New York University (NYU) Introduces free Medical School

NYU School of Medicine announced today that it is offering full-tuition scholarships to all current and future students in its MD degree program regardless of need or merit—a bold effort to simultaneously address the rising costs of medical education and still attract the best and brightest students to careers in medicine. It is the only top 10–ranked medical school in the nation to do so.

The announcement from the medical school’s trustees, leaders, and faculty was delivered this morning to first-year medical students and family members as a surprise ending to the annual White Coat Ceremony, where each new student is presented with a white lab coat to mark the start of their medical education and training.

“Thanks to the extraordinary generosity of our trustees, alumni, and friends, our hope—and expectation—is that by making medical school accessible to a broader range of applicants, we will be a catalyst for transforming medical education nationwide,” says Kenneth G. Langone, chair of the Board of Trustees of NYU Langone Health. The yearly tuition costs covered by the scholarship are $55,018.

“This decision recognizes a moral imperative that must be addressed, as institutions place an increasing debt burden on young people who aspire to become physicians,” says Robert I. Grossman, MD, the Saul J. Farber Dean of NYU School of Medicine and CEO of NYU Langone Health.

Overwhelming student debt is fundamentally reshaping the medical profession in ways that are adversely affecting healthcare. Saddled with staggering student loans, many medical school graduates choose higher-paying specialties, drawing talent away from less lucrative fields like primary care, pediatrics, and obstetrics and gynecology. Moreover, the financial barriers discourage many promising high school and college students from considering a career in medicine altogether due to fears about the costs associated with medical school.

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, 75 percent of all doctors in the U.S. graduated with debt in 2017. Additionally, the median cost of medical education (tuition and fees) for private medical school is $59,605 and the median current debt of a graduating student is $202,000. What’s more, 21 percent of doctors graduating from a private school do so with more than $300,000 of educational debt.

“A population as diverse as ours is best served by doctors from all walks of life, we believe, and aspiring physicians and surgeons should not be prevented from pursuing a career in medicine because of the prospect of overwhelming financial debt,” says Dr. Grossman.

Leaders at NYU School of Medicine also contend that addressing the challenges in medical education today requires more than just expanding the number of people being admitted to medical school, but a full retrofitting of the pipeline that trains and finances how we do that.

“Tuition-free medical education goes beyond the merit and financial scholarships, and debt cancellations that other academic centers have traditionally favored,” says Rafael Rivera, MD, MBA, associate dean for admissions and financial aid. “More importantly, it addresses both physician shortages and diversity.”

Grants, much like merit and financial aid, Dr. Rivera explains, are made only after students have chosen their career path. “That’s too late if we wish to expand the pipeline to bring forth the broadest, most talented group of students, and to give them the financial freedom to choose medicine over other careers.”

Tuition-Free Education Follows Other Moves to Reinvent Medical Education

Offering full-tuition scholarships for current and future students in its MD degree program is the most recent step NYU School of Medicine has taken to transform medical education for the better. The move closely follows its decision in 2013 to join a select group of U.S. medical schools offering an accelerated three-year curriculum. This allows physicians to get into the field of their choice earlier, during their most productive years, and with less debt.

While the three-year curriculum was an important beginning, it did not fully solve the problem of overwhelming debt. “This tuition-free initiative is the next big milestone in NYU School of Medicine’s effort to transform medical education,” says Steven B. Abramson, MD, senior vice dean for education, faculty, and academic affairs. “The model of medical education needs to address changing scientific, social, and economic circumstances as well as dramatic changes in the healthcare delivery system.”

“We believe that with our tuition-free initiative, we have taken a necessary, rational step that addresses a critical need to train the most talented physicians, unencumbered by crushing debt,” says Dr. Grossman. “We hope that many other academic medical centers will soon choose to join us on this path.”

This historic initiative was made possible by more than 2,500 supporters, including trustees, alumni, and friends. Visionary support was provided by Kenneth G. and Elaine Langone; trustee William Berkley and Marjorie Berkley; trustee Walter W. Buckley Jr. and Marjorie Buckley; Fiona Druckenmiller, co-chair of the Board of Trustees, and Stanley Druckenmiller; Laurence Fink, co-chair of the Board of Trustees, and trustee Lori Fink; trustee Larry Silverstein and Klara Silverstein; and trustee Jan T. Vilcek, MD, PhD, and Marica Vilcek.


