Dear Mentor:

How do I get financial aid to study in the US?

I have passed my matriculation examination with science subjects. I want admission into Computer Engineering in the USA. I need financial help. Please help me. I shall wait for your answer.

Anxious Graduate, Pakistan

Dear Anxious Graduate:

We are assuming that you finished high school, and that you would like to pursue a Bachelor's degree program in Computer Engineering in the US.

Let us first address the issue of financial support, because it can be a critical component in decision making for someone coming from South Asia. The cost of education in the US is extremely high. As you can see in the iMahal Financial Aid Information for the US, the tuition and cost of living can run anywhere from US$15,000 to US$40,000 per year, depending on the College and its location. To get a better estimate of the costs for your prospective colleges, you can search through the iMahal List of Colleges & Universities in the US.

There is virtually no financial assistance available to international students at the undergraduate (Bachelor's degree) level. Employment for international students is forbidden in the US, except for working up to 20 hours a week on campus. Even if you were fortunate to get this employment, the earning would be minuscule relative to your financial needs. We have heard this sentiment: just get there, and you will find ways to fund your education. This is very dangerous thinking. It is just not true. Being optimistic is good, but being ignorant is not. In other words, if you can not afford to finance your education, the idea of studying in the US is, in all likelihood, far fetched.

To be eligible for admission into a Bachelor's degree program in the US, you must have successfully completed Grade 12, and have taken the required entrance exams, such as the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and/or the Test of English as Foreign Language (TOEFL). You should visit the websites of prospective colleges for the specific admission requirements and the application process. The application fee for each college ranges from US$50 to US$200. So you should be prudent about how many college applications you submit.

To see how various colleges rank relative to others, you may wish to visit the iMahal section on US College Rankings.

Just a note: The cost of higher education is substantially lower in Canada and the quality of education is quite good. Thus, Canada does offer good value for the money. You may wish to visit the iMahal section on the Colleges & Universities in Canada for more information.

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