.

3. International Student Loans

When grants and scholarships aren’t enough, student loans can help cover additional expenses. A school or university’s student financial aid department can provide several options for international financial aid based on need, merit, and diversity. Although student loans acquire interest overtime, the rates are typically lower than traditional loans, and payments don’t start until the student has graduated or left the educational institute.

NAFSA is a great resource to start looking for scholarships and loans. It’s the world’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to international education and exchange.

NOTE: It’s important to note that you may need to provide financial proof as to how you will be able to pay for your education, accommodations, and subsistence while in the U.S. in order to receive a student visa—another reason why it’s important map out a budget plan before departing on your study abroad trip.

What does Financial Aid Cover?

While you’re working out a budget, check out what scholarships, grants, and loans can cover:

Tuition Room/Rent Books/Supplies Food Medical Insurance Transportation Personal Expenses
 Scholarships  Yes Yes  Yes  No  No  No  No
 Grants  Yes  Yes  Yes  No  No  No  No
 Loans  Yes  Yes  Yes  No  No  No  No

International Student Health Insurance


Did you know study abroad programs require students to have student health insurance?

In some situations, institutes will even offer predetermined student health plans for attending students, but these can be expensive. Some programs allow international students to waive these mandated plans if the student can provide proof of comparable health insurance coverage. However, alternative travel medical coverage must comply with the program’s health insurance requirements.

Although it’s not a legal requirement, more and more countries are requiring incoming foreign students to provide proof of subsistence for potential medical costs during their stay. One way to demonstrate these funds is to purchase a travel medical policy like StudentSecure, which provides policyholders with access to a visa letter that can serve as proof of medical coverage.

And while scholarships, grants, and student loans can help with various initial costs of studying abroad, illnesses, injuries, and various travel complications can be costly for an uninsured student. Taking the proactive step to invest in study abroad medical insurance can help reduce out-of-pocket medical expenses for covered ailments and ensure you meet the legal requirements of your visa.

If you need medical insurance, but you’re not ready to commit to a policy, you can get a free StudentSecure quote to help figure the costs as you plan to study abroad. You’ll be able to save your quote for a time when you’re ready to purchase a policy. 

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If you’re planning to study in the United States, check out this free Guide to International Student Financial Aid.

Intl Student Financial Aid Guide

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Tokio Marine HCC - Medical Insurance Services Group (MIS Group) is a service company and a member of the Tokio Marine HCC group of companies. Tokio Marine HCC - MIS Group has authority to enter into contracts of insurance on behalf of the Lloyd's underwriting members of Lloyd's Syndicate 4141, which is managed by Tokio Marine HCC – International Group.