Financial constraints usually preclude students from pursuing higher education in the United States or in any other country for that matter. It affects their ability in selecting the school and consequently the respective state. Therefore, it is imperative to start financial planning for your graduate studies as early as possible. If you have decided to study in the USA, you should immediately begin a thorough research of university tuition fees, living expenses, and relevant funding opportunities at home and abroad. Refer to the information listed on the university websites – costs vary across the universities and across the graduate programs. Moreover, costs may also vary for international students. Don’t hesitate to contact the funding office at the university to clarify any confusion or to elicit more details.
The next step in the process is to assess personal funds. Have you been saving your earnings? Do you have ample family income to support your education? Can you make use of your family assets? These are some of the questions you should begin seeking answers to once you start financial planning for graduate studies. If you have sufficient personal resources, then you may require little or no financial assistance from universities or other external sources. However, if you do require financial assistance, then only the difference between what you and your family can afford and the actual cost of studying would be covered by the financial aid. USA Universities assess your financial situation before offering any financial assistance. Most scholarship or financial aid awards may only cover a part of your expenses, so you need to have resources to help you cover the remaining expenses.
To reduce your educational costs, the following factors should be considered:
- Don’t just limit yourself to private universities. Private universities in the US are much more expensive than public universities. Expand your scope by applying to several of both private as well as public universities
- Remote areas in the US, such as the Midwest or the southwest do not only have lower costs of living but are also home to numerous low-cost and decent universities.
- Most universities – especially for Ph.D. programs – offer on-campus jobs such as fellowships, graduate teaching or research assistantships, and administrative assistantships. Contact the admissions and funding offices to explore whether your tuition fee can be waived in exchange for such jobs.
- Faculty members play a significant role in selecting students for grants and funding in their department. Therefore, before you submit your application make sure you contact professors in your department of interest.
- Please note that international students are not eligible for federal loans and scholarships. Apart from the options discussed above, before you submit your application, search for external sources of scholarships, and identify universities with financial aid in your field of study.
- Never leave for tomorrow what can be done today. Always plan well ahead – this can not be stressed enough. The earlier you begin planning, the better your chances of making wise decisions would be.
The mentors at Scholar Den are always available for further assistance. Feel free to reach out to them if you require guidance customized to your case.
Cost of Application Process USA
Optimizing your finances is an important part of your application process.
- GRE registration = $205 + (4 free score reports can be sent only on test day)
- TOEFL registration = $180 + (4 free score reports can be scheduled to send only before test day)
- GRE additional score report fee = $27 each University wants you to send score reports directly from ETS. Some universities in the US may relieve you from sending official GRE score reports but they will surely ask for them after admission. You have to ask the admissions department/coordinator if you can send score reports after the admission decision. You will have to upload a soft copy of your score report in that case.
- TOEFL additional score report fee = $19 each University wants you to send score reports directly from ETS. Some universities in the US may relieve you from sending official TOEFL score reports but they will surely ask for them after admission. You have to ask the admissions department/coordinator if you can send score reports later. You will have to upload a soft copy of your score report in that case.
- Application fee for university = ranges from 30 , very very few universities have no application fee.
- Sending your transcripts to universities where you are applying –Universities will ask you to send photocopies of transcripts and degrees directly from your controller/registrar of past/current institutions. Attestation from them may cost from $1 to $5 per transcript/degree page (depends on what your university charges for it). You will request your controller/registrar to attest photocopies of your transcripts and/or degrees seal them in an envelope and stamp the envelope. Some universities in the US may relieve you from this process and they may ask for official transcripts after admission. You have to ask the admissions department/coordinator about this if you can send transcripts later.
- Sending your supporting materials to the university – put all transcripts and required materials in one envelope and send via DHL.
How much it cost in applying to 4 USA Universities?
Now if you want to apply to 4 universities and let’s assume each university demands everything (score reports, transcripts), the estimated cost of your application will be:
Test Cost = GRE + TOEFL = $205 + $180 = $385
4 Score reports of GRE + 4 Score reports of TOEFL can be sent to universities for FREE.
4 Score Reports GRE + TOEFL = $0
Application fee for 4 universities = 4 x $90 = $360 for all universities)
Transcripts + Degree attestation cost for each university = $5
Transcripts + Degree attestation cost for 4 universities = 4 x $5 = $20
TOTAL COST FOR FOUR UNIVERSITIES = 385+ 360+ +40
The above estimate is a worst-case estimate, as I have already said, some universities might relieve you from sending score reports and transcripts at the time of application. They may accept soft copies. Not all USA universities have an application fee of $90. This post aims to give you an idea of the application cost.
- You can call graduate coordination/admission cell-free of cost via Google Meet!! Always call them for getting information! Email takes more time and they may give some extra info on phone.
- Ideal university selection will save you the cost. Choose universities very wisely.