Online Colleges That Accept Financial Aid

[theme music] president barack obama:when we study together, and we learn together,we work together, and we prosper together. ms. kimberly williams: goodmorning, and good evening, to all our viewers joiningus from around the world. i'm kim williams, and i workin the bureau of education and cultural affairs at theu.s. department of state

here in washington, dc. my job is to help people fromall around the world come to the united states to study. i'm excited to be participatingin this webchat with you today, and to talk about howinternational students can finance their studiesin the united states. we have with us someexperts from a few different educational institutions to helpanswer your questions about how you can pay for your studies.

first off, i would like tointroduce joan zanders, who has almost three decades ofexperience in financial aid. she's currently the directorof financial aid at northern virginia community college. she has a lot ofadvice to share, and can talk about communitycolleges and how they can make college affordable for studentswho might not otherwise be able to pursue highereducation in the u.s. sitting next to heris jennifer jocelyn,

director of george washingtonuniversity's colonial central. colonial central is astudent services center at george washington to helpstudents and their families navigate the university'sfinancial aid, billing, and registration procedures. i also want to welcome avery special group joining us from ulaanbaatar in mongolia. thank you so much forparticipating today. we will be coming back toyou throughout the program

for your questions. i know there are otherviewing groups gathered-- at u.s. embassies, americanspaces, and other places as well. please send in your picturesand we will show them during the program. lastly, if you havequestions that you would like joan orjennifer to address, please ask them in the chatspace next to the video player,

or on twitter using thehashtag #studyintheusa. we'll try to answer asmany of your questions about financing yourstudies as possible. and we also provideanswers and links to resources in the chat space. there's also a visaexpert our chat space today to help answer any visarelated questions you may have. so, i'm going to startthe conversation off with a question.

when we talk aboutcost of setting, what are the variouscomponents to that cost for undergraduateand graduate degrees? director joan zanders:thank you, kim. and greetings, everyone. each college starts bybuilding a cost of attendance budget for students, and thecosts are generally averages. and depending onyour spending habits, you may spend well more thanthat, or less than that.

but the components of thatcost of attendance budget are average cost fortuition and fees, and most collegesare going to look at the average number ofcredits taken by their full time students, which wouldbe 12 or more credits. in addition tothose costs, there are also books and supplies,transportation, room and board, and personalmiscellaneous expenses. most budgets are calculatedon a nine-month basis,

and then there'sa separate budget if the student is planningto attend a summer session. keep in mind,those are averages, and most of the time, thosecost of attendance budgets are going to be initially forresident students within state tuition, if it happens tobe a public institution. so you have to look atwhat the difference in cost is for students who arenon-resident students, and make sure you havethat right budget.

ms. williams: great, thank you. let's a few questionsfrom our online viewing group in mongolia. mongolia, do you havea question for experts about financing your studies? zoyanga: hi, nice to meet you. my name is zoyanga. i'm very happy to be hereand get some advices. last year, i completedmy bachelor's degree,

and i want to continue myeducation to the next level. and my questionhere is that what are my chances to be fullyfunded for a graduate level? thank you. ms. williams: a verypopular question. so i believe thequestion is, you would like to pursuea graduate degree, and what is thepossibility of you getting full funding for this pursuit?

director jennifer jocelyn:thank you for your question. greetings, everyonefrom mongolia. that is a great question. graduate funding canbe varied by school. so it really depends on whatthe school has in funding. i think your best betfrom a graduate level is to first to identifywhich program at which school institution thatyou're interested in. and i would actuallysuggest reaching out

to the faculty to talkwith them about what sort of fundingopportunities are available throughthat department. again, it does varyfrom school to school, but that is a great first step. i think you also want to thinkabout, if you're possibly looking to get loans orthings of that nature, i think you may alsowant to consider private loans throughpotentially a u.s.

