Preamble (Introduction)

In the modern academic environment, the US college application process has become lengthy and competitive. Waiting until 12th grade to prepare for college is no longer a realistic option as schools that were once accessible to the average student have become selective; having a perfect report card is no longer enough to guarantee admittance to the best colleges. Navigating admissions forms, entrance exams and personal essays can be overwhelming, especially for a high school junior who’s tackling a full raft of classes, extracurricular activities and volunteer obligations. Students facing the daunting battle of college admissions usually don’t face this challenge alone; college admissions counselors help guide students through the process, simplifying and streamlining the intimidating college application.However, the knowledge on financial aspects involved in paying for college wisely is NOT the college academic counselor’s forte.

Paying for U.S. College Education

According to data submitted to U.S. News by 1,093 ranked schools, only 15% of students received merit aid in fall 2018 on average. All Ivy League schools, as well as several other very selective schools like Stanford, MIT and Caltech, do not give any academic merit scholarships. No matter if you discovered a cure, created the world’s greatest invention, won an Academy Award or an Olympic gold medal,” says Mandee Heller Adler, founder and president of International College Counselors.
For most students and their families, the cost of paying for a U.S. undergraduate education degree is a key factor in the college admissions process. That’s where we at Jupiter Education Consultants come in. We advise students and their families to not make the mistake of coming up with the college list without considering the cost of attendance (CoA) or applying for college admission first, and then figuring out how to pay for it! To avoid the disappointment of gaining admission but not having enough funding, include the cost of college as an additional dimension besides college’s academic stature, size of college, student to faculty ratio etc. An understanding of the finances required for applying for admission, as well as for every year of study is essential. As the cost of higher education increases everywhere, it is important for parents and students to know what costs to expect and to develop a plan to cover these. Finding funding for undergraduate study in the U.S. is a challenge for both American and international students alike. The key is starting early choosing universities appropriately and putting in the necessary time and effort to seek out and apply for scholarships. Also keep in mind, International students will need to demonstrate access to funding for the first year of study in order to apply for a visa.
Tuition and fees rates vary significantly from university to university. The cost of living can vary based on location. Annual undergraduate tuition costs at U.S. schools range from $5,000 to $50,000. Annual living expenses depend on local conditions and range from $10,000 to $25,000.
Thanks But No Thanks: While friends, family and coworkers have good intentions, they are usually the worst source of financial aid advice. Your planning needs to be based on your family’s unique situation only!
Generally speaking, there are four types of funding for study in the U.S:
  • Personal/family savings – Even if you receive a scholarship from a U.S. university, you may still have to pay for your visa or airfare (although a few colleges provide yearly travel home allowance).
  • Loans from a U.S. or Indian lender
  • Scholarships from U.S. universities
  • Scholarships from external funding bodies (i.e. Tata Group, Intel, Cognizant etc)
  • Sports scholarships
The good news is that every year students (both domestic and international) receive significant amounts of financial assistance toward their studies in the U.S. According to the most recent IIE’s Open Doors Report, there are 800,000+ international students in the U.S. including nearly 100,000 Indian students. Many of these students have benefited from the available financial assistance opportunities.
If college affordability and maximizing financial aid is a key consideration for undergraduate college / university selections, you may want to talk to us!

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