Updated: Apr 23
Understanding scholarships and loans for your master’s degree in the United States can be really helpful because there are some different funding opportunities available that you don’t have with a bachelor’s degree.
The 3 budgeting tips for your master’s degree in the United States are loans designed just for international graduate students, scholarships called graduate assistantships, and understanding the vast cost of living differences in the United States.
We focused on these three tips during an episode of Let’s Meet For Coffee: Conversations for International Students. Our guest was Riane Corter from Prodigy Finance and she discussed the options for loans, graduate assistantships, and other helpful budgeting tips.
1. Loans For International Students
As an international student earning a master’s degree in the United States, there is an option to look for a loan so you don’t have to worry about how you’ll pay your tuition bill.
Prodigy Finance is a company that specializes in providing loans to international students studying in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. These loans do not require a co-signer, collateral, or local credit history.
Instead, Prodigy Finance uses a data-risk model that allows them to invest in a student’s earning potential and career success.
This allows them to help students who don’t quite have the funds to pay for school, but they are going to have wonderful, successful careers.
Here are the steps to applying for a Prodigy Finance loan:
Visit the Prodigy Finance website
Review the list of schools and master’s programs that Prodigy Finance supports. You must be attending one of the universities on Prodigy Finance’s list.
Complete a no-obligation application. This allows you to share your information and get a customized quote.
Once you are accepted to the university and program, you’ll upload your proof of admittance and then receive your loan confirmation letter. You can use this to receive your I-20 document and any other immigration-related documents.
Now that you signed for your loan, Prodigy Finance sends the funds directly to your school.
You can then focus on your studies and landing that dream job!
You can start making payments toward your loan literally at any time. But you can start 6 months after your classes end.
If you would like to learn more, start an application today. There is no fee or obligation and you can receive more information based on your particular situation. Learn more about Prodigy Finance and all the details by visiting their website.
2. Graduate Assistantship (Scholarship)
A graduate assistantship is a form of employment where you work so many hours a week, usually 20 hours, and in exchange, the university waives your tuition.
Some assistantships waive your tuition and also pay you a stipend, so you can earn some extra money. There are research assistantships and administrative assistantships.
Research/teaching assistantship: You may be helping a professor with grading, teaching, or researching.
Administrative assistantship: A position where you complete administrative responsibilities in a department, such as housing, the international office, career services, or another office on campus.
To find an assistantship, begin by doing research at your university or college. Begin with the department that administers your degree.
So for example: if you’re studying engineering, look if the Department of Engineering offers any assistantships.
If you can’t find anything within your department, you can expand your search and look at other departments across campus. Don’t be afraid to reach out via email, introduce yourself, and share your resume.
If you’re still not quite sure, you can ask your admissions contact for assistance and guidance. Most assistantships will require an interview, so be prepared for that as well.
How To Increase Your Chances Of Earning A Graduate Assistantship
Educate yourself early about assistantships available within your department and across campus. See what majors are offered within the department and which professors are involved.
Look on the university’s job board for assistantships. Many universities and colleges also list their available assistantships on the institution’s job board that is set up specifically for students to find employment.
Showing your value is critical as assistantships are very competitive. Create a LinkedIn account to showcase your research, experiences, and skills relevant to your potential assistantship. When you reach out to a professor, you can hyperlink your LinkedIn to your resume.
Staying organized is important, especially if you are applying to multiple assistantships. Departments have different deadlines and requirements, so don’t miss the opportunity for an assistantship just because you missed a deadline!
3. Cost of Living in the United States
One of the biggest factors that many international students need to think about when budgeting out studying in the United States is cost of living.
Cost of living not only means rent and food, but it also means transportation. Outside of big cities, many college towns don’t have subways or other reliable public transportation.
Do you need to budget for a car or bike? Will you need to live closer to campus, which means you will need to pay more for rent?
Additionally, you need to look at your master’s program and see if it requires an internship. Many students complete internships in the summer, but most internships are unpaid experiences.
That means you need to factor in extra money to cover expenses during the summer, especially if you need to move to another city for the internship.
There are several different options available for budgeting cost of living expenses. Here is a tool from Economic Policy Institute that can help give you an idea based on where you plan to live in the United States.
You can also reach out to the international office at your university or college, as many are able to provide an estimate of cost of living expenses for students at that particular institution.
ISV Scholarship Guarantee
If you are looking to do a master’s degree, or any type of degree, in the United States, we can help you with our ISV scholarship guarantee.
If you plan to attend an ISV preferred university or college and contact us before applying, you will receive a minimum of a $500 USD scholarship for your first semester.
Visit our Studying in the United States and Canada page for more information.