Ways to fund your masters


There is almost nothing inexpensive about a foreign masters degree. πŸŽ“ But maybe it’s just the most substantial (and lucrative) investment you’ll ever make.

There’s a lot that goes after receiving a letter of acceptance πŸ“„ from your preferred university. However, one of the most important concerns as a student remains securing a stable financing planπŸ’²to supplement your education.

A lot many graduate students, πŸ‘¨πŸΌβ€πŸŽ“ foreign or otherwise, have sufficient capital to fund their education. However, like many others, you may have to figure out a way to pay for your masters degree. 

Meanwhile, we tried to answer a few questions on how to fund your education abroad.

What are the factors determining the cost of an international master’s degree?

Well, the cost of your education πŸ“š depends on numerous variables, including, but not restricted to:

  • The country and region of study
  • your college
  • The degree programme
  • Length of study
  • Lifestyle preferences while studying (living expenses, etc.)

For any of the degree programs, universities publish the Cost of Attendance (CoA). COA is nothing but a mix of all costs, such as tuition fees πŸŽ’, living expenses 🏠 , books πŸ“š , health care πŸ₯ and spending on lifestyles.

It is crucial to understand that this amount could differ from your set budget, even though schools 🏫 offer a full CoA (which would also account for your lifestyle choices while studying).

Why is it so important to have the requisite funds for a student visa?

It all boils down to the ability to secure a study visa. International students cannot pursue their education without study loans unless a combination of scholarship and savings meets the total cost of attendance (CoA) for those who need a visa to study abroad.

For instance, in the United States, πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡² you must have an I-20 form from your school that indicates the approximate CoA to immigration officials. One must prove the availability of these funds – first to the university and then to immigration officials. Without the I-20 form, you can’t apply for an F-1 visa.

Usually, one has to apply for a visa between 120-130 days before the beginning of the course and have enough time to make it to the campus without missing a beat.

How do a majority of students fund their international master’s degrees?

A majority of foreign master’s students collect their funding from varied sources, including:

  • Savings πŸ’°
  • Family contributions πŸ‘ͺ
  • Scholarships πŸ†“
  • Fellowships πŸ‘©β€πŸ«
  • Bursaries πŸ’Έ
  • Company funding 🏒
  • Loans 🏦

If you’re like most students, you’ll explore all the optionsπŸ‘†πŸ»mentioned above to ensure that the funding meets your budget. 

With your investments and family donations, the logical place to start with is what you have and what your parents or family members are willing to give you. It is typically a tiny sum. You’ll quickly realise how much more you’ll need to fund a degree.

As soon as they confirm admission, most universities load qualified candidates into a database for financial aid (including scholarships). They might provide you with funding for scholarships that you didn’t even know existed.

But for your program, you’ll still want to search for all the scholarships they offer. You can find this data on the university’s financial aid site.

Upon research, πŸ” you shall come across open scholarships for students from your home or the host country. Many scholarships that are need/ merit-based and the ones with a combination of both can be found.

Things to Keep in mind:

  • Financial need is highly subjective. A situation that qualifies for assistance in your home country might set you above the threshold in another.
  • To assess the financial need, each school or scholarship offer have their calculation. Don’t presume you’re always going to cut.
  • Merit scholarships may look onto anything from your prior leadership experience, study, research to your GMAT or GRE test scores. While applying, never underestimate the value of these test scores. πŸ“

TIP: Keep an eye on the GMAT study scholarships; they are awarded through competitions, and by any chance, if you do have some unique circumstances but an incredible application, you can find awards πŸ† that help with the test fees and admission consultant services. Also, while you’re studying, you can find assistance for books, meals and even your children.

Are fellowships and grants available for international students?

Luckily yes, but due to its highly competitive nature, it isn’t easy to secure one. Just like scholarships, these funds don’t require repayment. Take some time out to explore various opportunities out there. The best place to begin your quest for these funds, as with scholarship opportunities, is the financial aid page of your school.

Can you get a company to invest in you?

Going back to your current company after graduation may not seem like the best idea, but they might invest in you when you need it the most. The trade-off, of course, is that you have to return to your organisation for a couple of years to repay the investment they made on your behalf. One way to do this is by getting help from your university in receiving finance from your current employer. They should be able to provide references and support to create a convincing case for funding assistance. πŸ’πŸ»

Alternatively, most universities have extensive business networking 🌐 – companies that often play an active role in academic life and contribute to the fees of some students on application.

What is the different type of student loans?

On the off chance, If you manage to match the budget before looking at the loans, you’re one of the fortunate ones. Most international masters students need some study loan to finish their degree. πŸ‘©πŸ»β€πŸŽ“

Grad school students may want to consider partial loans if their budget is tight enough that the currency fluctuations could adversely affect their experience.

International students should take a look at each of these choices to locate the correct one for their degree:

Government loans

Depending on your nationality, the educational ministry may offer low-interest πŸ”» educational financing – even for international degrees. In some instances, they might provide some genuine scholarships now and then.

Bank loans

Not every bank is willing to take on international student, yet nothing should prevent you from trying. Approach all the banks in both the nation of source and in the country of study. πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡²

Family loans

You could have a family member willing to lend you some cash – where you can find an exciting deal. But do check and confirm your country’s tax and loan laws before acknowledging legal enforcement.

Before you apply for a loan:

Make sure you have the following information handy:

  • the cost of attendance (CoA) provided by the school,
  • your budget for higher education, and
  • an understanding of how you plan to meet these targets 🎯

All of the above may seem very similar initially, but they possess unique figures.

Cost of Attendance

  • CoA is the sum that your university provides, either for the duration of your studies or for the first year of a 2-year program.
  • The CoA is broken into tuition and mandatory fees + minimum living expenses. University CoA figures are usually available online, but you can contact the financial aid or international student offices if you need more details.
  • Think of CoA amounts as a minimum.

Personal budget

  • This figure can be much more ⬆️ or much less ⬇️ than the university CoA.
  • One may want to consider both their lifestyle and personal goals (for example: Does your internship require travelling πŸš‹ ? Is networking critical for your potential startup?).
  • Start compiling the budget for your studies. Think well in advance about where you’re going to live, what you’re going to eat, and how you’re going to get around in addition to the tuition, taxes, and health insurance πŸ₯ you’ll pay shortly. You can watch this video to understand how much money you might spend in an American university.

Sources of funding

  • These include all the other potential sources apart from the student loan you’re applying for, including savings, scholarships, company sponsorships, family contributions and previously accepted loans.
  • Bear in mind that if you obtain scholarships later, you may have to alter the size of your loan, so there is no need to postpone your loan application after acceptance. βœ”οΈ

Know, the very minimum you need to apply for your international visa is the university-provided CoA. To apply for your visa, all your funding sources, including loans, must meet this number. πŸ”’

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What is the best time to apply for a student loan?

If you ask us, the best time πŸ•› to apply for a student loan is AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. β³

At the very latest (and honestly, the very latest), you should apply for a loan according to the application duration ⏱️ set by the loan provider plus the maximum processing time needed to obtain your international student visa.

So why do so many students wait?

  1. They’re worried 😟 about being locked into a loan to obtain a scholarship later (or several scholarships).
  2. Scholarships make more sense economically.πŸ’²They’re money that you don’t need to pay back (as long as you maintain the requirements given by the awarding bodies).

But when it comes to foreign student loan applications, waiting πŸ€” for the money you may or may not receive is unwise. You may end up with zero or less funding to obtain a visa or finish your education.