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The Australian Student Visa

Congratulations! You’ve been accepted by an Australian university. Now it’s time to think about your student visa. You should apply for your visa as soon as possible – at least two months before you begin classes.

Each person applying for a student visa from the Australian Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs and Indigenous Affairs (DIMIA) must meet certain standards. The standards are a bit more severe if you are an Assessment Level 3 or 4 student, rather than an Assessment Level 2 or 3 student. (See Understanding Assessment Levels for more on this topic.)

All students from Africa, and most other nations, must apply for their first student visa before they enter the country. You cannot go to Australia as a tourist and then apply for a student visa from within the country.

An essential part of your visa application is the financial information. You’ll need to provide evidence to the DIMIA that you are able to support yourself, including paying your school fees, while you are in the country. Although you will probably be allowed to work up to 20 hours per week during the school term, this can’t be counted as part of your financial evidence.

Fully funded students need to show only a minimum amount of financial resources to obtain a student visa. These are students whose education is being paid for by a scholarship or grant. Some fully funded students receive money from their home country, while others receive funds from Australian companies, the UN, the World Bank or other sources.

You’ll also need to demonstrate that you speak English well enough to complete the course you have chosen. Normally, you will have completed an English test as part of the university application process. The DIMIA will also determine that you are a genuine student. They’ll consider if your past grades and education are consistent with the program you’re enrolling in.

In Australia, as in other countries, it’s very helpful to demonstrate that you have strong reasons to return to your home country once your education is completed. This may include family members who remain in your native country, or a business or other financial resources. All of these factors will convince the DIMIA official that you intend to return to Africa once your education is complete.

Your student visa is usually granted for 2 months longer than your course of study. If your course of study ends in November or December, your student visa will be valid until March 15 of the following year. If your course of study is 10 months or less, your student visa will be valid for 30 days after the end of your course.

Your student visa allows you to leave Australia and return. You can bring your family members including spouse and dependent children to Australia with you. Boys and girls between the ages of 6 and 15 will have to conform to Australian law by attending school. If you leave Australia for any reason, such as visiting your home country, your dependents must accompany you.

Before your student visa is issued, you’ll need to obtain Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC), which provides medical and hospital insurance. OSHC ensures that you will have medical care while you are visiting, at no expense to the Australian government. You’ll need to include proof of OSHC payment with your visa application. While you’re in Australia, you’ll need to maintain your student visa by attending class at least 80% of the time, and earning passing marks in your courses.



Education Quote

“Learn, and you will live; live, and you will learn.”

Is A U.S. Community College Right For You?

Here’s a tip that can reduce the cost of your first two years in a U.S. college by up to 90%.: consider a community college. Many U. S. students save thousands of dollars in tuition by attending community colleges for their first two years and then transferring to a four-year school to finish their bachelor’s degree. Every year, more African students follow their lead. It’s easier to get into a community college than a four-year school, and they often have stronger English as a Second Language (ESL) programs.

For most African students, community colleges are the best-kept secret of a U.S. education. Many community colleges offer excellent instruction for the first two years of college, at a fraction of the usual price. Virtually every city or county in the U.S. has a community college. They’re firmly rooted in the communities they serve.

Community colleges work because of a slightly different feature in the U.S. education system. In many countries in Europe and elsewhere, a college student studying engineering or law takes classes only in that subject for four years. In U.S. schools, the first two years of college are often spent on general studies in a variety of topics including math, science, history and art. Future engineers, lawyers, business people and artists are all in the same classes together. Students really begin to specialize only in their third year. Often, students don’t even decide what subject to major in until the end of their second year.

By attending a community college, you’ll be exposed to a more diverse student body than at a traditional four-year college or university. At many private universities, the majority of students are between the ages of 17 and 24. At community colleges, you’ll encounter students of all ages from teenagers to grandfathers. Students at a community college come from all walks of life. They range from successful business people learning a second language to low-paid workers taking computer classes.

Community colleges do offer certificates, vocational training, and two-year (or Associate’s degrees) but the majority of full-time students plan to transfer to a four-year college to finish their bachelor’s degree.

