A Look at International Financial Aid for 2014

Tuition, fees, room and boardWith the start of the new year, you may be wondering what’s in stored for us when it comes to international financial aid for 2014. We asked ourselves the same question.

Tuition

Taking a look back at 2013 and beyond, one thing is certain – tuition is still on the rise. Take a look at the graph, it illustrates that both public and private colleges/universities are experiencing rising tuition, fees, and living expenses. Every year, school is getting more and more expensive, especially for international students who are paying most of their expenses out of pocket (64% according to the Open Doors – see our blog post for more). In 2014, we expect that this trend to continue on this trajectory causing students to have an even greater reliance on financial aid.

The Great Recession

It’s been a hard few years for people around the world. With the economic crisis, bubbles bursting, and sluggish growth, it has affected the ability to afford and attain an international education. The good news, though, is that it looks like we’re recovering, albeit slowly. With recovery – and the overwhelming desire to get back to things as usual – we expect that more students will find that their economic climate is stabilizing and thus they may have a greater ability to find the funds to go abroad.

International Scholarships

International scholarships come in many forms. International students can get them from their home government, school, host government, or a private institution. Here are two of the primary scholarships changes we are seeing:

Home Country Scholarships
Looking at the data that came out in 2013, there was an overwhelming growth of home country government scholarships that into this year show no signs of easing. This is great news for US colleges and universities – not to mention schools in the UK, Canada and Australia – looking to expand and recruitment more international students. Many of these scholarships are full rides that a US student could only dream of obtaining. With Kuwait, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Brazil – just to name a few – we can expect that other countries will follow this path as a means to drive growth with newly gained expertise learned abroad.

Colleges and University Scholarships
At the same time, many US colleges and universities, mainly public institutions, are fighting to deal with budget cuts and may not have the ability to offer scholarships through normal channels as they had once done in the past. A good number of scholarships will continue to be offered through athletic departments and specific on-campus departments for those select candidates that sick out above the rest. We also expect that a good number of scholarship recipients will be in the STEM fields, a high demand industry with not enough applicants.

International Student Loans

Over the last year or so, lenders have been changing the way they do things – and are now focusing on doing a better job of getting students the funds they need for their entire academic year. Previously, there were two peaks for student loans; there was high demand between June and September and a mini-peak in December-January. Many times, students would need to apply for a second loan for the Spring semester. This setup is changing fast and we are starting to see that this year. Instead of focusing on December-January, lenders are focusing on offering international student loans between June and September as they are doing a better job of getting the funds students need for the year.

Tell us what you think about international financial aid for 2014. Are you seeing or do you anticipate any changes when it comes to funding for international students? Leave us a comment, or let us know through Facebook, Twitter, or Google+. We look forward to another year together!

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