How can I apply for financial aid for MS abroad?
An education in the US can be prohibitively expensive. Apart from the tuition fees, which alone run into thousands of dollars, there are also costs that involve lodging and boarding. These costs can be quite demoralizing for a strictly budget student. Most students are reliant on parental savings, student loans, and in some rare cases, sponsorships. This investment can be quite considerable and therefore we need to think in terms of cutting our costs.
Thankfully, studying in the US provides a student with many opportunities to earn money while they continue with their studies. These opportunities can lead to substantial reductions in one’s total expenditure. One can do an internship, which many Indian students do, or make significant on-campus contributions like taking up Graduate Student Assistantships, Research Assistantships and Teaching Assistantships. We have briefly described these opportunities below:
- Graduate Assistantships is defined as an arrangement in which financial support is given to a student who provides assistance that requires 15 to 20 hours a week. Graduate assistants generally receive partial or full tuition waiver and a stipend.
- Research Assistantship is defined as an arrangement in which financial support is given to a student who performs research, 15 to 20 hours per week, that is not directly thesis-related. RAs are awarded partial or full tuition waiver. The amount of assistantships is directly co-related to the level of funding the department receives for research.
- Teaching Assistantship is defined as an arrangement in which financial support is given to a student who provides support of 15 to 20 hours per week in the teaching of a course. The assignment is usually in the student’s major field or a closely related one. TAs is awarded either stipend or a tuition credit which is dependent on a case-case basis.
These placements are only available to meritorious students who display an aptitude for their respective discipline. An RA or a TA reward can lead to a substantial reduction in student fees, and in some cases, might be entirely written off. Students who are hoping for a TA or an RA position should approach their respective departments and complete the required formalities. Most of the awards are made only after the faculty assessments and advice. It is a strict process and many of the students, who hope to make the grade, may not be able to do so, as the positions are few in comparison to the demand.
While the above-mentioned opportunities are difficult to come by, most of the schools in the US provide a facility known as Work-Study, which is part of the Federal Student Financial Assistance Program. Under this arrangement, part-time employment is provided to students who need income in meeting up with their educational costs. The program encourages working on campus and other work related to the student’s course of study. The wages offered are equal to the federal minimum wage, but they can be higher depending on the work and the skills that are required. There are plenty of jobs available under this program and the earnings from the same can reimburse approximately 50% to 70% of your living costs.