Frequently Asked Questions

In addition to completing the application and essays, you will have to provide certified copies of your original educational credentials (diplomas, grade reports, test scores, comprehensive exam scores), certified English translations of these documents, TOEFL exam scores, scores for any required academic entrance examinations, financial information, letters of recommendation from teachers, and the application fee. Put all the items requested, or your application will be considered incomplete. The admissions office will not review your application until it is complete, and the onus is on you to make sure they receive all of the required documents. If a requested document is not available, include a letter stating this and explaining why the document could not be provided. Following are the some detail points which required to prepare the Application

  • The transcripts of your educational records should be sent directly from your former schools. This is to prevent forgeries and modifications to your transcripts. The admissions office will also want explanations of the grading and class ranking system and descriptions of the courses
  • Do not send your original documents, since they will not be returned. Copies should be certified with the school's official seal or by a notary public. English translations, if necessary, should be done by a professional translator and also certified. The translator should not be your relative. Information about professional translators can be found in the credential evaluation section of this site. US embassies and consulates do not certify documents
  • The application will ask questions about your academic background, your hobbies and extracurricular activities, and your educational and career plans. It will also require your state of purpose essay. The purpose of the essays is partly to see an example of your English writing ability, and partly to provide an opportunity for you to express yourself in a more open format
  • One of the essays may be a statement of educational purpose. Use this essay to explain why you are pursuing an education in your field, describe your experience and strengths in that field, and outline your plans for the future. Weave the strands of your life together into a tapestry that shows where you have been, where you are now, and where you are heading. Your essay should be cohesive and well-organized. Give specific examples to support any general statements. Edit your essay for spelling and grammatical errors before writing it on the application form
  • Pay careful attention to the deadlines, and allow enough time for mailing. Submit your completed applications 2 or 3 months before the deadline. Send the applications as early as possible
  • Keep a copy of everything you send to the admissions office. If your application is lost in transit, this will help you resubmit it Create a chart showing all the deadlines and important dates, and keep a record of the date you mailed each application. This will help you track your progress. When asking for letters of recommendation, choose teachers who know you well. If a teacher taught you for 2 years, that is better than a teacher who taught you for only 1 year. Ask teachers who will give you a good letter of recommendation
  • Provide your references with a copy of your completed application or a summary of your qualifications. This will remind them of your skills The best letters will present a truthful appraisal of your abilities, highlighting both weaknesses and strengths. A letter from a teacher who taught you in a challenging course is more valuable than a letter from a teacher who taught you in an easy class. The purpose of the letter is to evaluate your background, motivation and promise, and not to offer useless praise. When admissions officers get letters from a teacher for several students, praising each of them as the best he has seen in his career as a teacher, they ignore them. The result is a negative mark against the students, not a positive one. It is better to be balanced in presentation, so that the admissions officer can learn to trust a teacher's opinion over the years
  • Your teachers will want to mail their recommendations directly to the university. Provide them with a stamped airmail envelope with the correct address, and write your name in the lower left hand corner of the envelope
  • Applications from international students are increasingly being reviewed in a need-sensitive manner. Competition among international students is tough, most schools can get enough qualified students who do not have financial need. As a general rule, it is still worth applying for financial aid. If you need financial aid and do not apply for it, the school might admit you without offering any aid at all, giving the same result as an outright rejection. Many international students have sent email reporting that they have been offered admission to a US university but do not have enough financial resources to pay for the cost of education, even when the schools provide some financial aid
  • Once you have submitted your applications, you have to wait for several months before hearing anything. If you do hear anything in that time period, it will usually be a request for additional or missing items
  • If you are lucky, you will be accepted by multiple institutions. They will send you a letter of admission. Accept one (and only one) of the offers of admission, and confirm your acceptance according to their instructions. You will probably have to write a letter to the admissions office confirming that you will enroll and include a non-refundable deposit of several hundred dollars. They will then send you the form you need to apply for a student visa (Form I-20). If there are any additional forms, submit them in a timely fashion
  • Once you have accepted one of the offers, send a letter to the other schools declining their offers. Not only is it polite to do so, but it allows them to reallocate the funds they offered you to other applicants
The US educational experience is the best globally. Many US colleges and universities are known worldwide for the quality of their academic programs. Private institutions such as Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, Cornell, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and public institutions such as University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of California at Berkeley, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, University of Wisconsin at Madison, and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are familiar to students, educators, and business leaders everywhere. Additionally, to the more well-known institutions, the US has hundreds of other high quality public and private colleges and universities. The depth and breadth of options is amazing. You will find that a US higher education adds considerable value to your professional development. A US education can enhance your career and prepare you for leadership in your country. It widens your horizons and gives you a variety of perspectives, the latest technology, and state-of-the-art research and training. A degree from a US college or university is a stamp of excellence that marks you for life. If you are a graduate student, a US education can help you make contacts with colleagues in the US. This may lead to collaborations with leading international researchers after you return to your home country. Even undergraduate students will find a solid network of support because the US is a "melting pot" of diverse cultures and there are more international students in the US than anywhere else. So you will get help not just from the foreign student advisor, but also from people in the local community. With the large number and variety of colleges and universities in the US, you are certain to find one that matches your specific needs. On the other hand, a US education is extremely expensive. Financial aid is very limited. You may be able to obtain similar training in your own country at a much lesser rate. You will have to balance the cost against the prestige and quality of a US education.
The following calendar and checklist will help you with your college admissions planning. It begins 24 months (2 years) before your planned enrollment date.


September (24 months)

October-November (22-23 months)
December - May (16-21 months)
January (20 months)

March - June (15-18 months)

May (16 months)

July (14 months)

August (13 months)

September (12 months)

September (12 months)

October (11 months)

October (11 months)

November (10 months)

December (9 months)

April-May (4-5 months)

June (3 months)

July-August(1-2 months)


Begin your search for colleges. Visit the nearest educational advising center and the library. Explore college sites on the web. Talk with family, friends, and acquaintances who have studied in the US. Write to 10-15 schools for information
Start preparing for the TOEFL exam and other admissions tests (e.g., GRE, GMAT, or SAT).

Register for the TOEFL exam and other admissions tests.

Choose the schools to which you will apply. Request application materials if you have not already.

Take the TOEFL and other admissions tests. You must take the tests before November, or you will miss the deadlines at most universities. Taking the tests now gives you a chance to improve your scores by taking them again in October.
Select the teachers you will ask for letters of recommendation.

Read the college applications and backtrack the deadlines to allow enough time to complete them. Remember to allow for delays in the mail. Narrow your list of schools to 10.
Write a draft of your application essays and statement of purpose. Get feedback on it from friends and an English teacher.

If you want to try improving your scores on the TOEFL and other exams, register for a second set of tests.

Ask your teachers to write letters of recommendation for you. Given them the necessary forms and a stamped, addressed envelope.

Complete your essays and application forms, including the financial aid application forms. Airmail them. Ask your schools to send certified copies of your academic transcripts.
Take the TOEFL and other exams again, if required.

Check with your teachers and the school to make sure your recommendations and transcripts have been posted.

Respond promptly to any requests for additional data.

You will start hearing from colleges. Contact the admissions office if you do not receive anything from them. Accept one school's offer, and notify them and the others of your choice. Ask the school to send you the I-20 or IAP-64 form. Make permanent accommodation arrangements if you will be staying on-campus, temporary housing arrangements if you will be living off-campus. Apply for a passport if you do not already possess one.
Apply for a visa. Attend pre-departure orientation programs in your country. Make travel arrangements. Plan to arrive at least 15 days before orientation (2 months if you have to take an English course).
Have a nice trip!

Academic Entrance Examinations

All schools require the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). See the English as a Second Language section for more information about TOEFL. Schools may also require tests of general academic preparation, such as the SAT or ACT, and field-specific tests such as the Achievement Tests. All of these tests are standardized, multiple choice tests, written in English. If you do not have a high level of English proficiency, you will not do well on these tests, no matter how strong your academic background. About one month after the examination, your scores will be sent to the institutions you mentioned on the application form. It will take an additional 2 to 4 weeks for you to receive your copy of the score report, so it is best to not wait to see the scores before sending them to the schools to which you have applied. For more information about the SAT, ACT, GRE, GMAT, TOEFL, and other standardized exams, please see below.

