80% of Students Will Not Get Funding From USA Universities

Raghuram Sukumar Edu News 64 Comments

If you are an international student planning for higher education in USA, here is news for you guys.

8 out of 10 students will not get Financial Aid from US College or University.

I know what you are thinking now. This might sound and feel like a big blow to your face. But, that’s the fact.

Remember, last week we had a debate about HSB no painting rosy picture about US.

Go, read the following post about some of harsh realities about higher education in USA

Now, going back to the topic – 80% of Foreign Students will not get funding from Universities/Colleges.

Do I have proof to back the above statement?

80% – No Aid from Colleges

Did you read the yesterday’s post  about Record Number of Foreign Students in USA, But Why?

Same report included International Students: Primary Source of Funding (Table below)


Primary Source of Funding2009/10
Int’l Students
% of Total
Int’l Students
% of Total
Personal and Family Funds427,56761.9458,66763.47.2
U.S. College or University166,36924.1165,54422.9-0.6
Home Government/University31,4514.641,5895.832.1
U.S. Government4,6600.74,2190.6-9.5
U.S. Private Sponsor6,6851.05,8270.8-12.9
Foreign Private Sponsor9,4581.47,0631.0-25.4
International Organization1,7300.31,5490.2-10.6
Current Employment36,2015.233,6254.6-7.2
Other Sources6,8020.85,1940.7-23.7

Above Table is reproduced as is from Open Doors.

Look at the sections highlighted in RED.

During 2010/2011

  • Personal and Family Funds – 63.4%
  • US College or University – 22.9%

I’m ignoring other sources of funding. Majority of the readers of this article are from India and other sources of funding will not largely apply to Indian students. Only few students will fall under that category.

Reality vs Funding?

Prospective student will have several factors while selecting universities in USA. One of top 3 questions will be about Financial Aid and Scholarship availability in the university.

Above table gives you the answer. Universities and Colleges are funding only 22.9% of Foreign students.

Some universities might have more funding compared to others, but overall only 22.9% students get funding.


What do you think about this data.

  • Did you know, such data existed before?
  • Will your approach and outlook towards US education be any different?
  • Are you going to think like an optimist “I will be one of the 22.9% ?”.


  1. You said that 80% students don’t get financial aid. So, approximately how many students get assistantship or scholarship?
    Do we need to apply to some institute to get scholarship?
    When(means after applying or getting admission) do we understand that we are awarded financial aid or not? It is important to me because if I get financial aid then only I can take admission?
    Does applying to some lower class university increase chances of financial aid?
    I don’t know much about these financial aid,
    Please help so that I can decide whether I should think of M.S…

  2. i want to know colleges which provides me MS in GIS with scholarship.it is important for me to know abt scholarship.

  3. When I join happy school, I get really sad.
    education in my country is not a rewarding one. I like to chang my life and my credo; however, I lost my leader. I want to countiniu my education in US, but with out fund , it is impossible for me.

  4. Can i get a chemical engineering seat in goodrated universities easily than e mech ec cse eee seat.. snd how muchcgpa should i maintain for tat.? Im pursuiing 2nd year chem engineerin kindly reply me as u r seniors ..so that ican maintain minimum. Cgpa;)

    1. Hi Raj

      Chemical engineering have very good future prospects in the R&D field of green energy or renewable sources of energy development .If you have feeling of excitement about these fields then you can do far better than mechanical engineers

    2. One more thing I will like to add ,you should try to find that in which university such research are going on.I know about a university where I got admission to North Carolina A&T State University there for on campus job I was in conversation with a professor who is working for the development biological source of energy,he was looking for chemical engineer in his research project but did not get F1 visa because my profile is not suitable according to VO

  5. Hey my Gre score-1320 ,toefl-91 acads 67%please suggest some good universities for MS-CS progam

    1. Ankita: Please do understand its more about the field of specialization rather than GRE score….

  6. This is designed for undergrads, however the lesson is that there are good universities who are looking for international students! You must keep smaller universities in mind!
    1. This was one is a good option it does give three types of scholarships for international students

    2. if you want to study engineering, look at Franklin W. Olin College Of Engineering or Cooper Union. Other free colleges are Berea College, College Of The Ozarks and Webb Institute

    3. I believe Connecticut university gives out nice financial aid to internationals. Over at the essay forum a lot of the international students who sent me their essays were applying to Connecticut for that reason.