Here are just some of the advantages to community colleges:

  • Lower cost
  • Easier admission
  • Lower test scores
  • Less competition for scholarships
  • An emphasis on teaching
  • More individual attention
  • Better ESL programs

Lower Cost

You can save 40% to 90% on tuition! Community colleges are an excellent value for the dollar. They cost about 10% as much as a private university. Nationwide, tuition at community colleges averaged $2,191 per year in 2006 for a full-time student. Private four-year colleges averaged $21,235 while public four-year colleges averaged $5,491.  By attending a community college instead of a four-year public college, you save an average of 40%.

Easier Admission

It’s much easier to gain admission to a community college than to a four-year school. Students under 25 are usually admitted if they have a diploma from a secondary school. If not, they are often asked to take a GED test (General Equivalency Degree) to be admitted. Many top universities accept only a small number of the thousands of students who apply. Community colleges accept nearly everyone. In fact, many U.S. students whose grades in high school weren’t great go to a community college. If they do well, they can still transfer to a top school after two years.

Lower Test Scores

Some students just aren’t good at taking tests. Community colleges accept students with lower test scores or none at all. The majority of U.S. community colleges don’t require SAT or ACT tests at all. Students from the U.S. or abroad are given placement tests in reading and math. If their skills aren’t up to par, they can take remedial classes to “catch up.”  Community colleges also accept students with much lower TOEFL scores than four-year schools.

Better ESL Programs

Many community colleges offer larger and better English as a Second Language (ESL) programs that four-year schools. Attending community college is a great way to improve your TOEFL score while earning credit towards your degree. Often, special tutoring is provided for international students, in addition to ESL classes.

If English is your weak point, many community colleges offer intensive programs to improve your language skills. No TOEFL is required for these courses. Instead, you’re given a placement test when you start classes and assigned to a beginning, intermediate or advanced class. In a typical ESL program, you’ll study speech, grammar, writing and reading with students from around the world. Most programs provide tutoring and a language lab. They are designed specifically to improve your English skills before you start a degree program. Once you reach the advanced ESL level, you can take regular courses while continuing to study English.

Less Competition for Scholarships

Athletic scholarships often go unused at community colleges because everyone wants to play for the larger, more famous schools. Academic scholarships are also unused. When you apply for a community college scholarship, you may be competing with 10 other people. At the largest private universities, you may be competing with 2,000.

An Emphasis on Teaching

Community colleges make teaching their top priority.  At many elite private universities, research is more important than teaching. This is because most of the school’s income comes from research grants, not tuition. At these top schools, many classes are taught by graduate students who are studying for their PhD.  They may be brilliant students, but they don’t have any experience teaching. The top professors at a research university may devote all their time to research and never teach a class.

More Individual Attention

At public universities, classes may be enormous. It is not unusual to have a freshman class with 200 or even 500 students in a huge auditorium. The amount of time that the professor can spend with each student is severely limited. Many international students report that they receive more individual attention, and more help, at community colleges. Often community colleges have resources such as writing coaches or discussion groups specially designed to help ESL students.

Transferring to a Four-year School

If you want to transfer to a four-year school after community college, plan ahead. Many community college credits are transferable, but not every four-year school will accept every credit. Your best bet is to contact advisors at the four-year schools of your choice before you enroll in community college. Ask if they accept transfer credits from the community college and if any classes are excluded.

When you consider all the facts, a community college is a great way to start your education in the U.S.!

Improve Your Test Scores

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Are you stressing about testing? Most students do. Don’t worry, help is in sight! Follow these tips to improve your scores on any type of standardized test – the SAT, ACT, TOEFL, GRE, LSAT, or GMAT.

First, recognize that taking tests and preparing for tests are skills. Like any other skill, they can be learned, and they improve with practice. You will need to study for the tests, and you will need to practice taking tests.


Test scores are not the most important factors in getting into a U.S. college. Your grades in secondary school are more important to college admissions officers. They will also consider your activities outside of school, your athletic or leadership abilities, your admissions essay, and your evaluation letters. Finally, they’ll take a look at the interview. All of these factors, except possibly the interview, are more important than test grades alone.

