U.S. Universities That Offer International Students the Most Financial Aid

The U.S. News Short List, separate from our overall rankings, is a regular series that magnifies individual data points in hopes of providing students and parents a way to find which undergraduate or graduate programs excel or have room to grow in specific areas. Be sure to explore The Short List: College, The Short List: Grad School and The Short List: Online Programs to find data that matter to you in your college or grad school search.

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

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

[Read: What International Students Should Know About the FAFSA.]

However, some American colleges and universities that provide a significant amount of either need-based or merit-based institutional scholarship money to students from abroad. Students seeking this form of assistance will often fill out the College Board’s College Scholarship Service, or CSS, Profile and may also submit an International Student Financial Aid Application, or ISFAA. International students may also qualify for external college scholarships that are given by corporations or nonprofit organizations.

Among the 890 undergraduate institutions that reported how much financial aid they gave to a typical international student during the 2020-2021 school year in an annual U.S News survey, the average amount was roughly $20,867. Meanwhile, at each of the 10 schools where typical financial aid awards for international students were highest, the average amount of scholarship money exceeded $64,700.

Nine of these 10 schools are on the East Coast. The exception is Stanford University in California. All 10 schools are expensive private schools, with sticker price tuition and fees for 2021-2022 that are above $56,000. One is currently the most expensive private undergraduate institution in the U.S. — Columbia University in New York City, which is charging $63,530 during the 2021-2022 school year. Thus, when assessing the size of these private schools’ financial aid packages, it’s important to remember that in the U.S., private schools usually charge higher rates than public schools.

Haverford College, a private liberal arts school in Pennsylvania, allotted the largest chunk of change for a typical international student, doling out more than $71,000 per student.

[See: 10 Free Resources for International Students Interested in U.S. Colleges.]

At the opposite end of the spectrum, there were seven undergraduate institutions where the average amount of aid for international students was $0 — all regional schools. Five of the schools that gave no aid to their typical international students were public colleges or universities, and two were private. Because public schools usually rely at least in part on tax revenue, they usually preferentially admit and award aid to students whose legal residence is nearby, so international applicants are often at a disadvantage when competing for financial aid at these places.

Below is a list of the 10 U.S. undergraduate institutions where the average amount of financial aid for citizens of other countries was highest. Unranked schools, which did not meet certain criteria required by U.S. News to be numerically ranked, were not considered for this report.

School (state) Number of international students who received aid during 2020-2021 Average aid awarded to international undergraduates during 2020-2021 U.S. News rank and category
Haverford College (PA) 48 $71,496 16, National Liberal Arts Colleges
Columbia University (NY) 287 $70,807 2 (tie), National Universities
Skidmore College (NY) 90 $70,000 38 (tie), National Liberal Arts Colleges
Wesleyan University (CT) 84 $69,698 17 (tie), National Liberal Arts Colleges
Wellesley College (MA) 84 $69,660 5, National Liberal Arts Colleges
Yale University (CT) 264 $67,048 5, National Universities
Washington and Lee University (VA) 74 $66,671 11 (tie), National Liberal Arts Colleges
Stanford University (CA) 225 $66,000 6 (tie), National Universities
Cornell University (NY) 199 $65,286 17 (tie), National Universities
Duke University (NC) 176 $64,724 9 (tie), National Universities

Don’t see your school in the top 10? Access the U.S. News College Compass to find financial aid figures, complete rankings and much more. Sign up for the U.S. News Extra Help: College Admissions free email newsletter to receive expert advice twice a month.

U.S. News surveyed more than 1,850 colleges and universities for our 2021 survey of undergraduate programs. Schools self-reported myriad data regarding their academic programs and the makeup of their student body, among other areas, making U.S. News’ data the most accurate and detailed collection of college facts and figures of its kind. While U.S. News uses much of this survey data to rank schools for our annual Best Colleges rankings, the data can also be useful when examined on a smaller scale. U.S. News will now produce lists of data, separate from the overall rankings, meant to provide students and parents a means to find which schools excel, or have room to grow, in specific areas that are important to them. While the data come from the schools themselves, these lists are not related to, and have no influence over, U.S. News’ rankings of Best Colleges, Best Graduate Schools or Best Online Programs. The aid data above is correct as of Sept. 28, 2021.

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U.S. Universities That Offer International Students the Most Financial Aid originally appeared on usnews.com

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