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Foreign Student Series: Adding Up the Costs of Study in the US

Students must show they can pay for each year of classes. Transcript of radio broadcast:

This is the VOA Special English Education Report.

This week in our Foreign Student Series: the cost of higher education in the United States.

Students who want to attend an American college or university must explain how they will pay for their education. They have to show that they will be able to pay for each year of study.

Students have to consider not only the tuition, the cost of classes, but also meals and a place to live, known as room-and-board. They also need money for books and supplies. And they need money to spend for social activities and other things.

Educational advisers say foreign students should keep enough money in a local bank to pay for at least two months of spending.

So how much will a year at an American school cost? Generally speaking, the answer is: a lot.

A leading state university in the Pacific Northwest will serve as our example. The University of Washington says foreign students are paying more than thirty-six thousand dollars this year.

This major research university currently has two thousand six hundred foreign students from more than one hundred countries. There are many schools that cost less, but also others that cost more.

Its Web site says the University of Washington does not offer financial assistance to international students. This is generally true of American schools, especially at the undergraduate level.

The international application for the university includes a Statement of Financial Responsibility that must be signed. Students must also provide a bank letter or statement from within the past six months. And they have to name anyone who will help with payments. These people must send proof from a bank to show that they have the money.

Your government or employer may be able to help you pay all or some college costs. A good idea is to ask at least eighteen months before you want to start classes in the United States.

Our Foreign Student Series, including links to Web sites discussed in our reports, can be found at To learn more about higher education in America, the State Department has a special Web site: educationusa dot state dot g-o-v.

Next time we will discuss another cost that should be considered: health insurance. Our e-mail address is

And that's the VOA Special English Education Report, written by Nancy Steinbach. I'm Barbara Klein.