The Most Generous Schools for International Financial Aid

I remember sitting in on international committee day at our admissions office. The stakes were high, the school admitted less than 8 % of the applicants who applied (and that was four years ago…now the numbers are more like less than 5%!). The most stressful day; however, was the day of “international financial aid committee,” because so few were going to be considered for admission. These students literally had to walk on water. We all sat down with every member of the admissions office who read international files around the table, and post-it notes were prepared to indicate which countries on a world map hung on a wall would have successful students.

Since the university I worked for was not “need blind” for international students, when I read application files, I had to right off the bat divide up the students who were elite enough to pay (one pile) with the students who couldn’t (the other pile). Getting out of the international student financial aid pile was something short of a miracle…those stats were less than 2% some years.

While it is incredibly difficult to be awarded financial aid as an international school at the majority of universities in the U.S., it does happen. Today I want to showcase and applaud the schools that are the most generous to international students in terms of aid. Read the article carefully, as U.S. News and World Report explains the that some schools are need based while others are merit based. This could be good news for international students who would be considered middle class, who are excellent students, but wouldn’t qualify for full tuition at some of the “need based” financial aid institutions. These families may be able to afford some of the tuition but certainly not the hefty price tag of $50,000 USD a year.

If you are academically talented, have great test scores, and think you are competitive in a highly selective applicant pool, try applying to these schools with high endowments that invest in international diversity:



APA High School Congressional Leadership Program in CA

Calling all high school and college Asian American students: Please apply to this great program!

My good friend from CA alerted me to this great program – I recommend it for any student who is interested in political campaign, law-making, community organizing, and other leadership activities!

Background: The annual Asian Pacific Youth Leadership Project (APYLP) conference provides a select group of 50 Asian and Pacific Islander seniors and juniors from public, private and charter high schools throughout California with a unique opportunity to gain first-hand knowledge of the legislative process, community leadership, and political activism. During the four-day, three-night conference, students will participate in a Mock Legislature at the State Capitol that includes the election of peer legislative leaders, lively debate of current issues through the introduction of legislation, and the lobbying of bills during committee hearings and the Senate floor session. Additionally, small group workshops facilitated by Asian Pacific legislative staff, community activists, and business leaders will assist students in developing their leadership and public speaking skills, enhance their cultural awareness and identity, and explore the richness and diversity of Asian and Pacific Islander communities in California.

Good luck and let me know if you have questions about application, as always I am happy to connect via email @

Retention Retention Retention!

Here’s a disturbing article about universities in Missouri. I’m not trying to pick on the South, but these graduation rates are just appalling. Do you know what retention and graduation rates are? These are terms you should be familiar with when you conduct your school search. Retention rates are the %age of students who come back (usually from their first to second year), and graduation rates are the %age of students who graduate. Graduation rates are mostly calculated in 4-year and 5-6yr segments.

Why are these numbers important? They are, to some point, an indicator of how much support a school offers struggling students, and the academic climate of the school. If you go to a place that is graduating 95% of students in 4 years – that should tell you that there are enough support systems in place that students who may struggle have access to academic advising and counseling. It also gives you an idea of the academic quality of the students you will be living with, studying with, and in a community with. There are many studies shown that your peers impact the outcome of your success, which means that you want to be surrounded by people who are focused academically and know that they want to graduate. These figures are also important for parents who would NOT want to pay tuition for 5, 6, 7 years…because that adds up A LOT.

When you go to a college info session, see if the admission officer knows the graduation rates – and even better, ask if they can give you statistics by racial group. I was really proud to work for institutions where the African American graduation rate was not that different from the overall graduation rate.

Let me know if you have questions –

Best Colleges and Universities for Asian American Students

Hopefully by reading my posts on Financial Aid, you’re at a point where you’re convinced that you can afford a college education!

The next step is to create a “college list” of places where you will apply! I think the best time to start is around Spring of your Junior year in high school. Lately there’s been a lot of hype about high school seniors applying to over 20 schools…admission officers think that’s pretty excessive…if you do your research and are realistic about where you’re competitive, you don’t need to apply to that many schools.

We’ll talk more about coming up with a “college list” in a later post- through your own research, discussing options with your college counselors (gosh, I hope you have a reliable one…), and talking to older friends who are in college.

Today I wanted to focus on this great list published by the Angry Asian Man blog…drum roll please…for the BEST Colleges and Universities for Asian American students! I was really happy to see my alma mater on the list! Sure, you may not decide where to go to college based on whether or not there are enough Asian Americans, but these schools have community centers that support and mentor students, programs that encourage students to explore their identity, and some have majors/minors in Asian American studies. It’s up to the student whether or not, or how much, they want to be active in these organizations; but it’s good to know you’ll have support if you want it!

Check out the list, and please do let me know if there are similar rankings like this out there: