Are you planning to study abroad? then the probability of you thinking of the US as your abroad destination must have crossed your mind. This is no coincidence that the majority of Indian students aspiring to study abroad choose the US as their first option as an abroad destination thanks to the sheer size of its education system, international-level tutoring, better job opportunities, and also opportunities to meet new people and experience a new culture. But as we know the tuition fee for the US universities are not cheap, living expenses alone is around 8-10 lakhs per annum. So, on average 50-60 lakhs is required for you to pursue your 2 years master's in the US. Not everyone has an amount that big to fund their education. 

In this article, we will discuss all the different ways you can fund your education abroad in the US, or else you can also watch episode 13th of our LoanFlix series which is on the same topic, below is the video-

1. Scholarship-

Scholarships can be a great way to fund US education, but for a scholarship, you need to apply almost a year prior to your intake season because for most of the scholarships the deadline for accepting applications ends almost a year before the course starts. Scholarships are of three types

  1. The need-based scholarships which are given considering the financial condition of your family 
  2. The merit-based scholarships are given based on the academic and Co-curricular track record of the applicant
  3. The special scholarships are given for special causes for eg. cancer research scholarship, sports scholarship, etc.

So, most of the scholarship which you'll come across will be a merit-based scholarship and as there are so many scholarships students can apply for, here are the few popular ones 

  • Fulbright- Nehru Master’s scholarship 

This is coordinated by USIEF (The United States-India Educational Foundation) which is an international foundation dedicated to higher education in India and the United States. 

This scholarship is given to Indian students who have at least three years of work experience and are going to pursue a master’s degree program at select U.S. colleges and universities in the areas of Arts and Culture Management including Heritage Conservation and Museum Studies, Economics, Environmental Science/Studies, Higher Education Administration, International Affairs, International Legal Studies, Journalism and Mass Communication, Public Administration, Public Health, Urban and Regional Planning, and Women’s Studies/Gender Studies. Students looking for engineering-related programs will not be eligible for this scholarship.

This is usually a full funding scholarship covering your travel fares, tuition fee, visa expenses, living expenses, and health insurance but sometimes they fund partially also.

The deadline for this scholarship is one and a half years before intake starts for the courses mentioned above. Students don't need an admission letter to apply for this scholarship and upon getting the scholarship USIEF helps students with the application to the institutes which students have mentioned as their preference in their scholarship application form.

  • Education Future International Scholarship

This scholarship has been created by the scholarship winners worldwide as they have come to a decision to fund the next batch of students with whatever they can contribute. This is a quite popular one among Indian students as this scholarship is only for Indian students and can fund all subjects of study. 

This is a merit-based partial funding scholarship that ranges between 2 lacs to 10 lacs Indian rupees. Applicants should reflect that they lack funds for self-funding their education abroad. Hence, the students should be planning to fund themselves at least 50% through an education loan.

  • Rotary Peace Fellowships

So this scholarship covers only two US universities 

  • The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Duke University

If you have at least three years of full-time experience in peace or development work and are planning to study from any one of the two universities in a program related to peace resolution or conflict resolution then you can apply for this scholarship. 

This is a need-based full funding scholarship covering tuition fees to living expenses to everything.

2. Education loans

Since not everyone will be eligible for a scholarship and for some who did get a scholarship but partially-funded, they need a backup plan in terms of abroad education loan. So, there are two types of loan you can opt for- 

Collateral / Secured loan- You get a secured loan from public banks like SBI, BOB, etc by pledging collateral to take a loan against it. collateral could be

  • Immovable property like house, flat, non-agricultural land, and 
  • Liquid security like Fixed deposits, Insurance policy(Term Insurance), and govt bonds.  

Banks also offer us education loan on third-party collateral where you can also pledge your relative's or friend's collateral if they are ready and ok with it.

Non-Collateral / Unsecured loan- It is a loan without collateral. You get an unsecured loan from Private banks and NBFCs. Private banks can fund up to 40 lakhs and NBFCs can fund up to 60 lakhs for the US. For an unsecured loan, lenders check the applicant's eligibility for the same like

  • The academic profile of the Applicant
  • Financial co-applicants income, CIBIL score
  • Course/Degree you are going for
  • The country you are going to
  • The University you are going to

It is important to have either collateral to get a secured loan or a strong financial co-applicant for an unsecured loan. A strong financial co-applicant means someone with a stable income source who files ITR and he/she can be anyone of your family or close relatives.

But, what if you don't have both, still you can get an education loan without collateral and financial co-applicant. To find out who all can be eligible for USA education loan watch this video of the Loanfilx series by the WeMakeScholars - How to get an Education Loan without Collateral and without Co-applicant for Study Abroad 

3. T.A./ R.A./ G.A.

These are Assistantships that you apply for after you reach college, these are great ways to fund your US education, and reduce your dependency on US education loan. It is like a part-time job on campus where you assist your professors and you get paid in return, for eg. if you get hired as

  1. Teaching Assistantships (TA)- TA is a sort of Teaching assistant to a professor, their duties in US Universities generally include assisting students, checking assignments, helping a professor with daily activities, and other similar responsibilities. Now the next question that might be intriguing to you is how to apply for a TA’s post! Well, you can apply for it the moment you apply for admissions but you can only be on that post once you complete your first semester
  2. Research Assistantship (RA)- Research Assistantship is basically about helping a professor with their research and put down their workload. You can apply for this post when you apply for your university, but you will only get the job once you complete your first semester
  3. Graduate Assistantship (GA)- GA is the same as RA and so is their process of application. As GA gets hired by departments their responsibilities can range from assisting professors with grading, conducting research with faculty, or even performing professional tasks in an on-campus office, lab, clinic, or facility. GA gets paid more than a RA or TA as they are graduated and have more knowledge of the field.

So, getting these positions is not easy but it is not that tough as well, all you need is to be a little proactive, having good relations with everyone, and the professors then you have a fairly good chance to get these positions and fund US education by mitigating you from using your US education loan.

So, if you get one of these positions, you get benefits like

  • A stipend of 17-20 dollars per hour and as a student on an F1 visa you are allowed to work 20 hours per week. This is more than enough for living expenses.
  • Some universities wave off the complete tuition fees when you get employed as T.A./ R.A./ G.A.
  • Many universities transfer your tuition fee from out-state to in-state which makes your tuition fees about 50% less.

It is not wise to think you will for sure get these Assistantships once you land in the US, so it is important to have a backup in the form of either an abroad education loan, scholarships, or self-funding. 

WeMakeScholars can help you in getting you an education loan at the best deal possible from lenders. So do reach out to our financial officers by requesting a callback. Our team of financial officers assists you with the entire education loan process until sanction, disbursement, and beyond. 

Note: WeMakeScholars is an organization funded and supported by the Government of India that focuses on International Education finance. We are associated with 10+ public/Pvt banks/ NBFCs in India and help you get the best abroad education loan matching your profile. As this initiative is under the Digital India campaign, it's free of cost. The organization has vast experience dealing with students going to various abroad education destinations like the US, Canada, UK, Australia, Germany, Sweden, Italy, China, France among others.