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Foreign Student Series: Financial Aid

Offerings may be limited, but more aid is available for international graduate students than for undergraduates in the U.S. Part 20 of our series. Transcript of radio broadcast:

This is the VOA Special English Education Report.

We talked last week about employment rules for international students in the United States. Now we move to financial aid, which is often limited for international students.

American schools provided aid to almost half of foreign graduate students during the last academic year, but only ten percent of undergraduates.

In all, more than sixty percent of international students paid for their education mainly with personal or family money. Twenty-six percent were supported by their American college or university.

Foreign students represent a valuable resource, especially when public colleges and universities face budget cuts by states. Foreign students pay the higher prices charged for students from out of state. Not only that, they can help schools increase their ethnic diversity.

Some students are supported by their home university or government. A small number receive support from the United States government. Employers, private sponsors and international organizations also help some students pay for school.

A list of American colleges and universities that offer financial aid to foreign students can be found at -- e-d-u-p-a-s-s dot o-r-g. The Web site also provides information and advice on scholarship programs. Never trust a program that charges for application forms.

Another helpful site about American higher education and financial aid is

About half of international students are in graduate school. The Institute of International Education in New York says thirty-one percent during the last academic year were undergraduates. The others were studying English or in training program.

In all, the United States has around eighteen million students in higher education. Last year, more than six hundred twenty thousand, or three and a half percent, were international students.

The United States, though, has the largest "market share," about twenty percent of all the international students in the world. But even as more and more students come to the United States, more and more are also going to other countries. So experts say the American share is likely to go down in the future.

The nearest competitor is Britain, with thirteen percent at last report. Other top countries for international students include France, Germany, Australia, China, Canada and Japan.

And that's the VOA Special English Education Report, written by Nancy Steinbach. Our Foreign Student Series is online at I'm Steve Ember.