Admissions Testing

Headway Education can assist you with this.


ACT produces and administers the ACT Assessment test. For more information, call 1-319-337-1448 or write to American College Test, PO Box 414, Iowa City, IA 52243 USA.

Educational Testing Service (ETS)

ETS produces and administers several standardized assessments of educational preparation, including the SAT, Achievement Tests, GMAT, GRE, and TOEFL exams. These sites include tutorials and practice questions. For more information about the TOEFL, visit, call 1-609-771-7100, fax 1-609-771-7500, write to ETS, PO Box 6155, Princeton, NJ 08541-6155, or send email to toe For more information about ETS, call 1-609-921-9000, fax 1-609-734-5410, write to ETS, Rosedale Road, Princeton, NJ 08541, or send email to
Requesting Application Materials

Schools usually have different application materials for international students, so it is important that you identify yourself as an international student when you contact the admissions office. So possible differences are:
  • The need to include certified translations of your education credentials
  • No eligibility for early action and early decision programs
Application requirements and deadlines are usually the same. However, you should allow extra time for applications to arrive, because the international postal system introduces delays. Expect it to take 4 to 6 weeks for you to get a response to inquiries. So allow plenty of time. Get information from web sites and by email and facsimile. You should begin the process at least a year and a half in advance of the application deadline, and no later than August of the year prior to the academic year in which you plan to enroll. Send all inquiries by airmail and request an airmail reply. Even if you are able to correspond by facsimile and email, the actual application and accompanying documents will need to be sent by airmail. Your initial inquiry should be addressed to the Director of Undergraduate Admissions for undergraduate applications, to the Department Chair or Dean of the Graduate School or Director of Graduate Admissions for graduate applications. Your initial inquiry should either include a preliminary application form obtained from the nearest educational advising center, or at least the following information:
  • Your name, indicating which of your names is your personal or given name and which of your names is your family name. It is helpful if you underline the family name or write it in all capital letters. You should spell your name the way it appears on your passport. When corresponding with a school, it is important to always use the same spelling of your name. If you change the spelling of your name, some of your records might get lost. If some of your documents will contain a different spelling of your name, attach a note giving your name as it will be used on your application form
  • Your date of birth, written with the month first, followed by the day then the year, using the Gregorian calendar system. Spell out the name of the month instead of using numbers, because date conventions differ from country to country. For example, 4/3/67 is April 3, 1967 in the United States, not March 4
  • Your mailing address
  • Your citizenship and the name of the country issuing your passport
  • Your marital status and the number of dependents
  • Your entire education, listed in chronological order, including all secondary schools, colleges, and universities you have attended. Include examination results, grades, and class rank if available
  • Your intended program of study and the month and year in which you hope to begin studying in the United States
  • A summary of the total funds you have available to meet your educational and living expenses during each year of study in the United States. Give as much detail as possible, such as the sources of these funds. Otherwise the admissions officers will refuse to issue the certificates you need to request a visa to study in the United States
  • A list of your TOEFL scores and other admission tests. If you have not yet taken the tests, list the dates on which you are registered to take the tests. Also mention where you studied English and the total number of years of English language study
If you do not provide this information, the school will respond with a preliminary application that requests it. Otherwise, if you meet their preliminary criteria, they will send you a full formal application for admission with instructions.
Scholarship for International Student
You will certainly encounter several scholarship matching services that, for a fee, will offer to search a database of scholarships for awards that match your profile. Unfortunately, the vast majority of awards in these databases are only for US citizens and permanent residents. Do not waste your money on such services. A word of caution: If a scholarship has an application fee, do not apply. If you have to pay money to get money, it is probably a scam. For more information about scholarship scams, the unclaimed aid myth, and related topics, see the Scholarship Scams section of the FinAid site.

