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:



Infographic: International Students at U.S. Universities


U.S. News and World Report collected data on U.S. universities and presents them in an easily digestible infographic describing which schools have the most number of international students (New School in New York, New York). I found the bottom statistic that states that 27.5% of the 1000+ top ranked universities send admissions officers to recruit international students. International students contribute diversity and bring different perspectives to the classroom, no doubt, but increasingly many universities see them as “full pay” students who can afford the price tags at universities.

One question I always get when I am meeting with international students is to pay for the sky high tuition rates. The infographic also shows the universities that are most generous toward international students below:


It is really great to see these schools commit to international diversity and back it up with the financial aid!

U.S. News Shares Admissions Essay Tips for English Language Learners

Application season is upon us once again! All around the world, students are preparing their school wish lists, taking their tests, and drafting their essays! U.S. News and World Report, the periodical famous for their university rankings, shared some tips for English Language Learners to draft their application personal statements.

These are some creative tips, from reading backwards (not word for word but sentence to sentence), not using fancy SAT words, to making sure not to copy or plagiarize. I especially agree with the last tip, because many international students are not familiar with U.S. academic standards of plagiarism. While I like these basic tips, I think the best recommendation is to ask a native speaker to look over your work and offer edits!

What are some other tips that you would recommend to international students and students whose first language is not English?

(Photo Credit: US News)

International Students Day 11/13 — Huge Virtual College Fair!



The State Department, EducationUSA, and CollegeWeekLive are hosting a virtual college fair on 11/13! Sign up here: Participating schools include UCLA, U of Arizona, and Amherst! All amazing schools!

Next week is International Education Week!

Woo hoo!!

My Worlds Collide! Diplomacy and Education — MOOCs Connect Students to U.S. Style Education

This past week was a super exciting one for me! The MOOC project that I had been working on for the past two months in the Embassy in La Paz with a local university got some great press through FAST COMPANY and The New York Times! The State Department even featured a video of it on their official Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs page.

I don’t think that MOOCs are going to solve all of the problems in educational inequality all over the world, but for motivated, bright, engaged students like the ones I work with in Bolivia, they are another resource where they can find high quality education at their finger tips — it’s all free and all they need is an internet connection! I plan on continuing the pilot program here, and I hope that many of these students will be inspired in the future to apply to American universities for post grad studies!

Not to Add Fuel to the Asian Stereotype Fire…Fascinating BBC Article on Education Craze in Asia

This article about what lengths parents will go to Asia to support their students popped up on my twitter feed from the BBC, and I wanted to share it because the fact that so many Chinese students want to study in the U.S. shows two things:

1) The higher education system in the U.S. is still one of the strongest resources that America has to offer

2) There exists a perception that the Chinese education systems still lack the power to prepare individuals for success in the globalized context. I think this will change, given the university partnerships that so many U.S. schools are willing to forge with Chinese institutions, but there is still a huge benefit for international students who study in the U.S.

Some incredible stats from the article:

  • Last year an estimated 40,000 Chinese students travelled to Hong Kong to take the US college admissions exam, the Scholastic Assessment Test (SATS), which is not offered in mainland China.
  • Chinese education company, New Oriental Education, organises SAT trips to Hong Kong for $1,000 (£627) on average, and parents spend up to $8,000 (£5,020) on tutoring.
  • It does not stop there. Nearly 87% of Chinese parents said they were willing to fund study abroad.
  • 70% of Korean household expenditure, according to estimates by the Samsung Economic Research Institute in Seoul, goes toward private education, to get an educational edge over other families.

Thinking of our American high school students competing with that firepower from Asia…wow.

Any thoughts you’d like to share? Comment below or email me[at]gmail[dot]com

Photo Credit: Reuters


Calling All International Students – 11/13/12 Viritual College Fair!

I love that I have students from Bangladesh, Philippines, China, South Korea, and other nations that read this blog – please continue to share my information with your friends and classmates!

Quick announcement from the State Department: there will be a Virtual College Fair with over 150+ Colleges represented on Nov 13. 

Sign up and get alerts and learn how to use the system before the fair. I hope that you learn a lot and this helps you for your college research!

Best of luck!