bank, or another lender. and maybe if you dohave someone in the u.s. who can co-sign foryou for that loan, that's another option ifyou're unable to find or locate any funding opportunities thatwould be in the form of grants. director zanders:i would also add to that even thoughwe would love to be able to fund everysingle student, full time and the full cost,we don't even do

that for most ofthe students who are within the united states. the funding is justnot that plentiful. there are opportunities,and especially if you are strong ina particular field, and there might be anassistantship with a professor, or research assistants,something of that nature. but it isn't verycommon that someone is fully funded for all costs.

ms. williams: greatquestion, mongolia. do you have anotherquestion for us? boina: hello. my name is boina. and i graduated asa dentist last year. and first of all, i want tothank you for all the people who are organizingthis event, and also thank you for all of youjust giving us an opportunity to ask questions.

so my question is, iwant to study my master's degree in the unitedstates, and how can i get the scholarshipsand grants and can you give me the informations? ms. williams: ok,so specifically about grants and scholarshipsfor graduate study in the u.s. director jocelyn: i thinkwe can sort of reiterate that previous questionthat was just asked. again, as joan hasmentioned, there

are not a lot of fullyfunded opportunities. however, again, i thinkyou would definitely want to reach out tothe department you're interested in. and you said you werestudying dentistry. i would certainly contactschools and ask questions, and just see whattype of opportunities they have through the school. and again, as assistantshipsand research assistantships,

i think you may be surprised bywhat opportunities are there. and again, i thinkyou really just need to get out there andresearch and contact different departmentsto get more information. director zanders: therealso is a possibility, depending on yourvisa status, of aid that would be throughthe federal government in the united states. and for most ofyou, i'm guessing

we're talking f1 status,which would be student visas. but if someone happens to haveany type of permanent resident visa in the unitedstates, you might be eligible for federal funding,or even some state funding with different collegesin the united states. but if you are on anf1 visa, or a j visa, normally then you would beresearching each college to see what kindof assistantships and institutional grantsmight be available.

ms. williams: ok, great. all right, let's get backto some more questions from our online viewers. many of our viewers, likemohammed sami from egypt, are asking aboutwhat sort of funding is available for graduatestudies in the u.s. what sort of post-graduateoptions are there for funding? director zanders: iwould say one thing that we haven'ttalked about yet,

is for each student to go tothe website of the colleges that they're considering, andlook to see what's out there. again, as jenniferhas reiterated, there are opportunities forgraduate studies in the united states, and evenpostgraduate studies. but you're going tohave to do some work to get to thoseanswers, and primarily with each institution,and with the departments within that institution,to see what opportunities

might be there for you. director jocelyn: and toadd to that i would say, there are a lot of--if you have to apply for those typesof opportunities, i'd be very consciousof the deadline for those applications. and they can be 12to 18 months out. so i think if you'rethinking about trying to find those typeof opportunities,

you have to startvery soon if you're planning to come and try tocome to the united states in the next 12 to 18 months. director zanders: andreally do the work. do the homework,do the research, and try to findthose opportunities. ms. williams: aviewing group in china wants to know, whatis the difference between financialaid and scholarships?

director zanders: financial aidcan be grants, scholarships, loans, work-study--anything that contributes toward the cost of education isconsidered to be financial aid. normally when we talk aboutfinancial aid in the united states, we're referring tofederal aid and state aid. but then all of thoseoutside resources-- sometimes businesses offer grants,a number of scholarships are available, everysingle institution has scholarships available.

you could also researchthose on websites to see what might beavailable for you. but anything that contributestoward the cost of education is considered tobe financial aid. scholarships are normallyfor specific reasons, for specific characteristics. they may be byprivate donors, they may be from theinstitution itself. scholarships canbe for merit, they

can be for specific skills. maybe you're strong inmath, or strong in music. or we have a donorwho might want you to be from aparticular country, and they mightfund on that basis. but it could be merit,it could be need-based. and if need is required,then the very premise of an internationalstudent is that you're coming with your own funding.

so for you to show need mightbe a little bit challenging. ms. williams: great. later from tunisia writesthat he needs a budget to complete his studies inthe u.s. and onar from turkey writes that he had to leavehis study program in the u.s. because he could notsupport his studies. what advice would yougive to them and others about financialplanning and budgeting for studying in the usa?