International Education Financial Aid
This site contains a free searchable database of 870 scholarships and awards for international students. Most are restricted to use at specific universities.

Financial Aid For International Student
US education is very expensive. Tuition, room and board at an undergraduate institution will cost from $15,000 to $40,000 a year, contingent on the school. A graduate education can be even more expensive. There is very little financial aid for foreign nationals to study in the US, with the possible exception of citizens of Canada and Mexico. Most grants, scholarships, and loans from public and private sources are restricted to US citizens. As a result, international students will find very little information about financial aid for international students. This site presents more information about financial aid for international students than any other publication. This information originally appeared as part of the FinAid site. Below you will find a description of how to access what aid is available, and a discussion of some of the problems you may face as you pay for a US education.
Visa Interview

American Consulate has introduced a system of prior appointment for Visa Interview. On the given date, the applicant has to appear for a personal interview. The applicant should convince the visa officer that he / she has the necessary funds to cover the cost of education. The applicant should prove that he / she has strong ties with India and also that he / she is not an intending immigrant. While answering the questions, one should be brief and to the point. One should not be surprised or angry if the officer is unable to review all the documents that are carried by the applicant. Since officers have very little time for each applicant, they may not be able to look at many or even any documents at times. Therefore one should be prepared to explain one's situation orally and to answer all questions promptly, patiently and confidently. The applicant will be informed whether he / she has been granted or refused a visa on the same day. The name of the University whose I-20 has been submitted to the consulate, will also be mentioned on the passport. Therefore it is advisable to make the final selection of the University very carefully. If, for some reason, your visa is rejected in the first attempt, you can reapply after 3 working days.

Document Checklist

The following is a list of some of the documents that you are supposed to carry along with you on the day of VISA interview:
  • Passport having validity of atleast six months
  • Visa Fee Receipt
  • Interview Appointment Letter
  • I-20 and Admission Letter from the University / College mentioning the total cost of education in USA (If You have received Admission letters / Rejection letters from more than one University, carry all of them)
  • Evidence of Scholarship / Aid / Grant, if any
  • Sponsorship Letter
  • Educational Certificates, Degrees, Diplomas & Mark sheets
  • Score Reports of TOEFL and GRE / GMAT / SAT
  • Work Experience Certificate / Reference Letter from Employer, if Employed
  • Bank Statements / Pass Books of the sponsors for the last Three Years
  • Summary Statement of Assets and Total Income of Family Members
  • Income Tax papers of the sponsor and his Family for the last 3 years
  • Proof of all movable and immovable assets
For more updated information on Student Visa and the latest Fees, Kindly visit the websites:

Some of the Questions likely to be asked by the Visa Officer:

  • What is the purpose of your trip?
  • Which university are you planning to go to?
  • Who is sponsoring you?
  • Why do you want to do MS / MBA?
  • Why do you wish to study in the US and not in India?
  • Why did you select this University?
  • Do you have any relatives in the US?
  • Why is your GRE / GMAT / SAT / TOEFL score low?
  • What are you plans after completing your studies?
  • What is your father's annual income?
Sufficient Financial Resources To get a F-1 visa approved, you will need to show that you have sufficient funds to pay for the first year of study and that you have resources available to cover the rest of your educational program. For an M-1 or J-1 visa, you will need to demonstrate that you have sufficient funds to pay for all tuition and living costs for your complete stay in the US. The information you provide on the I-20 form (F-1) or IAP-66 form (J-1) will be scrutinized very carefully by both the foreign student advisor at the school and the INS. If you do not have the resources necessary for study in the US, you will not get a visa. You should know where your money is coming from before you board a plane. Several schools require proof that you have enough money for the entire course of study even for an F-1 visa, because too many international students have to return home after only a year of study. If your education will be sponsored by a US citizen (e.g., a relative), the relative will need to fill out a Form I-134 (Affidavit of Support). This form requires them to pay your expenses if you can not. A Form I-134 filed by someone who is not a relative does not count as much as a Form I-134 filed by a relative.
When calculating the annual cost of a US education at a particular college or university, add at least $6,000 Appox. to the published cost of tuition, fees, and room and board. The College Board publishes college costs, required admissions tests, and other useful information in The International Student Handbook of US Colleges. When preparing a budget, you will need to account for the following costs:

