Studying in the US?
In our last newsletter we have informed you about the college and university system of the US and given you an overview over the chances for foreign students. As the conclusion to this series we would no like to inform you about ways to finance your studies in the US.
One general remark for all those applying for a scholarship in the US. The wise old saying applies that good research and connections are already half the battle. So in this case that means, ask those people who will know most about the subject, i.e. the teachers and professors in your department, fellow students who have already undertaken something similar, maybe the academic international office of your university. Don't hesitate to also contact the appropriate department of the university you would like to attend. You professors will be in close contact with your partner universities - don't underestimate this. Don't be an unknown quantity. In short: establish contacts.
Financial help from US institutions Scholarship: this means that the student will be supported directly by the university or some other institution, he will not have to pay any tuition fees or only a small percentage of them.
Fellowship: The student does not pay tuition fees or receives a certain sum of money every month.
Student loans: Often the universities themselves or banks close to the university offer loans you will only have to pay back after graduation. That's why many students are paying back loans for several years after their graduation and only start really earning money very much later.
In general, there really aren't all too many possibilities altogether. This is especially true for undergraduate studies. You have more chances of being supported from US sources if you have already studied in your own country and are now going for an additional qualification. If you are still an undergraduate, you may be in luck if you are very athletic, since there are a number of athletic scholarships. Or you are especially talented and receive a partial scholarship (not a full scholarship) from a private institution.
Things are looking better for graduate students. Also, the money will rather be from private sources. If you are studying languages, engineering or a natural science, you are in luck, because these fields are especially well covered where financial support is concerned. Many students, especially those studying to be language teachers or foreign languages, may qualify for the so-called assistantships, i.e. as a teaching assistant at an American university for a limited period of time. This is an excellent way of studying in the US for some time without having to pay for much yourself. The assistants must work for the university for a certain number of hours.
The kind of work differs greatly here. For language students, for example, it might make sense to teach your own language to US students. You will teach conversation and phonetics, help to correct tests and exam papers etc. However, you can also work in other areas such as research or administration. And you don't have to be studying to become a teacher (although those students are always especially welcome). The good thing about this option is that you will either be exempt from tuition or - as in most cases - will receive a monthly salary.
Financial help from German organizations Auslands BAföG (student loan for studying abroad): this is being used by roughly ¼ of German students abroad. The support is calculation according to the students' parents' income. So anyone who receives BAföG in Germany, will also receive it when studying abroad. Anyone who does not get BAföG support in Germany can still try applying for it for studying abroad, since the income limit is higher in that case. The requirement catalogs for BAföG that are changing from time to time do not only apply to those receiving it, but also to those who pay for themselves and are interested in studying in the US (see further below).
1. You must have your permanent residence in Germany and not only be here for study purposes
2. The university course in the US must be beneficial to your education. This will be the case if you have already acquired basic knowledge in the field in Germany, at a university or during a training program of at least one year. The education in the US has to be counted at least partly toward your education in Germany, which means that you will only receive support for those courses in the US that you can finish in Germany. So in case you graduate in the US, you may lose BAföG, for the rest of your time abroad and for the time after your return to Germany. The only exception will be made if the German examination guidelines require a different study history. Your claim for support must be demonstrated by an expert's report written by a professor of your university (Form 6). Full study programs abroad will not qualify.
3. You will have to study at the foreign university for at least six months. If there are existing cooperation agreements (DAAD, bilateral university partnerships), it must be at least three months (even the smallest deviations can lead to problems). Usually, you will receive support for one full year (all of it spent in one country). That also means, if you have already received BAföG for an internship abroad, you can no longer receive support for a university course in the US. (Exception: you haven't stayed for the entire time possible and you are starting your course immediately following the internship).
4. You must have the necessary language skills, i.e. you have learned English at school for at least six years (please provide a copy of your diploma). In this case, you don't need a separate language certificate.
5. You should study the same subjects you were studying in Germany. If you wish to study a different subject at the American university, you will need a good reason for this.
6. Your courses must be from the junior or senior years, or graduate classes. The freshmen and sophomore years correspond to the last to years of a German academic high school and will thus not be supported financially.
The BAföG is the only way of receiving support without having to prove extraordinary talent. However, you will only receive the money as long as you are registered as a full-time student in your chosen field, are attending university, the course is requiring your full effort, and the education in the US is equivalent in quality to that of a German university (must be officially evaluated).