    4. Try University of Houston

    5. I spoke to Milton today, he told me the cost of the tuition oh HCC is US$4,000 a year, dont know how accurate the info is but its worth a check.

    6. Bemidji State University
    Tuition & Fees :: Business Services :: Bemidji State University
    A beautiful campus on Lake Bemidji.
    Tuition is $3054 per semester for a full time student.

    7. Minnesota’s Southwest State University is also very reasonably priced.

    Both of these schools offer international students the same tuition they charge in-state kids.

    8. For an int’l student who is “full pay,” then the cheaper options are going to be schools like Ole Miss, Miss St, Southern Miss, UArk, SUNYS and similar that charge lowish non-resident tuitions.

    There are some schools (can’t remember the names) that don’t charge non-resident fees in states like North Dakota maybe???

    another cheaper option is to apply to schools that give big merit scholarships to int’ls. There are a few of those, but they have upcoming scholarship

    9. crazyronaldo, you should take a look at Brigham Young University. It is a really cheap university(maybe around 15k), gives a lot of scholarships to internationals and has excellent Computer Science program.

  7. instead of scolarship,,apply to universities like,,,SUNY’S campuses and other value for money colleges,,,,A fact: Studying in NYU with 15000$ scholarship cost you the same as studying in University at Buffalo SUNY,,,and the latter has better reputation,,so choose wisely

  8. @all:
    dont be disheartened. its a confirmed update that even if u dont get funding for 1st semester, u will get it in 2nd semester. most do, about 90%. so peace! 🙂

    1. If I don’t get funding in 1st semester, how much money should I pay in that semester in medium ranked universities of USA?

      1. @Murad:
        depends on d university. Like UCLA charged u about 40k $ for the first year, Kansas STate univ has about 22k $, another (name slips me) has about 15k $. Check out the univ’s website. Its clearly mentioned

  9. Whether or not we like it, we need to accept reality. It is pretty to stay positive expecting to be one of the 20% but it is better to be ready to face everything when we apply. Btw, I’m giving my GRE on 28th 🙂 Wish me luckkk!! 🙂 Will post my experience a week after that.. And, thank you HSB. The blog is super good. 🙂

    1. Thank you both of you 🙂 I have one more week of practice left. I hope to better my verbal skills 🙂 Quants is manageable though. Any suggestions for better score in text completion??

  10. Congrats for the scholarship, Which universitya re u referring when u say SIUC ? how to apply for teaching assistantship in universities ?

  11. Hello HSB,

    I am surprised that you provided only partial information. While masters students get minimal consideration for university funding, they often survive well by securing on campus employment for 20 hours a week for their living. Funding for PhD students is most certain because on campus employment is discouraged due to high course load and research work plus the length of the PhD program. American masters education is indeed expensive than Indian standards. But universities vary highly in their tuition and fee structure. Ideally doing a masters in a low budget university (mostly in the Midwest) and sustaining living expenses on campus employment is better option for students coming from low income middle class families. having said that graduates from these universities find more difficulty securing a job than their peers graduated from a high budget university. At the end, this entire journey is the test of one’s perseverance.

    1. “At the end, this entire journey is the test of one’s perseverance”
      How truly said!

    2. Hi Rohan, is it tough or easy to manage campus working for 20 hours in a week in US universities. If I can manage it, will it suffice for me to pay tuition fees for 1st semester?

