Financial Aid for International Student

Hello, I am currently a Senior in high school (Class of 2019) and I am looking for Universities and financial aids. I am Korea, but I moved to the US (Indiana) in the middle of my sophomore year.
But I’m struggling through the financial aid process; I have no idea what documents and information I would need from my parents and all that.
Can someone tell me exactly what information and documents I would need to apply for CSS (or any other financial aid packages)? I can’t exactly rely on my parents as they don’t speak English and they both live in other countries (Korea and China).

You would need information about their income, assets, etc.

You also need to pay close attention to the international FA policies of various schools. Many/most do not give much to internationals.

I suggest that you also find some schools that will give international students large merit scholarships.

How much will your parents pay each year towards college? Ask them, please don’t guess. We see later posts from a lot of disappointed students who thought their parents would pay more.

You’ll be considered OOS everywhere, I think, since neither of your parents live in the US. Keep that in mind when you look at costs. I agree that the first thing you need to do is ask your parents how much they’ll pay.

We really don’t have enough information to help you.

It sounds like you don’t have permanent resident status here in the U.S. and are living with someone in Indiana other than your parents.

So…first…find out how much your parents will be able to pay annually for you to attend college. Get that number ASAP.

  1. You will be considered an international student for financial aid purposes. So, when you look at college websites, look at the international student financial aid section. Schools have different financial aid application you need to look at each school.
  2. You will not be eligible for any federally funded money. This would include Pell Grant, Direct or Plus Loans, federal work study, SEOG.
  3. There are only five colleges in this country they are both need blind for admissions (your ability to pay isn’t considered when your application for admission is considered), AND guarantee to meet full need for all. These are amongst THE most competitive colleges for admissions in this country. Not a slam dunk for admissions to any of them.
  4. There are colleges that do guarantee to meet full need for all accepted international student. This is not a huge number of schools...and again competitive for admissions.
  5. There are schools which give limited aid to international students. Some more limited than others.
  6. There are colleges that don’t give aid to international students at all...not a dime.

As noted by @mom2collegekids you will need all of the financial information from both of your parents. If you are starting college fall 2019, you will be completing the 2019-2020 Profile and providing whatever else the schools require. You will need 2017 income and tax year information for the income section. You will need a full accounting of your parent assets (that includes any savings, checking, money held anywhere, and the equity in any real estate they own) as if the day you file your Profile.

Oh…and you will need a way to pay to file and submit that profile which is done online. A credit card?

You say your parents live in Korea and China…are they married? If not, your filing for the Profile is different as one will be your custodial parent and the other your non-custodial parent. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t lived with them…but there is a way to know which is which…so if your parents are not married, let us know.

What are your SAT or ACT scores? And your GPA. What can your parents pay annually for you to attend college? Folks here can give you some possible suggestions of colleges knowing this info.

You need to see your HS guidance counselor NOW. Most have limited summer hours…so find out what those are…and make an appointment. You need to know if your state does ANYTHING for international kids who have been at a HS instate for three years, and graduate from an instate HS. A few states grant instate residency in that situation…for college tuition purposes. A few.

And lastly…what kind of visa are you currently here on?

Thank you so much for the reply; I haven’t been able to log in for a while.
My parents are divorced, and I wasn’t even able to contact the non-custodial parent until very recently (a month ago).
My SAT score is 1460 (690 for Reading and Writing, 770 for Math) and my ACT score is 34. I plan to take the SAT subject test (math 2 and chemistry) and the ACT once more this coming August and September.
I have asked my guidance counselor for any advice, but she just gave me a huge CollegeBoard book about colleges in America. It wasn’t very helpful. My school has so little information on international students (I am now the only international student currently attending) I feel like the school can’t help me much.
I am on F-1 student visa.

More information just in case:
I plan to major in chemistry and minor in linguistics.
My goal colleges I hope to attend are Rice, Cornell, Purdue, and UC Berkeley.
I am also a member of the Questbridge Scholars.

