University augments foreign aid packages

Some international students say they receive little help from their governments when it comes to school, but TCU helps make it possible to afford an education.Hai Yen Nguyen and Kaushal Amatya , both international students, said their countries do not provide federal financial aid for students seeking an education in the U.S.

Nguyen, a senior accounting and electronic business major from Vietnam, said her government provides only a few scholarships for students studying in other countries and for two to three years.

Nguyen said government officials believe students who come to the U.S. for school will want to stay awhile before returning to Vietnam and working in the country.

Amatya, a junior psychology major from Nepal, said the Nepalese government does not provide scholarships because of the complications involved with the visa application.

“When you apply for a loan and then a visa, your visa application can be denied because it appears that you don’t actually have enough money to afford school,” Amatya said.

Private loans can be taken through students’ parents but it can be difficult to adjust their savings according to the changes in tuition, Amatya said.

“Tuition increases each year,” Amatya said, “but the scholarships don’t increase. It is hard to save up for what the scholarship doesn’t cover.”

TCU offers different types of scholarships based on need and merit, said Mike Scott, director of scholarships and financial aid.

International students compete for scholarships and grants like any other student, Scott said.

Need-based scholarship is the cost of attendance minus the family contribution based on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form, according to the Office of Scholarships and Student Financial Aid Web site. Merit-based scholarship is subject to academic, athletic and fine art skills.

“We offer need-based scholarships and it’s not the norm at most schools,” Scott said. “Usually schools just offer merit-based scholarships, if that. The fact that we offer both puts us ahead of other schools. It’s not normal for schools to offer financial aid for international students.”

The money for international student grants and scholarships comes from a specific TCU fund, unlike grants for American students that come from the government, Scott said.

Amatya said he received the Dean’s Scholarship and has additional financial aid, which covers his full tuition; all he has to pay is room and board.

Nguyen said she received the International Student Scholarship and the Transfer Student Scholarship for high SAT and English as a Foreign Language scores.

Providing more funding for different campus departments will allow for more job opportunities for international students and American students, Amatya said.

“International students don’t qualify for work study programs and they can’t get a job off campus,” Amatya said. “The only places we can get jobs are in the library or the (University Recreation Center).”

Some departments hire outside work study programs, but they don’t advertise that and students have to search for them, Amatya said.

“The issue revolves around the budget available for each department,” Scott said. “If a student is eligible for work study, then the fund for work study pays 75 percent of their wages and the department only has to pay 25 percent. They have to pay the full wage out of the budget for non-work study students.”

Each individual department decides how many non-work study students to hire, Scott said.