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  Script from the MP3 Audio File: Financial Aid / Scholarships in the USA

It had to be you. The classic tune has become a theme song for the U.S. Journal of Academics, online at usjournal.com. That's u-s-j-o-u-r-n-a-l.com.

It had to be you. Yes, you: Globally-minded students who are determined to study in the United States. We invite you to join us.

This is Cheryl of usjournal.com. We correspond with students daily about fulfilling their dreams to study at fully-accredited U.S. universities, colleges, English language programs, and more.

(Student:) Yes, I have a dream, too. But the dream to study in the States is very expensive.

It is quite expensive, but it's well worth your investment. Employers around the world recognize the value of a U.S. degree.

(Student:) So, how expensive is it to study in the USA? I don't know if I can afford it.

Costs range from about US$15,000 to US$40,000 per year for tuition, fees, accommodations, books, health insurance, and living costs.

(Student:) I am a very good student. I hope that a U.S. university or college will offer me a scholarship.

A growing number of U.S. universities are offering some assistance, but only about 10 percent of all U.S. campuses currently offer financial aid to international students - and those scholarships are very competitive. Most students rely on personal funds - or money from their family - for their academic courses in the States. At usjournal.com - that's u-s-j-o-u-r-n-a-l.com - we list several campuses on our Financial Aid Page that DO offer partial scholarships to international students.

(Student:) Maybe I can work while I study, so I can re-pay the tuition each week.

That's not possible under our current system. International students must prove one year of financial support, and project financial support for the rest of your education. U.S. law requires that the university or college (where you would like to enroll) has proof of your financial support before they can issue the I-20 Certificate of Eligibility, with which you apply for the student visa. You must also prove your financial support to the U.S. Consulate when applying for the student visa.

(Student:) How do I prove my financial support?

That's typically done with certified bank statements, showing the amount of tuition and other expenses that you can expect to pay in the States during your period of study. Remember, you must prove this financial support before U.S. officials grant permission for you to study in the USA.

(Student:) Why does U.S. law limit the number of hours an international student can work while studying in the USA?

Under some circumstances, students may work a maximum of 10 hours per week. It's always a good idea to check with your International Student Advisor about specific requirements pertaining your situation. It's important to remember that U.S. academic curriculum is generally quite challenging, and you need time to maintain your grades. Some of your time and energy will also be spent on cultural adjustments.

(Student:) Why don't U.S. universities offer more scholarships to international students?

As you know, the United States is very generous with financial aid to many countries for humanitarian projects. It's important to remember that studying in the USA is a real privilege, and as such, it costs money. Consider it an investment in your future.

(Student:) How can I minimize my expenses?

Check out our Financial Aid page at usjournal.com (that's u-s-j-o-u-r-n-a-l.com). You may also want to re-consider your academic goals, so they coordinate better with your limited financial resources. For example, you may explore shorter-term options, such as Certificate Programs, Summer Programs, Internships, or Distance Learning / Online Degrees.

(Student:) Are there any other less expensive options?

Many community colleges in the United States feature excellent programs that allow students to earn academic credit for the first two years of a Bachelor's Degree, which typically takes four years to complete. The two-year degree is often referred to as an Associates Degree.

Community colleges are often much less expensive than full four-year colleges or universities, because community colleges provide a different kind of learning environment. For example, only a few community colleges in the States offer on-campus housing. Other differences vary by campus.

There are more than 1,100 community colleges in the United States, enrolling more than 11 million students. Approximately 68,000 of those students at community colleges are international students, representing about 12 percent of all international students in the United States.

As always, it's important to explore your options based on your own personal preferences - at sites like usjournal.com.

Financing a U.S. post-secondary education is not easy, but there are many resources to assist you; please plan to take time and explore all of your options, and learn what program is most appropriate for you.

Again, for the latest information, go to usjournal.com. We invite you to download, listen to, and forward our series of MP3 audio files to friends and relatives who are also interested in studying in the USA. Our last audio file dealt with student visa issues. Let us know if you have any ideas for our next audio file. Write to mp3@usjournal.com. We'd like to help you fulfill your dream of studying in the USA.

Special thanks to Eugenio Martin del Campo, and usjournal.com: The U.S. Journal of Academics.