director jocelyn: i can goahead and take that one. i'll try and take that one. that is an excellent question. as joan had alreadytalked about, the cost of attendance-- comingto the united states to study can be a very costly venture. and part of theprocess of thinking about coming to theunited states to study is that financialplanning piece.

it is an investment. so if you are an undergraduate,or you're a graduate student, you really need to bethinking about this as an investmentfor several years. so you're investing in anoutcome which is that degree. i would definitely considerlooking at different budgeting tools. as joan had mentioned,the cost of attendance does include unbilledexpenses, such as

those personal miscellaneousexpenses, books and supplies-- those types of costs arenot on your student account. and so you need to considerhaving funding for those. and so i would say, learn how totrack your expenses each week. start with what doyou spend on food? or what do you spend onyour rent each month? to help you start to see howyour money is being spent, so that you cansee whether you're overspending andunderspending, and then you

can make adjustments. and i would suggest lookingat such tools-- there's a great one called mint. you can go to and that's one that's verypopular with our students these days, to help them managetheir money while they're here in the states. director zanders:and always plan for unexpected expenses,because they're going to happen.

and as jennifer said, personalmiscellaneous expenses can be huge or small dependingon your spending habits. and the costs of attendancedon't necessarily allow you to live ina luxurious lifestyle. so plan beyond what thatcost of attendance budget is set up by thecollege, because those are minimal expenses. we use a low nine-month cost ofattendance budget for our area. washington, dc isa wonderful area

to live in-- so many,many opportunities. it's also a little moreexpensive than some other areas of the country. the midwest is lessexpensive, the southeast is less expensive. some areas within individualstates are less expensive. but you also have to considerwhat is the program of study that you're planning totake, and then is the area an area where you can becomfortable, and learn

from the area as well? director jocelyn: and to justadd one more note on that, i think it'simportant to remember that the costdoesn't necessarily mean it's better quality. the higher cost doesn'tmean better quality. so i think whenyou're really thinking about planning financially, lookat the best program for you. and it may be at apublic institution,

versus a private institution. and that can help youmanage the overall long term cost of your degree. director zanders: asjennifer mentioned, i come from a community college. and community colleges aretypically far less expensive than other institutions. and with northern virginiacommunity college, students have guaranteedadmissions agreements

to the four-year schoolsif they complete at nova, as we call ourselves, with acertain grade point average. so you can move fromthe community college to the public institution,or to a private institution, having saved a whole lot ofmoney in those first two years. and that can helptremendously as well. ms. williams: one of ouronline viewers in china asked, caninternational students apply for financialaid using fafsa,

and can you explainexactly what fafsa is? director zanders: weuse a lot of acronyms fafsa-- the letters standfor free application for federal student aid. as i mentioned earlier, if youhappen to have a certain visa type that would give youpermanent resident status, or a protectedstatus, then you may be eligible to applyusing the fafsa. but typically, a student hasto be either a u.s. citizen,

or a permanent residentnoncitizen in order to use the fafsa. anybody can fillit out-- it doesn't mean you're going tohave any eligibility. and normally you have to havethat social security number, and you have to have somesort of citizenship status that is in a permanentbasis in order to get financial aidfor using the fafsa. ms. williams: our viewinggroup, an irc in algiers,

an online viewer,tomic, asked, is it possible to studyand work in the u.s.? will a studenthave time for both? director zanders: again, ithink it depends on the student. there are some students thatare better if they work, because then theirtime is at a premium, and they use their time wisely. there are other students thati would not advise to work, because they need everymoment for studying

and for class time. typically, statistics showus that if a student works fewer than 14 to20 hours a week, they're going to persistat a higher rate. it is possible towork and go to school, and most of our students do. there are jobs available oncampus for many students-- not every student. and the last i knew,international students were not

allowed to work off-campusuntil they'd been in the states for a year, and thenthey had to work in areas that were supportingof their program of study. but there couldbe jobs on campus. we have an internationalwork-study fund that we used to helpstudents who might be in some sort of crisis. like a few years ago,with arab spring, we had students who couldn't getmoney out of their countries.