Another question: For the income and tax information, is there an official document I can ask for my parents to send? Or do they have to be estimated? Would I have to change the currency to US dollars?

Again, thank you so much for your advices!

  1. I would suggest you delete Berkeley from your list. As an Out of State student, you are NOT eligible for a dime of financial aid there. You would need to plan to be full pay at about $65,000 a year.
  2. What do mean by “I am a member of questbridge scholars”
  3. I don’t think you will be considered an instate student at Purdue either...because your parent(s) doesn’t reside in Indiana.
  4. have a 1460 SAT. What is your GPA?
  1. I see. I probably won't apply then.
  2. There is a scholarship program called Questbridge. I applied for it and got in. I was able to attend the Questbridge National College Admissions Conference hosted in Rice University.
  3. I don't intend to apply as an instate student. I would apply as an international student for all of the colleges I apply for.
  4. I am not sure about freshman year ( I think it was 3.89 unweighted and 4.02 weighted) but my sophomore and junior GPA is 4.00 (no weighted GPA).

@sybbie719 I’m not Questbridge knowledgeable. What does this mean in terms of college admissions? Does this mean this poster has applied to and been accepted for Questbridge scholarship purposes?

@thumper1, Questbridge Scholars is a program that is for low income HS Juniors, giving them some knowledge about upcoming college applications. That can include conferences so that the students know what to expect and how to navigate their college application process. The Questbridge Match program is a separate program for HS seniors, but most that go through the Scholar Program do utilize the Match Program as well.

Being a Questbridge Scholar won’t help the student for applications per se, but is a good tool for the OP to help in college applications.
This is their website about College Prep Scholars. They don’t give out money just for being a college prep scholar, but it gives you a “leg up” to be nominated for the National College Match.
According to the Questbridge website, “The QuestBridge National College Match is a college and scholarship application process that helps outstanding low-income high school seniors gain admission and full four-year scholarships to the nation’s most selective colleges.
College Match Scholarships, which are provided by participating colleges, cover the full cost of tuition, room and board, are loan-free, and require no parental contribution.” (

I got an email last year from Questbridge, which is how I got to apply. I am hoping to apply for the National College Match and get into some of the colleges they partner with.

Remember you must submit the income and the assets of both of your parents.

Is that done before an applicant is chosen for Questbridge?

If you are a permanent resident, you can apply for federal financial aid by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). As a permanent resident, you may qualify for federal and state government aid, including other loans like the Stafford Loan, Perkins Loan, PLUS Loan, Pell Grant, SEOG Grant, or Federal Work-Study. There is software or third party services that calculate the level of budget among international students. Some might be more specific than others, but this is the primary way for how colleges know how much to loan their students.

Yes, you must submit your financials as part of the application orocess


This student has already said he is applying as an international student. He is therefore not eligible for any of the federally funded need based aid you posted in your post.

He is not eligible for Stafford Loan, Perkins Loan, PLUS Loan, Pell Grant, SEOG Grant, or Federal Work-Study.

He wrote :

He is not a permanent resident.

Can you clarify? Did you submit both parents financial info to questbridge?

As an international student attending HS in the US, OP is eligible to apply for Questbridge. Op still must submit income and assets of both parents just like any other Questbridge applicant.

I have only submitted one of my parents’ financial information, and it was an estimate at best. If I were to apply for financial aid as part of my application process, how would I verify all the information I put on there (such as tax, income, etc.)?

Remember this - you attest that all academic and financial information is true. Willful misrepresentation is grounds for having you dismissed and having to repay all monies fraudulently received or having your degree rescinded leaving you with a worthless piece of paper.

They are still going to ask you for the income and assets of your non custodial parent. If you don’t supply the information or successful get a waiver (which you are eligible for), your financial aid application will be incomplete and you will not receive any aid. Questbridge is a vetting process, your aid will be provided by the school.