Tests don’t carry the same significance in the U.S. as in some other countries. In Canada or the U.K., students take comprehensive tests when they are young teenagers. Only those who earn top scores go to university. That’s not true in the U.S., where tests are much less important.

Testing is stressful for many students whether they come from Africa or the U.S. The more tests that you take, the better you will be at it. Eventually, you will become an expert. Never avoid a test. If you have the opportunity to take a test, do so. It helps you to practice for the future.

Make a Plan

Start studying early for any test. Many students begin preparing for the major entrance exams such as the SAT and ACT a year or more in advance. Don’t believe anyone says that “you can’t study for these types of tests.” It’s true that studying doesn’t improve your score on an I.Q. test, but tests like the SAT, ACT, GMAT, LSAT, and GRE are as much a test of your knowledge as of your ability to reason. Students who study for these tests earn much higher grades. The TOEFL, of course, is exclusively a test of your knowledge in one subject: English.

Figure out how much time you can spend studying for tests, and still earn good grades at school. Break the test material down into blocks, and plan how much time you will use for each block. For the SAT, decide how much time you will spend studying for each section of the test.

Study your weakest subjects more than your strongest ones. In studying for the TOEFL, many international students say they wish they had spent more time practicing for the spoken part of the test. Instead, they focused on the reading and writing sections, which were easier for them. Don’t make this mistake! If math is your weakest area on the SAT, set aside extra time to study math.

Use Test Prep

There are some test preparation (or “test prep”) materials available. There are books, tapes, and online programs. Usually, they include tips and facts on each area of the test, plus practice tests.

Test prep materials also include tricks to improve your score. For example: on the SAT, if you really don’t know any answer, don’t guess. When the test is scored, a ¼ point is deducted for each wrong answer. You’re better off not answering a question than getting it wrong! On the other hand, if you can eliminate one or two of the five alternatives in a multiple-choice question, go ahead and make an “educated guess” among the others. You’re likely to improve your score that way.

Take a Practice Test

Perhaps the greatest advantage that test prep materials provide is the practice tests. They include practice tests and the correct answers. These are usually drawn from actual tests that were used in prior years. Recently, in a few widely publicized cases, international students received old SAT tests that were exactly the same as those in their test prep materials! Even if that never happens again, the more you practice taking tests, the easier it will become.

The Day Before

Don’t try to “cram” or study all night the day before the test. If you don’t already know the material on a standardized test the night before, it’s probably too late. The best way to improve your score is to get at least eight hours of sleep the night before the test, so you are at your best. The day before the exam, be sure that you know exactly where it will be given and how to get there. Before you go to bed, make sure that you have everything that you will need for the test ready. On the morning of the test, be sure to eat something. Some studies show that students perform better on tests when they eat breakfast.

Come Prepared

If you’re not taking the test online, make sure that you have any required materials like pencils and pens. Remember to bring your receipt to gain admission to the test. If the building where the test will be given is air conditioned, bring a sweater or jacket in case the room is too cold. Avoid drinking too many liquids just before the test, so you don’t have to go to the bathroom.

Reward Yourself

Schedule a special family dinner or some time to relax with friends after the test.  You’ve spent a lot of time studying, so spend some time relaxing.

If you don’t think you did well, don’t let it worry you too much. The latest psychological studies on pessimism show that many students have negative thoughts about a test in the days just before and after the test. Usually, they are less fearful about the test results as time goes on. By the time they receive their grades, they are pleasantly surprised!

Consider Testing Again

If you didn’t get a high score on the test, and you know you can do better, retake it. Some students are afraid to do this. They think, “What if I get a lower score?” Don’t let that discourage you from testing again. Almost every U.S. college or university will allow you to use whichever score is higher.  This will mean paying the test fee a second time, but it’s more than worth it if it earns you a scholarship, or gets you into the school of your dreams.


Winning An Athletic Scholarship

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“When I learned how much going to college in the U.S. could cost, I was a little discouraged,” says Ade Otegbeye, of Nigeria, an engineering student at Indiana University. “Then I realized that even if you’re not a superstar, you can still get an athletic scholarship in many cases.”  With good grades and better-than-average athletic skills, Ade Otegbeye* got a full scholarship as a member of the school’s soccer team. The team provided an instant group of friends, and the scholarship allowed him to pursue his lifelong dream of becoming an engineer.

