Many colleges and universities in the US have been known for their generous merit scholarships and financial aid policies. International students from developing countries have historically benefited from these awards. A few colleges like the University of Virginia at Charlottesville (www.uva.edu) and Washington University at St. Louis (www.wustl.edu) announce scholarship programmes that students can look out for. Wash U’s Danforth scholars programme is one such example where counsellors from high school and alumni are required to nominate students who they think are worthy of this award. University of Virginia like a few other public universities runs honours programmes and awards scholarship money to internationals.
Typically, most private nationally ranked universities and many liberal arts and science colleges offer financial aid to international applicants. Under the need blind policy, a college or university will admit students regardless of their ability to pay, and for any student who cannot afford the price tag, the university awards scholarships and other institutional aid to make up the difference.
Harvard (www.harvard. edu), Princeton (www.princeton.edu), Yale (www.yale.edu) and Dartmouth (www.dartmouth.edu) are the four Ivy League schools that are need blind. The need-aware institutions (most private colleges fall in this category) have a limited budget for international student financing and are highly-selective — given the fact that they have to distribute the money among students from as many countries as possible.
I interviewed two parents of current college students and got their inputs on the scholarships. Monisha Ajmera, mother of Param, who is a freshman at Denison University, Ohio (www.denison.edu) explained the process in detail. Says Ajmera “When searching schools, Param had zeroed in on liberal arts colleges that were all very expensive. The cost of education of over $45000 per annum was way beyond what we had budgeted for his college education. We tried convincing him to apply to relatively inexpensive public universities and even coaxed him to look at colleges in Canada and Singapore. When all our efforts failed to convince him he decided to apply to Denison along with other schools in the US and asked us to fill the CSS Profile form (https://profileonline.collegeboard.com). We provided our income and savings information and submitted the form online. Subsequently, colleges requested documents that we sent across to the respective financial aid offices and it was done.”
Bhanumathi MV, the mother of Divya Balaji, a first year student at Yale University, was delighted when Balaji received full-scholarship from Yale. “Being a government officer with low annual income it was impossible for me support Divya’s education costs. Thankfully, we were encouraged by her counsellor to submit applications to need blind institutions. I am so happy that Divya’s profile was considered worthy of such a huge scholarship. I attended the orientation at Yale in August and I was proud to notice how Divya was not only welcome but made to feel celebrated for her achievements. Yes, I am a proud her and also a deeply indebted Yale Mom,” says Bhanumathi.
The author is an independent admissions counsellor and can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. He also runs www.YouCanWriteNow.com, a blog assisting students write college application essays