Student Finance in America: Everything You Need to Know

If you’re looking to apply for a university in America, you will need to understand how to apply to an American university and how to manage your finances. We’ve compiled a guide for you here, which shows you the ways that the American finance system works and how you need to keep yourself in check when it comes to your student finances.

How Much is a Degree in the US?

Straight in with the biggest question of American universities. The prices will obviously be affected depending on where you’re studying in terms of university and also depending on the state that you’re studying in too. The most recent figures suggest that the fees can be anywhere between £10,000 to £55,000 per-year.

There are also UK universities that offer a year in the US as part of a degree course, essentially a sandwich course, with the year studying abroad in the US.

Does the Prestige of the Universities in the US Affect the Price of My Chosen Degree?

In much the same way that the top tier universities in the UK charge their students, the American education system will rank certain universities, such as Harvard University or Yale University as the most prestigious universities in the country, which means that they’re able to essentially set their own prices, and people will pay them, so expect big bucks for any application going to a top tier American university.

 

What is the Cost of Living in the US?

How long is a piece of string? Honestly, that’s how difficult that question is to answer. The cost depends on whereabouts you’re living, as the cost of living can very much depend on the state that you’re staying in. Although with some states, you can live on anything that approaches the £15,000 mark and in some you can even reach the £150,000 mark! The best thing for you to do is to do your research and see if you can live as comfortably as possible.

How Do I Apply for a Student Loan in the US?

Now we enter the very difficult area of student loans. In the United Kingdom, students are obviously able to get their loans from the Student Loans Company, however, the SLC’s legislation and jurisdiction do not cover the US. The company won’t allow students that are looking to study in the US as there are various red tape scenarios and bureaucracy surrounding it. There are private commercial loans available for students if you are looking to study abroad, but this won’t be easy either, the other alternative is to apply through an American student loan company. 

Can I Get My Student Loan for the US from My Bank?

You can, but we cannot discourage this enough. Applying for this is a very silly idea because the joy of a student loan is that they are written off after a certain amount of time, and you won’t get that with your bank. Not only that, you won’t get a loan of the size you need on the cheap and without incurring a disgustingly high-interest rate on a loan that size, this is why it’s essential to understand student debt.

Can I Go Through an American Student Loans Company?

Now that’s more like it! This too, won’t be without its complications, but you’ve got a much better chance of being able to manage your student loan than if you were to use a bank or any other means of acquiring a loan. This, unfortunately, will require you to do some digging of your own and find a way of being able to pay for the loan you will owe. Get this done before you apply too if you can, as you will need to prove that you can actually pay your loan back too.

Are there Grants, Bursaries or Scholarships Available for Studying in the US?

There are indeed. They’re running a bit thin on the ground at the moment, given their relative popularity and the fact that it does often mean universities get no money, but there most certainly are grants, bursaries and scholarships still available. These themselves can actually lower your costs by nearly £20,000, too!

Is there Financial Aid or Funding Available for Studying in the US?

There is, but this too is running a little bit behind as the cost of moving to the US can often outweigh the money made available, for those that are suffering from any disabilities or are from a lower economic background. This is still available and can take a sizable chunk out of your overall loan, which is always good news!

 

Can I Use Domestic Funding for a Degree in the US?

Again, you can do this, but this can be difficult to do as many companies or organisations are likely to be unconvinced to cough up a large amount of money to help out unless you can offer something in return. That being said, it can be a very effective ways of reducing your overall debt which can be an added incentive, so if you can get domestic funding in some way, then in the words of the Sugarhill Gang, jump on it!

Can I Get Funding for an American University to Help Me with an American Degree?

The chances of this happening are pretty slim, mainly because less than 50% of American universities actually offer this as an option for international students, however, the best way to find out is to speak to your universities and see if they do actually offer to fund of any kind, you may get lucky and apply to one that does, in which case you’ve done yourself a massive favour, although with this, you should be aware, that you will need a US citizen to co-sign onto the loan and to act as a guarantor for you, you cannot use anyone else that is outside of the US.

Can I Get a Job to Pay for My Degree in the US?

This is a confusing one. In your first year of American study, you can only work up to 20 hours on campus per week until your second year, in which case you can then secure work offsite. It’s vital that you know how to manage working and studying at the same time, finding the right balance will help you acheive high grades with still being able to earn money. However, if you can find work off site that is prepared to take you on then this may help. Like we said, this is very confusing, almost to the point where this question could almost get its own article! We recommend that you ask your university about how to do this and try and look up the legislation for the state that you’re applying to, too.