More than 125,000 college scholarships are awarded to athletes every year. While 1% of these scholarships go to superstars, the majority – the remaining 99% — go to athletes who are good, but not great. Follow these tips and you can cash in on more than $376 million in athletic scholarships available to men and women every year.

According to college coaches, a student doesn’t need to be an all-star to earn a scholarship. Other qualities, including motivation and persistence, are more important. A student-athlete should be willing to try hard, to give 100% in their sport. A good athlete needs to be willing to work hard in the classroom as well as on the playing field. He or she should be a team player, and be open to suggestions and criticism from coaches. Often, these qualities combined are more valuable to a coach than athletic ability alone.

First, you need to establish your goals. Is competing at the college level the next step in your athletic career? Or is college the next step in your career plan, and athletics a way to accomplish that?

Be honest with yourself about your abilities. Are you currently setting records for your country? Are you among the top 10 athletes in the sport, in your age group? If so, you are what’s known as a “blue chip” athlete. Within the U.S., these athletes are courted by top universities who offer them full scholarships that include tuition, room and board, and books. If you’re a superstar, and you contact U.S. coaches early, there’s a good chance you’ll receive several competitive offers. If your next step is becoming a professional athlete or competing in the Olympics, you’ll want to compete at the highest level at a Division I school.

What if you’re a good athlete, but not the best in the world?

You still have an excellent chance of winning an athletic scholarship. Even the most competitive schools only sign one or two “superstars” each year. The remaining scholarships, more than 120,000 every year, go to athletes who are talented but not phenomenal.  Don’t be afraid to apply to the top tier universities. Different coaches look for different qualities in players, to round out the team. Your teamwork, speed or ball-handling skills may be exactly what that coach is looking for. Coaches respond to dedication in students. Competing on the college level requires a commitment in time and effort. Many international students are highly dedicated, on and off the field.

No matter what your level of ability, apply at smaller schools as well as the more famous universities. Virtually every school has a college athletic program and scholarships. A number of smaller schools have athletic scholarships that go unused, every year. By contacting smaller schools and community colleges, even an average athlete may easily land a full scholarship. A strong work ethic and a positive attitude are usually important to every coach. Many students with scholarships to community college are awarded full scholarships to four-year schools after two years.

Be proactive. No matter how good you are, you need to make the first contact. Even the biggest U.S. colleges with the most competitive programs can’t scout every school in the U.S., much less international schools. You need to take the initiative to contact coaches. One thing that all successful student-athletes have in common: they captured the coach’s attention. Athletes who contact coaches several times have a better chance of succeeding.

Consider changing sports. Many athletes have been successful in winning a scholarship by switching sports. At Washington State University, the women’s rowing crew has more than 60 team members. Just six of them were in rowing prior to college. All of the others were high school athletes, in other sports ranging from volleyball to swimming. As an athlete, you probably have skills that will work in a number of sports. If you’re fast, consider transferring from soccer to track. If you’re a great kicker, consider American football.

Don’t ignore your grades. In the past, the stereotype of a student-athlete was someone who was a big, dumb idiot – always male – who was failing all his classes. If that picture was ever true, it’s not any longer. Student-athletes are expected to have good grades, just to get into a competitive college. When a coach sees that a high school student has poor grades, they question the athlete’s commitment and ability to manage their time.

By the way, the stereotype of the male athlete has also changed. Since 1972, by law, every American college that receives any type of federal funding must offer as many scholarships for female athletes as for men. That means that every school that has $1 million in football scholarships, also has at least $1 million in scholarships for female athletes.

Don’t turn down a partial scholarship. Often, other loans and grants are available to international students who win a partial athletic scholarship. If your athletic scholarship covers 50% of your education, another program may cover the rest. Many schools offer special scholarships for international students. You may receive an academic scholarship or grant based on your grades.

Ade Otegbeye plans to return to his native Africa after he graduates in May. “I’m really grateful that I had this opportunity to attend college in the U.S., and help my people,” he says. “I would recommend an athletic scholarship to anyone. “


*Student names have been changed to protect their identities.


How Much Will a U.S. College Cost?

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How much money will you need to make your dream of attending a U.S. college come true? The answer depends on several factors. Where will you go to school? Do you prefer to begin your education at a community college or a four-year school? Are you interested in attending an elite private university? Will you qualify for scholarships or other financial assistance?