so we set up a fundto hopefully help with some of that crisis time. we also have somework-study that is not based on federal guidelines. other campuses mightbe the same thing. and working on campushelps tremendously, because thesupervisors on campus are not going to requireyou to work when you're supposed to be in class time.

that would be theideal, i think, if a student canfind a job on campus. director jocelyn: and, justto clarify, as you said, based on gw, it sounds likestudents on f1 visas may work. if you are goingto be in the states on a different typeof visa, i would speak with your internationalservices office at the school that you're interested in,just to ensure that if you're interested in working,that you would actually

be eligible to work. and also based onthat, you would be eligible to work upto 20 hours per week while classes arein session, and then 40 hours per week duringofficial class breaks. again, if you're interested inworking while you're studying. director zanders:but again, there are not always going to bejobs available for everyone. so it's importantfor you get out

there, apply for those jobs. if you're on anassistantship, that is a job. you're working forthe college, you're working for a professoron a particular project, or with a particular class,and that becomes your job. some of our viewers areasking about financial aid for specific fields. in particular, they'reasking about financial aid for medical studies and tourism.

director zanders: as i'dmentioned previously, there are a lot ofscholarships out there for a variety of fields. again, you're going tohave to do the research, check the websites, checkwith your departments when you're applyingto a college, and see what's out there. and the earlier youapply, the better. at nova, as an example, wehave two different rounds

of scholarship applications--one in the fall, and one in the spring. and they're fordifferent purposes. most of our scholarships in thefall are nursing scholarships, so those would befor medical fields. other colleges may havesimilar characteristics and similarscholarship searches. director jocelyn:yeah, i would also-- if you're lookingat medical studies,

i would again, firstfind those programs that you're most interested. at gw, for instance,our medical school has its own financialaid office that is different than the largerschools' financial aid office. so you're definitelygoing to want to see if your medicalschool of interest does have its own financialaid office that you can contact and ask questions of them.

director zanders: there aresome national websites as well, like-- director jocelyn: fastweb. director zanders:and i think we're going to show those websitesin a moment on the screen. but there are a number ofwebsites with scholarship searches available. and again, you haveto do your homework. you have to get out there andlook to see what's available.

and then apply, make sureyou meet the deadlines for each of those scholarships. and you have as good opportunityfor those as anyone else. you just have to do the work. ms. williams: great questions. please keep askingthem in our chat space, or on twitter using thehashtag #studyintheusa. let's go back to ourviewing group in mongolia for a few more questions.

makwala: hello. my name's makwala. i'm in my last yearof high school. and i'm interested inwhat kind of financial aid and scholarship are availablefor undergraduate students and program, especiallyin architecture field. ms. williams: ok. so you're askingabout financial aid in undergraduateprograms, especially

the architectural field. correct? ok, perfect. director zanders:ok, i think we've answered that in generalterms, but it's not much differentfor undergraduates than it is for graduatesfor f1 students. there may be scholarships,private grants available, institutional grants available.

but you need to get outthere, look at the websites, do those national searches,find out what type of aid is available at eachinstitution, what types of scholarships are available. and then make sure you haveapplied by those deadlines. if you have thatvisa status that would allow you to applyfor u.s. federal grants, or state grants, that wouldbe a whole different set of financial aid opportunities.

but i'm guessing mostof you, being f1 status, would need to look for privategrants and scholarships. director jocelyn:to add to that, looking into the internationalstudent scholarships area-- for instance, at gw,if you come there and you complete afull year of courses, you could then potentiallyapply for institutional grant assistance. as well as, i haveheard at many schools

there are grants forinternational students based on your performanceon act and sat scores. so if you're planningto take those to be admittedinto a u.s. school, they may in facthave an application for an international grantbased on your performance on those different tests. mongolia, do you haveanother question for us? shintur: yes.

