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EDUCATION REPORT - Foreign Student Series: Paying for School in the US

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This is the VOA Special English Education Report.

Governments are not the only ones having to re-examine their budgets. The financial crisis has many families concerned about how they will pay for college. This week in our Foreign Student Series, we discuss costs for higher education for international students in the United States.

Prices differ from school to school, but public colleges and universities usually cost less than private ones.

A big state university in the western United States will serve as our example. The University of Colorado at Boulder has one thousand two hundred international students from more than eighty countries.

Tina Tan is the director of international student and scholar services. She says international students are paying a total of forty thousand two hundred dollars for this academic year. The university estimates that the cost for next year will increase by four hundred dollars.

The university does not offer financial aid to international students. This is generally true of American schools, especially at the undergraduate level. Federal and state financial aid can only go to American citizens.

The University of Colorado does, however, offer some help for international students. For example, it guarantees them the same tuition rate for all four years of undergraduate study. And it offers four scholarships for international students with special skills or talents.

Tina Tan says the federal government requires international students to show on their applications how they will pay for their first year of school. This evidence is a signed statement from whoever is paying for it, and confirmation from a bank or lawyer.

Some colleges might require international students to show that they can pay for all four years. But the University of Colorado requires only evidence of financial support for the first year.

Educational advisers say foreign students should keep enough money in a local bank to pay for at least two months of spending. Students have to consider not just tuition but also housing, meals, books and other costs including social activities.

Immigration rules restrict employment for international students in the United States. So what kinds of jobs are they permitted to have? That will be our subject next week.

And that's the VOA Special English Education Report, written by Nancy Steinbach. Transcripts and MP3s of the earlier reports in our Foreign Students Series are at www.unsv.com.

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