Many students in Africa dream of attending a U.S. college.  Too often, when they find out how expensive it can be, they abandon their dream. Don’t be discouraged! It’s true that students from wealthy families may spend a lot of money earning a degree in the U.S. But, it’s also possible to get a quality education for a lot less. Be sure to check out “Paying for Your U.S. Education” for ideas on how to finance for your U.S. college education.

Remember that the costs we’re going to discuss are averages. The U.S. college that you attend may charge more or less – sometimes much less. For example, the average cost of tuition at a U.S. community college is $2,191. This means that for every school that charges $500 more per year ($2,691), there is one where the tuition is $500 less per year, or $1,591 per year.

Also, keep in mind that there are a number of ways to reduce the cost of your U.S. education. At many four-year schools, for example, you may qualify as an RA or Resident Assistant after the first year. RAs provide supervision for other students in the dorm. In return for a few hours of work during the week, RAs receive their living expenses, including room and meals, free. Depending upon the school, they may also receive a small monthly stipend for spending money.

Many African students will qualify for full or partial scholarships to pay for tuition and books. Scholarships are available for students who excel in a number of areas, from athletics to academics. Special scholarships are often given to students from a particular country, or in a particular field of study, such as teaching or physics. Whatever your talent, from horseback riding to modern dance, from painting to storytelling, there is a scholarship for it.

Many international students are confused about the difference between a college and a university. In the U.S., college and university mean the same thing. They both provide a similar high-quality education. This is not true in Canada and the UK, where a college usually provides a shorter course of professional education, perhaps for bookkeepers or secretaries. In the U.S., this would be called a trade or vocational school.  In Canada and the UK, the brightest students earn academic degrees at university or “uni.” In the U.S., both colleges and universities offer similar courses for bright students.  Technically, a  U.S. college is a smaller school or a division of a large university. In practice, a U.S. student is much more likely to refer to his or her “college” or “school” rather than “university.”

Studying in the U.S. can be expensive, but it’s an investment that pays off. First, let’s look at some average figures compiled from the U.S. State Department for full-time students. The total cost of your college education will depend on the type of school you choose. The average tuition at a public community college in 2006 was $2,191 per year for a full-time student. For a public four-year college, the average cost was $5,491. And for a four-year private college or university, the average cost is $21,235. And that’s just for tuition alone.

I know you’re thinking, “Wow, that’s a huge difference!” According to these figures, the average four-year private school costs almost ten times as much as the average community college. The quality of education that you receive isn’t necessarily better at a more expensive school. Why? And, more important, which one is right for you?

Here are the average costs when living expenses and meals are included. These numbers also include transportation to and from your classes, and a modest amount of spending money.

The total cost of a year at a U.S. college also depends on where you live, while you’re attending school. The cheapest option is still the public community college. Most community colleges don’t have dorms, so students live nearby in an apartment or private home.

Many U.S. students attend community college while living at home with their parents. Other students rent a room from a local family, or share a house or apartment with other students. The total cost of studies and living expenses at community colleges for students who commute between home and school each day is $11,692 per year.

Most students and parents are surprised to learn that at a four-year school, living in a dorm room on campus can be the cheapest option. Dorm life is also less complicated for international students. Meals are usually provided, and there are nearby facilities for laundry. Students don’t have to worry about negotiating a lease or grocery shopping. In most cases, living on campus means the student doesn’t need a car. For four-year public colleges, the average cost of tuition plus living expenses is $23,239 per year. For four-year private colleges, the average cost is $31,916.

If you choose to live off-campus, your living expenses will be slightly higher in many areas. You may need a car to go back and forth to classes. Even in an area where public transportation is available, it’s an additional expense. The average budget for a commuter student at a four-year private college is $32,070.

Paying For Your U.S. Education

Many famous Africans attended college in the U.S.  Nobel Peace Prize Winner Wangari Maathai studied at the University of Pittsburgh. Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali studied in the United States. So did U. N. diplomats Boutros Boutros-Ghali and Kofi Annan.  Some of these famous people came from wealthy families that could afford an expensive school, but others were from humble villages. Yet, they all found ways to fund their education. You can, too.