hi guys. my name is shintur. and i want to study inusa in bachelor degree, and i'm interested in vocalist. so i heard that inart majors, it's really hard to get scholarship. so is it possible to getscholarship in vocalist? ms. williams: in what? i'm sorry, can you repeat thefield one more time, please?

shintur: vocalist. singer. ms. williams: oh, vocalist! wonderful. ok, great. ok, so you're lookingfor specific funding to help you in an undergraduatedegree as a vocalist. any advice? director zanders: there aremusic scholarships available.

again, depending onwhich institution you're planning toattend, there may be music scholarships available. normally, they wouldrequire an audition, and you would have to preparesome sort of tape, audition tape, for them initially. and then they maywant you to appear before they finalizethe scholarship, and do a performance.

but some schools do offerscholarships for music. and they may or maynot be need-based. they could bestrictly merit-based. is that true at gw? do you know whether youhave anything like that? director jocelyn:i know that there are different opportunities. i've seen students whohave pep band scholarships. i haven't seen anything at gwin particular for vocalists,

but that just may mean thati haven't seen that when i've been counseling our students. but again, as joanhas reiterated, i think reallydoing your research and your homework aboutwhat type of opportunities are available inthat music department at that specific school. or there are actuallymusic schools. so i would say, reallydo that research

and find one that you thinkmight be a good fit for you. ms. williams: a viewerasked, how do we narrow down our research for scholarships? director jocelyn:that's a big question. it always helps if you havean idea of where you're planning to attend, becausethose institutions have their own sets of scholarships. but just like at nova,we also advertise those national websites.

and if you're looking for aparticular type of scholarship, those search sites willhelp you narrow down what types of scholarships,and which scholarships might be available to you. again, it's doingyour research, knowing what it is you're lookingfor to start with, checking with thedifferent institutions, going to their websites,using the scholarship websites for those nationalsearch options,

and then justfollowing up with it. i always tell students, knowhow to write a good essay. and don't just think that weunderstand, because we don't. and the scholarshipcommittees that are viewing thoseapplications are going to look very criticallyat your essay question. and what have you doneoutside of just going to school as well? sometimes those factorsplay a big role in whether

or not receive a scholarship. ms. williams:that's a great point about the essay, becauseour next question asks, what are some usefultips for writing a good financialscholarship application? so is there anythingyou'd like to add to that? director jocelyn:i would say maybe, if you are going to beapplying for scholarships and they're askingspecific questions,

i would look to finda way to connect your personal uniqueexperience to whatever question they're asking. you want to show thatyou're a really good fit for that particularscholarship, and will do well if you are to receive it, wouldbe a suggestion i would have. ms. williams: our viewinggroup at utech lab athens ask, will financial aid cover bothtuition and living expenses? director zanders: the favoriteanswer in financial aid

is, it depends. and it really does depend onthe amount of the financial aid, and what it'sdesignated to cover. there are some scholarships,and some aid types, that are for tuition fees only. and then there are otherscholarships and aid types that aregentle enough, they can cover any of thecosts of education while you're attending school.

so again, it dependson the type of aid. ms. williams: alot of viewers are asking about financialaid for english. can you talk a little bitabout funding for studying english in the u.s.? director jocelyn: the firstquestion i would have is, is this an englishprogram to help you gain the requisitelevel of english speaking to attend a program?

when it comes toa non-degree, i'm not certain of fundingsources to assist you. however, there may bein-country opportunities to support english learning. so maybe before you evenattend a school in the u.s., you might want to look into whatyour local in-country resources are. have you heard of any fundingopportunities for english? director zanders: not forenglish as a second language.

