Filling Your Foreign Student Financial Aid

Filling Your Foreign Student Financial Aid

Written by Overseas Education Consultant and Study Abroad Career Counsellor in Mumbai, Karan Gupta


I am an undergraduate student and am applying for financial aid to US universities. Many universities have sent me a financial aid form. How do I fill this form and what documents do I have to send for obtaining financial aid?


Obtaining financial aid to study as an undergraduate student (after the 12th grade) in theUS is not that difficult. You just have to make sure that you apply to the ‘right’ universities and fill the required forms correctly. Most private liberal art colleges in theUS provide need based financial aid to international students. State funded public universities will not accept financial aid forms and international students must show that they have the necessary funds to pay for their entire cost of education.


The Foreign Student Financial Aid form (FSFA) is the most commonly used form by privateUSuniversities. Offered by the CollegeBoard, this form can be obtained from the college that you plan to apply to. Universities will provide financial aid based on this form and hence it is imperative that you fill in this form correctly.


The process of deciding how much financial aid to award to a particular student is very simple. Through the information you provide on the form, the college simply calculates your income and your family expenses. They then look at your assets and other savings from which you can contribute for your education. Adding the surplus of your income less expense along with your savings, will help the colleges decide on how much financial aid to give to you.


You must provide bank statements or income tax returns as supporting documents along with your financial aid application. Make sure that you check the values you have stated carefully and that all the information you have provided is coherent.


How to fill the FSFA


The first section of this form asks you for personal information including your address, date of birth and so on. You are also asked about the visa you will be applying for. Most international students apply for the F-1 student visa.


The second section of the form asks you about your family, your parents, and the educational expenses that your family has. For instance, if you have a sibling in college for whom your parents are paying Rs.4000 per annum, you would list that expense here. Keep in mind that all amounts are required to be converted to US dollars and then reported on the form.


The third section of the form asks you to state your family income from all sources. So you would state your family income from sources such as – your father or mother’s work, interest or dividends, rent income and so on. The next section asks you to list your assets including the house you stay in. You will have to write the value of the house when your family purchased the house and the current value today. You will have to list all the assets of your family including bonds, stocks, savings and jewelry.


The fifth section asks you to list all your family expenses. Please make sure that you carefully fill in all the expenses that your family incurs. For instance if you have stated that you own an automobile, then make sure that you add expenses for automobile maintenance. Similarly, if you have stated that your family employs other people, make sure you add an expense for domestic help.


The sixth section asks you to state the amount you and your family can contribute towards your educational expenses. You can state support from family, personal savings, relatives, income from on-campus work and so on. The next section is dedicated to describing any circumstances that the college should know of before deciding your financial aid package. You can discuss health related expenses, house renovation expenses and other factors that will affect your ability to contribute to your education.


The last section asks you to certify all the information that you have stated. Your family and you have to sign the form. Keep in mind, that if you give any false information in this form, your financial aid application and your application for admission will be rejected. The university may also take legal action against you.


Karan Gupta is the leading international education and career consultant in Mumbai, India. Since 1999, he has given career counselling and has helped thousands of students with study abroad and get admission and visas to universities and colleges in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, Singapore and EU and also helps them get scholarships, loans and financial aid. In addition to aptitude tests and career counselling, his firm also provides training and coaching for the GMAT, GRE, SAT, ACT, TOEFL, IELTS, and PTE exams. Karan Gupta is the best study abroad career counsellor, consultant and career guidance expert in Mumbai.

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