There are many ways to pay for your U.S. college education, including scholarships and financial aid. You will often encounter the words “scholarship” and “financial aid” used interchangeably.  What’s the difference?  Technically, a scholarship is a competition with a prize of money for education, while financial aid is given to students with the greatest need.

A scholarship may have one or several winners, and the amount can vary from $500 to $50,000 or more. Usually, a scholarship is awarded based on achievement. This may be athletic skills, academic excellence, or a talent such as acting. Some scholarships are for students who have shown leadership skills or who have a history of community service. Other scholarships are for the best students in a particular field, such as teaching or science. In general, you win a scholarship in a competition with other students. Sometimes financial need is considered, but it is only a minor part of the competition.

Financial aid, on the other hand, is a grant based on need. Colleges look at how much money a student and his parents have. They examine records of family income and savings. The students with the least money normally receive these grants. This kind of award generally goes to everyone with the same financial need. Depending on a school’s financial status, they may award many financial aid grants, or just a few. Some of the most expensive private universities offer the most financial aid.

The first source of money for your education is funds from your home country. Many African students are entitled to money for education from the local or national government in their home country. Others receive funding from corporations or foundations in their native country. Not every country offers money for college, but it’s a great place to start.

You might be surprised to learn that the second source of money for higher education is U.S. colleges and universities themselves. Nearly half of the schools in the U.S. set aside funds for international students. Often, this money is entirely separate from aid provided for U.S. students. It’s only for the use of international students.

The best way to find college funds earmarked for international students is to visit or email a college advisor at the University of your choice. Be sure to tell him or her that you are an international student, and what country you come from. They will give you all the information on special funds that are available for non-U.S. students. Private universities are more likely to offer financial aid to African students than public universities. More financial aid is offered by private liberal arts colleges, which offer courses in arts and sciences. Less financial aid is available at universities that offer professional courses like engineering, business administration, and medicine.

Often, special aid for African students includes grants, scholarships and occasionally loans or part-time work at the school. A grant is a gift from the school to the student. Usually, the school just “forgives” a certain amount of tuition. Your U.S. college may charge $12,000 in tuition, and give you a grant of $11,000 per year. You will end up paying $1,000 per year. The school may supply a loan, a scholarship or a part-time job to provide that $1,000.

During your first year of study, you can legally work only part-time, and the job must be on campus. Often, a school will include a “work-study” job as part of your financial aid. Normally, you’ll work in the school library, at the university cafeteria, in the bookstore, or health club. Some jobs might include working with a professor or in the administrative office.

When you’re deciding which colleges to apply for, it’s smart to compare the number of students who receive financial aid. Two colleges may cost about the same amount to attend, but College A, a wealthy private school, gives financial aid to 35 % of the international students. College B, a public school, gives financial aid to just 5% of international students. Your chance of receiving financial aid is much better if you apply to College A instead of College B.

It’s worth the effort to check into international awards. These awards are made by companies and non-profit organizations, as well as by the U.S. government. Some of these funds are reserved for graduate students to earn advanced degrees.

In some cases, you may be offered a loan through the university to help pay for your education. Usually, you will need a U.S. citizen to guarantee payment of the loan. Fewer loans are available for first-year students.  Before accepting a loan, be sure you’ll be able to repay it when your education is completed. Most U.S. students finance their education with loans at special low rates that are guaranteed by the U.S. government. Unfortunately, that program is not available unless you’re a U.S. citizen.

One great way to earn money for school is to become a resident assistant (RA) in a dormitory, after your first year. RAs help students with problems or questions. They receive free living quarters and often free meals or a modest cash payment.

Beginning your second year on a student visa, you can apply for permission to work at any job, up to 20 hours per week. This request isn’t always granted, but it can be a big help for some students.  If you’re on a J-1 (exchange student) visa and bring your spouse along, he or she can work while you’re in the U.S.


Education Quote

“True education makes you humble and gives you power.”

Debasish Mridha


Student Visas 101 – USA Admissions


Once you’ve been accepted by a U.S. college, you still need to secure a student visa in order to legally enter the country. While this isn’t usually difficult, it can be a long, drawn-out process. The best way to speed up the process is to make sure that you have all the required documents. Continue reading