i know there are some workforcedevelopment programs that may be a little less expensive. but most of thetime, if a student is applying for financialaid in the united states, they should bedegree-seeking students. if you're attending anenglish as a second language, or as we call them,esl class, prior to attending aprogram of study, it depends on the levelof english where

you're starting before you canbe considered program-placed in a regular program of study. if you're alsoprogram-placed, and just taking esl to improvewhat you already know, then there is possible funding. but if you're starting fromscratch with an english as a second languageprogram, i'm not aware of funding thatwould be available for that. again, as jennifersaid, there might

be something evenin your own country if there is encouragementto learn english, that could be available to you. ms. williams: one ofour online viewers asked, does financial aidcover online programs? director zanders: it canin the united states. i don't know that there wouldbe an online program that would be covered while you'reliving in your home country, taking an online program.

but in the united states,we do cover online classes. i think there are somerestrictions though-- are there not?-- on thenumber of online classes that an internationalstudent can take. director jocelyn: thereare online degree programs. but again, i'm notsure if there's funding forinternational students to complete thoseonline program. director zanders: andi do think-- check

with your embassy, orwith the individuals who are answering thequestions about visas, but i think there are somerestrictions on how many online credits you can takeand be considered an f1 student inthe united states. ms. williams: ranginafrom tajikistan is asking about financialaid for family members. what funding is availablefor students who might be bringing families with them?

director zanders:unfortunately, i'm not aware of anything that wouldbe available for the family. the cost of attendancecovers room and board, but it's designated as roomand board for the student. and because you'rerenting a place, you may be able toaccommodate family members with that same rent. but as far as feedingthe whole family, or providing transportationcosts or health costs,

or anything of thatnature for families, the only thing thatcould be a possibility is if a research institutionmaybe wants you badly enough that they're willing tofund more than just the cost for the student. but i'm not aware of anythingthat covers families. ms. williams: sholiain baku american center writes that technicaluniversities in the united states are expensive.

do universities helpsecure internships for international students,and how long will it take for a student to obtainhis or her intern employment? director jocelyn: as faras i know, i think-- again, this comes down to doing yourhomework before you come. i know this is soundinglike the same thing that we've been repeating,but it's really the truth. we're speaking in generalitiesabout schools here in the u.s., and i think it can bevery different from school

to school. so if you're very interestedin getting internships, i would definitely, again,reach out to those universities that you're interested in, seehow strong their internship programs are, so that you candetermine whether that would be a good fit foryou if you were admitted to that institution. director zanders: now,there's some graduate programs where an internship maybe available immediately,

if you're acceptedinto that program. but if you're in anundergraduate program, most of the schoolsthat i have worked with don't have internships untila little later in the program. they might be junior year,senior year, not starting with the freshman year. and because of that, then theinternship might be delayed. ms. williams: ok, we havea lot of viewers joining in from around the world, includingcentral and eastern europe.

our viewing group at theamerican center in baku asks, are there any specificscholarships for students from the post sovietunion countries? director zanders: i think thatwould be up to a private donor. i'm not aware of any that arespecific to post soviet union countries. but again, there couldbe a donor out there, or someone in thoseinternational searches, that is specifying a scholarshipfor students from post soviet

union countries. once again, do the research, dothe searches on the websites, and see what might be out there. director jocelyn: yeah ithink there's-- one thing to understand aboutuniversities here in the u.s., is most universities,if not all, have somethingcalled an endowment. and that helps us tofund, not only the school, but also studentsand scholarships.

and i have seen somevery interesting, different specific scholarshipsthat you wouldn't even imagine we would have. so if you are from a postsoviet union country, it's very possible thatsomeone from your area went to that particularschool, and happened to have had such a greatexperience that they created an endowed scholarship. so it really is worth askingthose type of questions

to see if your uniqueexperience, and your uniqueness in your ownapplication, matches you with something just like that. so it's worth askingthose questions. ms. williams: one of ouramerican corners in tajikistan asked, does toefl and gpa playa role in getting financial aid? director zanders: toeflscores are the scores that would help you knowwhat level of english, where you need to start with english.

and i'm guessing untilyou're in a program of study, the scholarshipswould be limited. gpa does play a rolefor most scholarships in the united states, ifthere's any merit attached to the scholarship at all. anything additional from gw? director jocelyn: no, i thinkgpa plays a big role, i think. when students are admittedto gw is when they are offered merit scholarships.

