Types of Financial Aid Available in US Universities
The high cost of education in the US is a cause for concern for many students in India. Expenditure on education alone can range from $ 15000 to $ 50000 per year, apart from expenses on books and food, housing, health insurance, transportation and so on. What is more, graduate schools in US offer financial assistance to international students purely on the basis of merit, and rarely on the basis of need. The amount and type of assistance offered depends on the university, department and level of study.
Financial aid is more readily available in the fields of engineering, physical sciences and biological sciences rather than humanities, social sciences, business and management, law, arts and communication. The possibility of assistance is also greater at the doctoral level than at the master's level. The different types of financial aid available in US universities are:
1. Tuition Waiver: This means that students do not have to pay the tuition fee at the university. However, general fees related to the use of university facilities like the library, computers, sports and health services have to be borne by the student. A tuition waiver is usually awarded in conjunction with a scholarship or teaching / research assistantship.
2. Scholarship / Fellowship: A scholarship is awarded on the basis of academic merit and performance of students, so only outstanding students may be considered for such award before enrolling into an university. A full scholarship ensures that the entire living expense of students is paid for, while in partial scholarships that they have to fund their education collectively.
USEFI oversees US Government scholarships, the Institute of International Education (IIE) scholarships and East-West Center scholarships. These three scholarships are awarded under two categories – (i) pre-doctoral and (ii) post-doctoral. It's available to those Indian candidates who are studying in the fields of humanities, social sciences and pure sciences. Applications in the field of applied sciences, technology or medicine can not be accepted.
The East-West Center scholarships are offered for per-doctoral studies at the University of Hawaii to those candidates who have two years of work experience and a high second class in their Bachelor's as well as their Master's degree. Announcements regarding these seminars are made by USEFI, usually in the month of July.
3. Assistantship: Most graduate students receive financial aid in the form of assistance, which is a cash stipend (sufficient for their expenses) in return for which they have to work a maximum of 20 hours a week. The work generally consists of teaching or research. Often teaching or research abilities must be provided before assistantships are granted, since it may be granted to foreign students only after one semester or year. They may also be asked to give the Test of Spoken English (TSE).