The View From Campus: Tips for Funding a U.S. Degree
We spoke to William Elliott, Assistant Dean of Graduate & International Admissions at EIU about financing a U.S degree.
Describe your institution in 5 words?
Nationally ranked comprehensive Midwestern university
What is your institution best known for overseas?
EIU is known primarily for its programs in Technology, Economics and Business Administration
What are the top 5 countries represented at your institution after the U.S.?
India, Saudi Arabia, Nepal, South Korea and Nigeria. International enrollment is 373 out of 7990 total enrollment.
How does your institution use an IELTS result in the admissions process?
We use IELTS as a part of our suite of language proficiency tests accepted to gauge a non-native speaker’s mastery of English language. It’s our belief that we should be as flexible as possible in acceptance of IELTS and other testing tools so as to allow our students more flexibility in their choice of use and availability.
Tips for Funding a U.S. Higher Education
- What are the best sources of funding for international students coming to the U.S.?
Most institutions will offer scholarships and graduate assistantships based on a combination of GPA (grade point average), financial need, and/or other factors.
Graduate assistantships can be offered in every graduate program as well as non-academic units. Assistantships provide a monthly stipend in exchange for duties performed in research, teaching and service, as well as a tuition waiver scholarship.
- How should prospective international undergraduate students look at the price of a U.S. higher education?
A student should understand that due to the strong accreditation system in the US, price is not a good indicator as to the quality of education they will receive. It’s possible for a student to be price-conscious and still earn a degree that will not only help them succeed in their career, but also be the equivalent of a higher priced, more “prestigious” university (as long as their school is equally accredited).
- For postgraduate students, what is the best advice for finding institutional aid?
My best advice would be to be as interactive with the graduate faculty as possible via whatever technological means available. A big part of successful graduate education is to search for a program that is a good academic fit for both student and their faculty.
- Talk about the role of work in funding an international students’ education in the U.S.?
Students must have their own means of outside funding and/or scholarship and monetary awards and not plan to support themselves with on-campus employment. The best that one might hope for might be to recoup some money from OPT (Optional Practical Training) employment after graduation, but that is not guaranteed.
- Are there funding sources available for students after their first year of studies, in case they don’t receive any institutional support initially?
In some cases there might be departmental awards or scholarships that come available once a student has proven their academic talent. Again, these should serve more as an unexpected reward for great academic performance, and not as a hopeful source of base funding.
We’ll have more interviews with university faculty members in the campus spotlight, so stay tuned.