and so, the strongeracademic application you submit, there ishopefully more of a chance that you'll receive amerit scholarship that would in fact be-- for instance,at gw, it's for four years. maybe five depending uponthe length of your program. so, i would say do the best youcan to perform academically, and hopefully therewill be those type of opportunities at theschool you're interested in. director zanders: i wouldalso caution students to check

the length of a scholarship. if you receive ascholarship, there are some institutionsthat will give you a scholarship for one year. it may or may not be renewablefor the following years. so if you're countingon that scholarship to pay for all ofyour years, make sure you know what the termsof the scholarship are. find out whether you have tohave a certain grade point

average for it to continue. or find out if it is evenintended to continue more than that first year. that can make a bigdifference in whether or not you can afford to go to school. director jocelyn: true,and i have actually counseled a lot ofstudents who may not have been performingacademically once they are inschool, and then

risk losing the very importantscholarship that they have earned upon admission. so getting here is one thing,but performing when you're here is another. director zanders: absolutely. ms. williams: before wemove on to more questions, i want to give a shoutout to achyderabad, india, and american corners in tajikistan. does applications for financialaid affect acceptance rates?

director zanders: itdoesn't in our school, and it's not supposed to atany school, but i know it can. ms. williams: it can, buti think a lot of schools are what they callneed-blind upon admission, which means that they're notlooking at your level of need. now, this dependsalso on whether you're applying for additional fundingif you are a u.s. citizen or a permanent resident. but i have seen thatat different schools,

they have different policies. director zanders: there also isa limit on the amount of money that each institutionhas to spend. there are some of thehigher cost colleges that have huge foundations,and they may have more available funding. but most schoolshave a limit on what they can spend fromtheir foundations, and from theirinstitutional sources.

so it could be that afterso many financial aid students apply, they just don'thave any additional funding. it may not limit youracceptance to the institution, but it might mean that youare going to be required to pay that additional cost. ms. williams: we have anotherquestion in from baku american center, asking, will astudent have to pay taxes? director jocelyn: that's aninteresting question, actually. i know that at gw, we do havea tax group that does work

with international students. i believe that if you areemployed by the institution, that you may have to pay taxes. but i believe if you aregoing to be coming and being employed, i would certainlyinquire with your school if you will have topay taxes on that. i'm not sure if you're payingtaxes on any scholarships, or merit that youmight be taking. you may.

director zanders: you can. if you are receivingmore grant funding, gift aid, than your tuition,fees, books and supplies, than any amount overthat could be taxable. and then you add that toany employment earnings, and it's possible that youwill have file a tax return. however, as a student, ithink it's somewhat rare that even after youfile the tax return, you're really having to paymuch out of pocket to cover

those taxes. if there was any withholdingat all on your earnings, then most of thetime, you might be getting money back instead ofhaving to pay additional taxes. if you're having topay taxes, you've done extremely well withthe scholarships and grants. from botswana askedabout financial aid for international studentswith disabilities. director zanders: again,that's one of those

that there may be scholarshipsand grants out there specific to studentswith disabilities. there may be someinstitutions that have a pool of funds forthat particular category. to my knowledge,there's nothing that says any studentwith a disability can apply for thisparticular scholarship. in the united states,we have something that's called vocationalrehabilitation,

but i believe that would belimited to u.s. citizens, or eligible noncitizens. and otherwise, you wouldjust have to do the research and see what might be out there,either from the institution, or from the scholarshipsearch service. director jocelyn:it may actually be worth-- a lot of schoolsnow have, for instance at gw we have disabilitysupport services. so it may be-- notonly if you want

to learn about how you canbe supported when you're at that particular institution. just from a physical,emotional type of standpoint, they may actuallybe able to help you learn more about any fundingopportunities through that. so i would definitelylook at the school to see if they have a disabilitysupport services department. director zanders: ithink there are also some organizationsin the united states

that would assist studentswith specific disabilities. i know that there is anassociation for the blind that assists with some funding. but i would, as jennifer said,go to your disability services office at the particularschool, and they may have more informationon that particular subject. ms. williams: let's go back toour viewing group in mongolia student: hi, can tell aboutresources and websites about scholarship?