  • Application fees about $50 to $75 per school
  • Academic entrance examinations will cost you around $100 to $200 per examination, and most students take at least 2 tests. Assume that you will be spending at least $500 on tests
  • Tuition and fees will cost between $5,000 and $30,000 Appox. per academic year (9 months), depending on the type and quality of institution
  • Books and study materials will cost $500 to $1,000 Appox. per academic year
  • Travel costs to the US vary, but will be between $500 and $2,000 Appox. Travel costs within the US will be between $300 and $700 Appox
  • Room and Board will cost between $3,000 and $7,500 Appox. anually. Allow an extra $1,000 to $2,000 for vacation periods when the dormitory might be closed
  • If you will be living off campus, the cost of renting an apartment will be between $300 and $600 a month, but could be much higher contingent on the location of the school. Meals should cost about $2,500 a year, assuming that you do not eat in restaurants too many times
  • Clothing will cost $500 or more anually
  • Health insurance will cost $300 to $500 Appox. a year per person, $2,000 to $3,500 Appox. per family
  • Personal expenses will cost around $2,000 Appox. per year
If you bring other family members with you, assume that your annual expenses will increase about 15% or $5,000 Appox. for each additional family member. If you wish to buy a car, assume that it will cost you around $4,000 a year. If you will be traveling during the summer, assume a cost of $50 to $75 Appox. a day for touring. If you will be continuing your education during the summer, add half the figure you calculated for the full year. Assume that your costs will increase by about 5% per year due to inflation. Do not forget to include an allowance of about 10% to account for changes in exchange rates. Use the financial planning worksheet to estimate your costs for a year of study in the US. Be realistic when estimating costs for personal expenses.
Because sources of financial aid to study in the US are scarce, you will have to be resourceful and explore all possibilities. In addition to the sources listed below, we recommend searching the FastWeb database, because it is free and has good coverage of the awards available for international students.

Help from Your Home Country

One of the best sources of financial aid to study in the US is organizations in your own country. The nearest educational advising center may have information about local sources of support. Your own government may have financial aid available. (Usually this support requires that you return home after your education is complete.) Contact the cultural section of your embassy or your ministry of education for more information, since there are many awards which require you to be nominated by your government. There may also be private organizations in your home country that provide support for study in the US.

Aid from International Organizations

Of the few private scholarships for international students, most require that you apply from your home country. If you are already in the US you might not be eligible. So you should search for financial aid prior to arriving in the US. Some international organizations offer funding for graduate students to study in the US. These include the United Nations, the Organization of American States (OAS), AMIDEAST, the International Maritime Organization, the International Telecommunications Union, the League of Red Cross Societies, the Soros Foundation, the World Health Organization, and the World Council of Churches. These awards are very competitive. Ful bright scholarships are awarded to about 4,700 graduate students worldwide each year. Applicants are required to take the TOEFL and GRE or GMAT exams. Professional education, such as medical studies, is not eligible. Fulbright students are required to be on J-1 visas for the duration of their sponsorship. For information about applying to the Fulbright Program in your country, contact the nearest US embassy or consulate, Fulbright Commission office, or educational advising center . The US Information Agency maintains information about studying in the US, the Fulbright program, and the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program, in the Educational and Cultural Exchange section of their web site, including Fulbright Commission contact information for most countries. For more information, call 1-202-619-4355, fax 1-202-619-6988, write to United States Information Agency, Office of Public Liaison, 301 4th Street, SW, Room 602, Washington, DC 20547, or contact Headway Education.

Aid from the US Government

Please note that the US government student assistance programs, including the Pell Grant, Stafford and PLUS loans, and work-study programs, are not available to international students. However aid may be available from the US government for students from specific countries. Your best bet for finding out if there is any financial aid from the US for students from your country is to contact your embassy, the US Department of State, and the US Information Agency. You should also write to the Agency for International Development, Office of International Training, Washington, DC 20523 or contact Headway Education.