      1. no, it wont… No ways!!
        On campus will take care of your monthly expenditure, with a little bit of savings which by no means will amount to even one semesters tuition…
        It is manageable to work 20 hours during a Masters easily, tough when you are pursuing a PhD

        1. On campus work in the university campus or their designated off campus areas is not a problem Most of the American students do not work on campus as they could get high wages working off campus. International students usually work in every areas where US students don’t want to work or are not available. For higher jobs like Research Assitantships or omanagement jobs, the merit is open for US and intenraitonal sudents. In general masters studetns can survive comfortably wotking 20 hours a week. But they may not be able to help themselves to reduce the burden of tuition fees. Some may pay 1/3 to half of the tuition fees (in my case) but depends on individual situation.

          PhD is a full funded program and students work only towards their research area Plus routine lab work in some cases more than 20 hours unofficially (they get regular monthly salary. So hours wont matter). Most PhD students in management or non lab based sciences teach graduate and undergrad students as Teaching Assistants. The salary in RA or TA is fixed and sufficient to survive comfortably. Tuition is always paid by the department through their own funding or through grants the PhD student is working on.

          Rohan Jadhav, Milwaukee ,WI

  12. With a 1510 gre score and 113 toefl score I wish to get funding. which universities are most likely to provide funding?

      1. I took Gre before August. Now the pattern has changed a bit. I am afraid I won’t be of much help here.

          1. @Madhvi Sorry not much idea regarding Mechanical… I am looking for ECE/CE.. I have seen Uni of Florida giving AA(Achievement award) to good profile…. You will surely get it with your current GRE score….

            I am taking chances by applying to a couple of lesser ranked unis compared to my profile… Probably might get some form of aid.

          2. Madhvi: Sorry not much idea regarding Mechanical… I am looking for ECE/CE.. I have seen Uni of Florida giving AA(Achievement award) to good profile…. You will surely get it with your current GRE score….

            I am taking chances by applying to a couple of lesser ranked unis compared to my profile… Probably might get some form of aid.

    1. Funding is not related to GRE and TOEFL scores..understand that. Funding depends on your previous research work, how you interact with your profs etc.

      GRE and TOEFL scores don not get you admits, they are like cut offs which will help you past the first round of evaluations. After that it’s about your acads, research , work exp etc.

      1. If you only have a bachelors degree,I doubt they will be looking for previous research experience for MS. They may look into acad profile and sop, thats it.

        1. Your doubting is wrong! Projects matter a lot in this part of the world, no matter how insignificant they are. They want to see how you will add value to their institution. After any project experience if there is anything that gets you an assistantship would be Your undergrad GPA or your LUCK!!

          1. Project is not the same thing as research, and yes, I have done good projects during undergrads. Also, my my GPA is above 3.5 , so, its good.

          2. Madhvi: Yes, projects in India seldom has research work. But its not always the case. When u are applying to good uni’s u might have to compete against UG students who have worked on research projects. They will always get higher weightage for TA/RA…. In Indian context if we make a paper out of our project or if we could publish our work, its well and good. It will look as if it was research project and the profile will surely stand out…

        2. Most of the funding is in getting an RA(research assistant ship) where the professors definitely look for a publication or 2 in your specializing field. If you are good enough, you can work under a prof (independent study) and if he is impressed may be he will fund you from the second sem onwards.
          You will not get funding along with an admit, if you do, you probably don’t want to go to that university. Exceptions are there when you can contact a prof and ask to work with him and he may offer you an RA. But this is possible only if you have research work to show for. This is not about fee waiver or scholarships, they come to maybe 10-15% of your fee, if you manage an RA you will get stipend and you will pay in state fees.

          1. “You will not get funding along with an admit, if you do, you probably don’t want to go to that university. ”

            1)I have seen lots of good universities giving RAs, TAs and waivers along with the I 20 itself.
            2)They don’t expect someone to publish research work in undergrad study. All they look for is independent research potiential in a student and his research interests along with the acad profile.
            3)wat r u doing? Have u applied anywhere?Or r u already in US? Do reply.

