STEP 3: Finance Your Studies

Over 650 Romanian students are currently enrolled on undergraduate programs in the United States and optional practical training upon completion of their undergraduate education. Many of them have access to full – as high as $75,000/year – or partial financial aid from their colleges and universities.

Out of the 4,900+ accredited colleges, universities, and institutes in the USA, a significant number can offer massive financial aid to international students. Usually, the financial aid package is commensurate to the merit demonstrated by the applicant in the admissions process and may include scholarships, campus employment, and possibly a loan.

Here are the main types of financial aid you should look for when checking a university’s funding opportunities for international students:

Merit scholarships are offered based on outstanding academic achievements, special talents, etc., no matter your family’s financial situation. Examples include Presidential or Dean’s scholarships. Depending on the financial aid policy at the universities you are applying to, you will either be automatically considered for a merit scholarship or apply for one separately.

Need scholarships are granted based on your family’s demonstrated need. You’ll fill out a financial aid application with information on your family’s financial circumstances and your parents’ income statements for the last one or two years or other financial documentation, as required.

For need-blind scholarships, the university doesn’t factor in an applicant’s financial status when deciding on admissions. Only a limited number of schools have this financial aid policy. Competition for financial aid is intense, but Romanian students, with EDMERICA support, have been able to attract over $1 million in financial aid every year. Together, we can do it!

Are you particularly skilled in a sport? A sports scholarship may be the answer for you. Talented athletes may play for the college team as a means of paying for their education. The applicants to sports scholarships must still meet the university admissions requirements and then continue to get satisfactory grades in order to receive and maintain their scholarship. Sports scholarship recipients may specialize in whatever major/minor they are interested in, just like any other student in the USA.

Campus jobs are often part of the financial aid package at U.S. universities. You may work part-time (up to 20 hours/week) when school is in session and 40 hours/week during vacations. A campus job will usually earn you $2,500-3,000 per year. This amount is good pocket money and allows you to pay for some personal expenses like books and clothing. Campus employment won’t cover your major expenses, such as tuition or room and board.

Many students will hold one or more campus jobs in the university bookstore, library, swimming pool, cafeteria, or administrative offices. Other students get jobs as research assistants working with their professors or become tutors in the writing, math, and computer centers on campus which offer free support to students. The support is free, but the tutors get paid around $10/hour.

Study loans may also be an option, especially if combined with other sources of financial aid. The terms are usually very attractive, with low interest rates. Some U.S. schools offer international students loans that don’t require a U.S. co-signer.

Most U.S. universities will offer financial aid packages combining a number of the options above, depending on the aid options available. With EDMERICA guidance, Romanian students in the USA have an impressive track record of financial aid success – you, too, may follow in their footsteps!