Aid from US Educational Institutions

Financial aid for international undergraduate students is extremely rare. Foreign graduate students have significantly more opportunities for financial aid than foreign undergraduate students. The amount of financial aid for foreign graduate students is very limited. For more information, please see the list of schools with financial aid for international undergraduate students. Some US schools have direct exchange programs with their counterparts in foreign countries. Such exchange programs often include financial aid for the international student. To find out about these programs, ask your local university. International students who intend to enroll in a graduate or postdoctoral program at a US University should contact the schools that interest them. Ask the relevant departments and the university's Financial Aid Office about financial aid for international students. Most support for graduate study in the US by international students is provided by the schools themselves in the form of teaching and research assistantships. These assistantships are based on academic merit, not financial need. The school will probably require you to pass the Test of Spoken English (TSE) to qualify for a teaching assistantship. Financial aid is not available for English as a Second Language courses, so you should have a TOEFL (iBT - Internet Based Test) score of at least 100 to qualify for financial aid. If all else is equal, the student with the better English skills will get the financial aid.

Aid from Private US Organizations and Sponsors

There is very little financial aid for international students available from private sources, such as foundations and individual sponsors.

Assistance from Your Family

You may most likely have to rely on your own assets, your parent's money, and contributions from relatives.

Schools with Financial Aid for International Undergraduate Students

Some US schools are more likely than others to offer financial aid for international undergraduate students. The lists below indicate which schools offer aid (including grants, loans, and jobs) to the largest numbers of international students. The lists are based on a list compiled by Douglas C. Thompson, Associate Vice President for Enrollment, The Culinary Institute of America. For inclusion, the schools must have an average award that is greater than 1/5 of the cost of attendance. The financial aid may include grants, loans, and jobs, and often includes both merit and need-based awards. Within each group, schools are listed alphabetically. If a school is not listed here, it probably does not have much financial aid for international students.
This section lists a few organizations that may be able to provide some information about financial aid for international students.

NAFSA: Association of International Educators

NAFSA: Association of International Educators (previously known as the National Association of Foreign Student Affairs) is the national professional association for international educators. NAFSA promotes international educational exchange between the United States and the rest of the world. In addition to providing information about financial aid for international students, NAFSA's web site provides information about the organization, electronic news for international educators, and back issues of their quarterly magazine (International Educator). NAFSA also handles the INTER-L mailing list. For more information, call 1-202-737-3699, fax 1-202-737-3657, write to NAFSA: Association of International Educators, 1307 New York Avenue, NW, Eighth Floor, Washington, DC 20005-4701, or send email to To order NAFSA publications, call 1-800-836-4994, fax 1-412-741-0609, or write to NAFSA Publications, PO Box 1020, Sewickley, PA 15143.

Council for International Educational Exchange (CIEE)

CIEE provides assistance with study abroad programs and internships, international student identification cards, student travel services, and English as a second language instruction and testing. For more information, call 1-212-661-1414, fax 1-212-972-3231, or write to Council for International Educational Exchange (CIEE), 205 E 42nd Street, New York, NY 10017 or contact Geebee Education. Institute of International Education (IIE) Founded in 1919, the IIE is the largest non-profit organization in the US devoted to international exchange. The IIE administers the US Fulbright program and manages more than 250 international education programs. Although the IIE assists the US Information Agency in the administration of the graduate Fulbright Fellowships for study in the United States, international students cannot apply directly to IIE for USIA Fulbright Fellowships. All international students should apply through the Fulbright Commission or US Information Service in their home country. Their site also includes a searchable version of their scholarship books. (The full text is only available to IIE members.) For more information, write to Institute for International Education, 809 United Nations Plaza, New York, NY 10017-3580, call 1-212-883-8200 or 1-212-984-5412, fax 1-212-984-5452, or send email to or contact Geebee Education.

Council for the International Exchange of Scholars (CIES)

CIES is administratively affiliated with the Institute of International Education and provides assistance with the administration of the Fulbright Program. CIES also administers the NATO Advanced Research Fellowships and Institutional Grants Program. For more information, send email to or write to Council for International Exchange of Scholars, 3007 Tilden Street, NW, Suite 5L, Washington DC 20008-3009.