          2. Forgive me if I seemed to be rude in my prev post,
            I have applied for MS in HCI to Georgia Tech, Vtech, CMU UMD and 2-3 others fall 12.
            I am talking about the really top universities, I mean you will get fee waivers from Florida , UTD , UTA etc. but do you want to go there, if you have an admit from say Georgia Tech, UPenn, Cornell etc. These universities are highly selective and don’t hand out RAs and scholarships readily. Don’t read between the lines, if you get an RA and the professor is highly regarded in that field, then even if it is a low ranked univ go there, but fee waivers and scholarships from UFL and others should not be compared with a good admit with no funding.

          3. And universities do expect research work from Undergrads, not a problem if you don’t have but if you do have a publication, it will give you a huge advantage which either the GRE or acads can’t provide. Similarly, the SOP is the main part of your application, a high GRE and acads on their own don’t guarantee admits. Again, talking about really good research oriented universities.
            Sorry to burst your bubble, but your GRE and acads are good enough to guarantee decent to good admits, but if you had research or relevant work exp then you can aim for top univs. That’s all I meant and for your info, most students from India do have research experience/

          4. I have my project report but not sure if it will count as a research publication. Have you included your research publication in the application packet? don’t some universities strictly require you to send only those materials that have been asked for like transcripts?
            I agree on the SOP part. I hope you get the admits. I amalready running late in applying for fall. I should have started earlier. I am planning to apply in Mech. eng, as well as industrial engg. Hope I finish the app process by Nov. end.Hows yr acad profile? Whats yr GRE and Toefl scores?

          5. I don’t have any research publication. Unless you have papers published in conference or journals don’t mention it, just mention about your project in SOP. I got a GRE of 800 + 600 and 108 TOEFL. Decent acads 8/10, the admits are gonna be tough to come by.
            You are good to go, just make sure you send by nov, don’t be late, applying early could be an advantage.

  13. No, I didn’t know that such data existed. No my view or outlook towards US education wont change, and I m not thinking too optimistically that I will be among 22.9% of people but I am confident enough that somehow or the other i will sail the boat across the difficulties.

    Why do I intend to take such huge amount of risk?? Because the kind of exposure Higher Education @ US offers and the amount of Research Exposure we can have if we study @US is good.
    “8 out of 10 students will not get Financial Aid from US College or University” This fact does not matter too me because i have consider another fact which tells me that research exposure for Avg students in India is 1 out 100(I might be exaggerating a bit but that’s true) . Moreover, If i won’t take risk at this age and time then when possibly will I be able to take any kind of risks?? So, I think its better to sail the ship and let the winds carry it as long as its sailing in the right direction.The duration of the sail might be more but at least I will reach the desired destination.

  14. had a whiff of it , but to see it in bold print is shocking. Dammit I’m off to Australia. Seriously. Safest now! 🙁

  15. I got admission at SIUC for spring 2012 with a Teaching assistanship position. They gave en a full tuition waiver and a monthly stipend of $745. I will be working for 10 hrs per week.

    1. Coungrats.. I am also applying to SIUC for Fall 2012 and expecting to get some form of aid.
      How was your credentials?

        1. Ravi: Any published papers/Work experience? Have you finalized SIUC ? Which all unis did you apply?

          1. @Ravi I too got admitted to SIUC for Fall 2012, status updated in ApplyYourself… But nothing about any aid is mentioned. Does that mean I did not get any aid? or does the details come only along with I20?


    2. Hi Ravi, can you please share your profile with us?? please specify your GRE, TOEFL, academic score.

    3. Hi,
      Ravi can u name some of the Universities Similar SIUC which offer Full Tution Waiver And TA,
      May i know ur profile please.

    4. Ravi Sing- What r ur credentials..? GRE, TOEFL scores, Bachelors percentage..?!!!

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