The following additional services are included in the Auslands BAföG (as of July 2000):
- A monthly bonus of DM 230 (for New York DM 310)
- A bonus for health insurance if a have a travel insurance of DM 80 a month
- In case you are paying premiums for a private nursing insurance or private health insurance during your stay, an additional DM 15 a month
- Tuition will be paid up to DM 9,000, as far as they are unavoidable and you have exhausted all other options of being exempt or paying less and you are able to prove it, no other tuition fees or social fees will be covered
- Travel costs for getting to the university and back (only the cheapest flight will be paid for)
The fringe benefits to the Auslands BAföG will be paid when the student begins his studies there and is till within the maximum period of sponsorship. The student also has to be at the foreign university for half a year at least. Only if there is a special cooperation between the universities can the sponsorship be granted for three months. The maximum period is one year, in very exceptional cases two years (but for that you will definitely need an expert's report). You can get at advice at:
Visitor's address: Grindelallee 9
Tel. 040-41 902 (0)
Fax. 040-41 902 (126)
Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst - DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service)
The DAAD offers different scholarship programs:
1. Scholarships for students of English, American Studies and Canadian Studies in the third to sixth semester.
The students may study for one year at the DAAD partner universities in the US or Canada. Students of other humanities-related subjects may apply for this as well, but they will have to prove that they have regularly attended classes related to the subject of North America, so that their studies are immediately connected to this, e.g. history students may have attended classes on US or Canadian history. Furthermore, you will need to take the TOEFL test. You may get all additional information, e.g. about application deadlines, entry requirements and application forms from your academic international office at your university or directly from your English department.
2. Short scholarships for writing your thesis.
These scholarships cover a period of two months at least and 6 months maximum. You can get the application forms from you university's president or from the academic foreign office.
3. Special program for integrated studies abroad.
This allows smaller groups of students to spend one or two semesters at a North American university after finishing their basic course, i.e. after their intermediate examinations or their intermediate diploma. The DAAD awards partial scholarships for this. The lecturers of your university are directly responsible for organizing this together with your partner university.
For more information ask your department, the academic foreign office or the DAAD.
4. Scholarships for graduates and doctorates
Here, the DAAD has quite a number of scholarships.
Scholarships for additional and research studies and residencies, scholarships for music, fine arts, design, dance, acting and directing, J.F. Kennedy scholarships, scholarships for studying at the Bologna Center of John Hopkins University in Italy, special programs for epidemiology, public health and micro system technology.
For more information about the individual programs, please ask the DAAD:
Tel.: 030-20 22 080
Fax: 030-204 12 67
The DAAD publishes the brochures "Studienführer USA" (Study Guide USA), and "Studium, Forschung, Lehre im Ausland" (Study, Research, Teaching abroad), you can get these for free.
The Fulbright Commission was created after World War II by a legal initiative of Senator William J. Fulbright, with the goal of improving international understanding. Every year, this commission awards 200 full, partial and travel scholarships to graduates, lecturers and professors from all academic departments. There are certain limitations for the fields of medicine and art. Full and partial scholarship holders will be sent to American universities for one academic year. Applicants must be able to prove extremely high academic achievements. During the personal interview for the final selection, the candidates are expected to prove that they can serve as ambassadors for international understanding, according to the commissions original purpose. You can get the application forms from your university's international office or directly from the following address:
Oranienburger Str. 13-14
Tel. 030-28 44 430
Fax. 030-28 44 42
Some German and American universities have bilateral treaties about student exchanges and scholarships. The basic requirement for this is, of course, that you are registered as a student of the respective German university. In case your university has such a cooperation with a partner university, you can directly ask the professors of your department. Even better if there are guest professors of your partner university at your own university at the time. Otherwise, your international office will, of course, be able to provide you with more information.
Federation of German-American Clubs
The Federation of German-American Clubs is a private organization, choosing 30 students a year since 1957, who will then study at American partner universities. The Clubs and the partner universities have bilateral agreements, defining and financially securing the student exchanges. Every year, young people who would like to use this opportunity apply at the local clubs. The local clubs choose a selection from the received applications and suggest those to a central committee. The committee then chooses the 30 candidates for the US exchange. For more information, please check the clubs' website, where you will also find the addresses for the local clubs. www.verband-dt-am-clubs.de
Before we conclude the study series, here is a little advice on our own behalf - you can save yourself a lot of stress if you have a green card! The tuition will be so significantly reduced that financing won't be such a big problem anymore. So, keep your fingers crossed during the next lottery!
GOOD LUCK FOR YOUR STUDIES IN THE US!
Family Strasser from Germany
Christian S., GreenCard Winner from Aachen, Germany
Tina Söbbing, GreenCard winner from San Diego, California
Rebecca J., GreenCard Winner from Schwetzingen, Germany
Birgit K. and Robert F. GreenCard Winners from Garching, Germany
Chris Ike Nwanze, Asaba, Nigeria
Family P.,GreenCard-Winners, Berlin
Steven C., GreenCard winner from Glattpark, Switzerland
Mrs. van Calcar, DV-2010 GreenCard Winner from the Netherlands
Onwubiko Nkemakolam Nelson, Nigeria