How Can A Non-U.S. Citizen Get Financial Aid?

by Judge Josh on October 27, 2014

Hi Judge Josh!

I’m writing you a question on behalf of a friend. She’s from Germany, and a German citizen, but married to a coworker of mine in the U.S. Navy and working here with a valid green card and visa. She wants a college education – but she is blown away by how expensive college in the U.S. is. She has no idea how to pay for it.

It’s crazy, isn’t it?  The United States is the 2nd most expensive country in the world for international students to go to college (what’s up with you Australia?!?).  Foreigners pay on average more than $25,00 per year for tuition in the United States!

She checked with a couple of college counselors, who referred her to some websites for scholarships, but they were all for U.S. citizens. She wants to pursue psychology, but she has a very vague idea of what she wants to do. She just knows she wants ‘more’ and to ‘be a part of something bigger’. She loves to help people, and she has a very understanding heart, so I think she’d be a great counselor.

Awesome! We could always use more people in America who love to help others.

We’ve heard that everybody and their mother has studied psychology and they rarely end up make a living off of it. So – like many people, she isn’t sure if she should go to college at all until she knows what to do. She doesn’t want to negatively impact her, and especially her husband’s, savings to go after something she’s unsure of. (we are talking community college prices, not just large university.) That can be a vicious cycle, though.

How do you find what you want to do if you aren’t exposed to it? She works at Macy’s for now, and she likes it, but it isn’t what she wants to forever.

So the long and short,

Do you know of any scholarships for non-U.S. citizens? Any advice for her her in particular?

Thanks so much for taking the time to read!

Sincerely,

Randi

Thank you for stopping by, Randi!

Sure, there are lots of places to look for financial aid for non-U.S. citizens.  Firstly, you mentioned that she is a permanent resident (a.k.a. has a green card).  This is good, because as such, she can actually qualify for Federal Student Aid.  Here’s some more information about that.

Also, tell her to Google scholarships for non-U.S. citizens (or even more narrowly, meaning there will likely be less competition – for non-citizen permanent residents).  There are many of them out there.  Now, some of them aren’t just for non-citizens – instead, many of them are based on other merits, but non-citizens are eligible to apply as well.  That being the case, be sure to read the fine print.  On its face it may not say anything about non-citizens, you may have ot read more closely to see if she qualifies.

So in

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

James October 27, 2014 at 1:31 pm

It’s worth pointing out, too, that in most states she won’t need to pay international student rates, since she is a permanent resident who can remain indefinitely.

She should also look into what benefits may be available through the Navy. I’m not an expert, but a good financial aid office in an institution with good support for the military would know about the possibility of MyCAA, GI Bill transfers, etc.

Take a look at institutional and state aid as well. Institutions that cater to or have large numbers of service members and their dependents often have special programs, waivers, and so forth that might apply. Many states do as well (for example, Tennessee charges in state tuition regardless of residency for service members and their dependents).

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Thelma October 27, 2014 at 9:15 pm

Just to second James, her best bet is probably state schools. A lot of state aid is available to permanent residents as long as you are a resident of the state.

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Amanda --- October 28, 2014 at 12:47 am

Non-citizen IS ABLE TO GET FINANCIAL AID. People with Permanent Resident are able to get financial aid if they have the financial needs. Check scholarships that are for ” Offering to: Permanent Resident, Immigrants” are the big keyboards. Also “non-us citizen.” I have read a lot of scholarships for non-us citizen. I was a non-us citizen when applying for a university and I got financial aid.

Permanent Resident~can get full ride to university or college. It’s just they are not fully open to US citizen. But that doesn’t mean you should stop searching. The effort is worth all the money!

-Check your school scholarship.
-maybe your religion can offer.
-Scholarships for merit.
-Contest
-Community Scholarship for community work
-Low income scholarship if this applies to you.
-workplace offer workstudy or scholarship?
-Check your bank information. I know one or two banks offer scholarships for incoming freshman and GPA.
All the best~good luck!

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