Dear Mentor:

Will $6000/year pay for college in North America?

I'm an 18-year old in Saudi Arabia. I plan to do my undergrad studies in the US. But the problem is a lack of funds. My parents can provide only a maximum of $6000 per year. Can you advise me on loans, scholarships & sponsorships? I've got 253 in TOEFL. I've already gone through your FAQs.

Short on Money, Saudi Arabia

Dear Short on Money:

You would be an international student in the US. As we have stated many times in this column and throughout iMahal, virtually no financial assistance is available to international students for undergraduate (Bachelor's degree) studies. We strongly advise international students to do undergrad in the US only if they can sustain themselves financially through personal means. Financial aid is not available prior to your arrival in the US and would not be available after your arrival in the US. Thinking otherwise is a folly.

The cost of education in the US ranges from $15,000 to $45,000 per year. The amount of money you can afford for studies, a sum of $6,000 per year, while substantial is not nearly enough. We would not encourage you to come to the US with this amount of money and hope that you would be able to find additional financial support; the chances are you would not.

You may wish to consider Canada as an alternative to the US for studies. The cost of education in Canada is much lower than the US and the quality of education is quite good. The cost ranges from Cdn$15,000 to Cdn$25,000. With today's exchange rates, your parents can offer you roughly Cdn$10,000 (US$6,000). If you can arrange for an additional Cdn$5,000 or so (approximately US$3,500), we would encourage you to consider pursuing your undergrad in Canada. You can find the List of Colleges and Univerisites in Canada in the iMahal Education Section. You may want to use the iMahal College Finder for Canada to identify colleges that best match your needs.

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