International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX)

Rotary Foundation The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International gives grants to university students and teachers to act as "goodwill ambassadors" around the world. The Rotary Foundation also sponsors international exchanges of business and professional people, and provides grants to improve the quality of life around the world. An example of this is their Ambassadorial Scholarship Program. For more information about their programs, write to Rotary Foundation, 1560 Sherman Avenue, Evanston, IL 60201 or call 1-708-866-3000. AAUW Education Foundation The AAUW Education Foundation provides graduate fellowships to women with the equivalent of a Bachelors degree who are not citizens or permanent residents of the United States. International Fellowships support graduate students writing Ph.D. dissertations and postdoctoral scholars conducting research in the United States. Upon completion of studies, fellowship recipients must return to their native country to pursue a professional career; preference will be given to applicants who can verify that they have a definite job awaiting them. Applications become available from August 1 through November 15. The deadline is December 2 (Airmail). For more information write to AAUW Educational Foundation, Department 60, 2201 N. Dodge St, Iowa City, IA 52243-4030, call 1-319-337-1716, or fax 1-319-337-1204, or write to American Association of University Women, 1111 Sixteenth Street N.W., Washington, DC 20036-4873 or call 1-202-728-7603.

Do not count on being able to scrape up the funding after you arrive in the US. Getting a job is not an effective means of financing an education in the US. There are many restrictions on employment by foreign nationals, and some types of visas prohibit it totally. Most international students are limited to on-campus employment Even if you are able to find work, you will not be able to get a job that pays well enough to cover all your expenses. The typical on-campus job will pay no more than $1,000 to $2,000 during the school year, and a similar amount during the summer vacation. If you are studying on an F-1 visa, you may not accept off-campus employment during the first year of study. You may, however, take an on-campus job to fund the bills. You are limited to 20 hours a week while school is in session, provided that you do not displace a US resident. (The test for displacement is whether the position is normally filled by students.) Full time employment is allowed during vacations if you will be returning to school at the end of the vacation period. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) permission is not required to accept on-campus employment, but you must first apply for a Social Security Number and complete a Form I-9 (Employment Eligibility). You may also need to get authorization from the foreign student advisor. Graduate students who are participating in a cooperative education program are sometimes permitted to work for an off-campus employer who has an educational connection or research contract with the school. The employment must be required for the degree. After the first year of study, a student on an F-1 visa may ask the INS for permission to accept off-campus employment. Permission is often granted if the student is experiencing severe economic hardship through no fault of their own, such as major currency fluctuations, loss of financial aid, loss or lack of availability of on-campus employment, unusual increases in tuition or living expenses, unexpected financial changes in the student's source of support, and unexpected medical expenses. The student must be in good academic standing and enrolled as a full-time student, and the foreign student advisor must certify the student's Form I-538 (Certification by Designated School Official). The student must submit Form I-765 (Application for Temporary Employment Authorization) and filing fee, together with the certified Form I-538 and the student copy of Form I-20, to the INS for work authorization.The employment authorization will be valid for one year. Students on M-1 visas may not accept any form of employment, except for a temporary internship for practical training purposes. Working while on a B-2 (Tourist) visa is reason for immediate deportation. Spouses and dependents of students admitted to the US on M-1, F-1, and J-1 visas may apply for M-2, F-2, and J-2 visas, respectively, in order to accompany the student during their stay in the US. Spouses and dependents of M-1 and F-1 students are not allowed to accept employment or engage in business while in the US. Spouses and dependents of students admitted on a J-1 visa may seek permission to work as a J-2 visitor. Individuals on a M-2, F-2, or J-2 visa will study on a full time or part time basis, but may not receive financial aid. After you graduate, you might wish to work temporarily in the US. To do so, you will need to obtain H-1B status. Your degree must be in the area of expertise required for the position. You must have an offer of employment from a US employer. The employer must file paperwork to petition for H-1B status for you.