Ten U.S. Colleges that aid Foreign Students

By Ilana Kowarski

Students from outside the U.S. who would like to pursue a bachelor’s degree here should understand that the cost of their education is likely to be higher than what they might pay if they studied in their home country.

International students are usually ineligible for federal financial aid from the U.S. government. So, unlike domestic college hopefuls seeking assistance, undergraduate applicants from abroad don’t usually fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, commonly known as the FAFSA, unless they have permanent resident status.

However, some American colleges and universities provide significant need-based or merit-based institutional scholarships to students from foreign countries. Students seeking this form of assistance will often fill out the College Board’s College Scholarship Service Profile and may also submit an International Student Financial Aid Application.

International students may also qualify for external college scholarships given by corporations or nonprofit organizations.

Among the 887 undergraduate institutions that reported in an annual U.S News survey how much financial aid they gave to a typical international student during the 2021-2022 school year, the average amount was roughly $22,000. Across the 10 schools where typical financial aid awards for international students were highest, the average amount of scholarship money was almost $74,000.

All of these 10 schools are on the East Coast except Stanford University in California. All 10 schools are expensive private schools, with sticker price tuition and fees for the 2022-2023 school year topping $56,000.

When assessing these private schools’ financial aid packages, it’s important for international students to remember that private schools usually charge higher rates than public schools in the U.S.

Keep in mind that the overall cost of attendance at undergrad institutions goes beyond tuition and fees, also including the price of essentials such as housing, food, school books and supplies, transportation, and miscellaneous personal expenses. A full-ride college scholarship, which some international students receive, pays for all of this.

Wellesley College, a private liberal arts school in Massachusetts, awarded the largest amount of financial aid for a typical international student – more than $78,400.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, among the 10 colleges that had international students and provided the smallest amount of aid to them, the average amount of annual aid was about $1,150. All 10 of these colleges were public schools. Because public schools rely at least partly on tax revenue, they usually prefer to admit and award aid to students whose legal residence is nearby, putting international applicants at a disadvantage when competing for financial aid.

The survey was conducted in more than 1,850 colleges and universities for undergraduate programs. Schools self-reported myriad data regarding their academic programs and the makeup of their student body, among other areas, making the data the most accurate and detailed collection of college facts and figures of its kind.

Table: List of the 10 U.S. undergraduate institutions where the average amount of financial aid for citizens of other countries was highest

School (State) Number of International Students aided during 2021-22 Average Aid to Undergraduates in 2021-22
Wellesley College (MA) 82




Haverford College (PA) 55




Washington and Lee University (VA) 84 $75,605


Wesleyan University (CT) 92 $75,536
Dartmouth College (NH) 327




Duke University (NC) 174




Stanford University (CA) 245




Amherst College (MA) 160




Vassar College (NY) 67




Barnard College (NY) 35




(Courtesy: US News)

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