Q&A GRE 1,490, but I can’t Afford Cost of U.S. Education

This post is in response to several questions raised by one of the frequent visitors of Happy Schools Blog.

I’m sure there are many students who are facing the same situation and have similar questions like this avid reader with respect to money.

Here are some Questions and Answers:

1) I would have to show a bank statement (about 16 lakh INR). This I would have to borrow from someone.
Finally, I would be able to take about 5-6 lakh rupees with me to the US. That is the maximum I can afford.
So, is it fine for me to go to the US? or stay back, write GATE, do M.Tech in India?
I am asking these questions with the assumption that you’ve gone through my profile.

GRE Quantitative – 800, Verbal – 690, AWA – 4.0,  TOEFL – 111

With your GRE score you can definitely get admission in the U.S. with some form of aid. To get an I-20, you will have to show a bank statement that can cover at least 1 year’s expenses.

That would include tuition fees, health insurance, and cost of living. Yes, you can certainly borrow money from your relatives and get a bank statement and then apply at U.S. schools.

Almost everyone who is applying to the U.S. is in a situation like yours. If you can score 800, 690 in GRE, you can do very well at U.S. schools.

So go ahead and get started with your applications at U.S. schools. I will send you a list of schools where you can apply at.

2) If an assistantship is given by a university along with an I-20, what does it imply?
Does it mean
a) Full tuition fee waiver + assistantship like RA, TA (i.e, the on-campus job)
b) only an on-campus job (with the tuition fee of course being paid by the student)?

You will have to understand the difference between RA, TA, scholarship, in-State fees and out of State fees. I have explained about their differences and here are the links to those articles.

RA and TA will come under On-Campus jobs, but these are different from part-time jobs, where you will work for a maximum of 20 hours per week within the college campus in places like lab, library, cafe,… and it will pay around $6 to $10 per hour.

A part time job will not qualify you for in-State fees.

What is RA/TA?

Research Assistant – You will work for professors or in a lab for 20 hours in a week. The school will pay you per month from $500 to $1,500 and you will qualify for in-State fees.

At certain universities like [email protected], only a number of RA jobs qualify for in-State fees.

TA – You will assist a professor and you will be paid monthly. You will also be eligible for in-State fees.

How much are in-State Fees?

It varies among the U.S. higher education system. For example, in the University of Texas system, if you qualify for in-State fees, you will pay around 1/3rd of out-of-State fees.

But in other universities, you will not pay any fees at all (public universities). Max per semester you will pay $1,000 for health insurance and lab fees.

3) What about M. Tech in India? I mean usually the IISc, IITs, a few NITs and Central Universities are quite good as per my knowledge.
In the recently released rankings list (World’s best techno universities list), the IITs were at par with some of the good schools in the US.
In fact the least ranked IIT was placed above University of Southern California. What’s your take on this?
If I get admission in a good IIT or a NIT for M.Tech and an admit from a university in the US (let me say Auburn for e.g., since I can afford only univs that offer me reasonable funding), what would be your advice?

I’ve been getting similar questions ever since I have started writing this blog. However, I had never answered or had written any article about it.

You can get admit at USC without GRE scores. Think about the competition. How many students compete to get into IIT, NIT,…and that’s a very long list of top schools.

However, there are so many good schools in the U.S. which are equivalent to schools in India. In fact, you don’t need to study at the top schools to get a good job.

All professors are involved in active research. With your GRE score, you can apply at schools that has the minimum GRE score requirements of 1,100 and you have a good chance to get admissions with aid.

Instead of applying at schools that require 1,300 as a minimum, you might get little or less exposure than what you might get from top schools. However, it’s definitely more than what you might get by studying at NIT.

Job After M.S.

But the question you will need to ask is – How much will I get paid after I finish my M.S., and Can I get jobs after studying in low profile schools than in the top 10 to top 20 schools.

In the U.S., if you have talent, you don’t need to be in top schools to grow in life and express your potentials.

Even among low-profile, small schools, professors will help you to get to the top. All students will be duly recognized for their talents and efforts.

Two of my roommates, from my master’s degree from the University of Texas at Arlington, are currently working at Microsoft but they didn’t attend any top school. UTA has around a 63 ranking among CS programs.

Another friend of mine who studied at the Florida Institute of Technology was able to complete an internship at Google.

So the simple point I’m driving at is that, if you have talent and you put considerable effort, you can shine here without attending the top U.S. schools.

My Suggestion

Apply at 5 to 7 schools that have minimum GRE requirements of 1,100 to 1,150. You will likely get admission with some form of scholarship. Get a student loan for 20 lakhs.

If you have scholarship, you don’t need to worry much about your bank balance. With your good profile, getting a visa will also not be difficult. I can see a bright future for you.

So what are you still waiting for? Apply now!

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  1. schools that have minimum GRE requirements of 1100 to 1150. can you list a few names..
    is there any integrated course for ms and phd. ??

  2. I have scored very low on GRE 690 all together is there any chance that I may get admit in an US universities?

  3. Sir,i m 4th B.Tech student and i have an aggreagate of 73%.Now i am planning to do masters in us.I got 1100 score.Is there any chance for me to get an opportunity in a better university with 1 year work experience rather than applying now.

  4. Hellow there,
    Myself Chinky Patel. I have done M.Sc. in biotechnology from India. I want to know, Can I go for ph.D directly or havt to go through MS first ? Can you please name the universities for MS in biotechnology where there are more chances to get financial aid ? I am going to take GRE next month and targeting to get 1200-1300. And yeah IELTS score is valid for US inversities ?

  5. @Rajveer Singh Diddan: With 1 year MBA degree you will not gain much. 4 of my classmates did MBA in U.K and there came back to India. U.S. is the place to study. Fees varies between universities, but you have to think, why 80,000 students come to U.S. fom India every year and how many come back to India with reason – I couldnt find job in U.S.

  6. I scored 1100 in GRE. I want to do an Ms in Automotive. Iam a B.E.Mechanical graduate with 65% marks from Nagpur University. I havent applied to any Universities firstly because I have heard that it is expensive in the U.S, the current recession is another reason and the Automotive industry in the U.S is in a decline. Rather I have applied to the U.K for an MBA which i actually dont want to go for. Should i prepare again for the GRE or should i go for an MBA in the U.K. Could you also give me an idea of the fees for an Ms in Automotive in the U.S.

  7. I have got nearly same profile as Raghu (my GRE score is 1510, 710V 800Q). I was perplexed over the thing that do I have to give the bank certificate of funds while applying? or can i send it later when the university gives me admit and then I apply for a education loan, and give them the bank certificate, in lieu of which universities send me an I-20 ?

    Please help.

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