ms. williams: ok,just so i'm clear, you're asking aboutresources for scholarships? student: yeah. resources and websitesabout scholarships. ms. williams: oh, andwebsites about scholarships. director zanders: did wehave that slide available? are you going toshow that later? we have a slide,i know that we're going to put up, thatwould give you all

of those different websites. there's one there's one, and another that' and those all have a multitudeof scholarships on them that students cansearch, and find particular criteriathat might apply to you and your program of study. ms. williams: and we can makesure those links are also

available in the web chat. thank you for your question. student: hello, ladies. could you explainthe options for those who have u.s. passportsor green cards? ms. williams: ok, so make surei understand the question. to explain aboutfinancial aid for those who already have a green card? is that correct?

director zanders:yes, i can do that. if you have a green card, orpermanent resident status, you are eligible to fill outthe free application for federal student aid. and that could thenpotentially qualify you for any of the different federalaid programs-- and sometimes the state programs,depending on the state. fill out the free applicationfor federal student aid. if you're planning to attendcollege in the fall of 2016,

you can fill out that freeapplication for federal student aid now, and the earlieryou do it, the better. if you file a taxreturn in your country, make sure you have completedyour tax return first. and then use that informationto fill out the free application i want to warnstudents a little bit about a change that's comingfor the fall of 2017- 2018. usually, studentsup until this year can start filling outthe fafsa as of january 1

for the following fall. starting for thefall of 2017- 2018, students can beginfilling out that free application for federal studentaid, or fafsa, on october 1, 2016. and you'll be using the same taxyear information, which would be 2015 tax return information. keep that in mind,because that's a change that's going to beoccurring during this year.

but if you are applyingfor this coming fall, fill out that freeapplication right away. get all of your applicationfor admission information in, so that the school canoffer you an award package. ms. williams: all right, let'sget back to some more questions do my sat scores and gpa helpin receiving financial aid? director jocelyn: i think ihad alluded to that earlier. depending upon theschool that you apply to, they may havescholarships, depending

on how you perform, bothacademically from a gpa standpoint, and/or how youperform on an sat or act test. so it really dependsfrom school to school, but there are possibleopportunities out there based on your academic performance. ms. williams: ok, we havea question from pakistan. do summer enrichment programs,like pre-collegiate programs at universities, help duringthe admission process? and can i getfinancial aid for this?

director zanders: iwould say that's some of the pre-admissionsprograms may give the institutionan opportunity to get to know the student. and in thoseinstances, it might be helpful in receivingsome type of assistance. but you're likely notgoing to know that prior to coming to the institution. and as far asgetting financial aid

for a pre-summer program,unless that program is part of a program of study,it might be a rare opportunity if there would beanything available to assist with that funding. normally there's morelike orientation programs, or there may besomething in there for esl, or if there's anydevelopmental studies needed. that might be part ofthat pre-admission summer. and in those instances,i would most likely

say there's not going to befinancial aid available to fund them. director jocelyn: ok, so anotherquestion from tajikistan asks, is it possible to takedistance education for free from u.s. universitiesin order to get a degree? director zanders: there aremoocs, what we call moocs out there thatare open programs, but they don't necessarilylead to a degree. they just lead togaining the knowledge.

online educationis generally going to cost you as much astaking in-seat classes, with the exception thatyou can stay at home and take the classes. as we mentionedbefore, i think there is a limit on thenumber of online courses that a student can take,if they are an f1 student and maintain an f1 statuswithin the united states. online's always goingto be available,

but i don't think it'sgoing to be for free. are you aware thatare free of charge? director jocelyn: no, buti think moocs are actually a great way to see whatan online course might feel like and look like,and see how you do in that. a lot of really prestigiousuniversities here and in the states aredoing those moocs. so it's worth checking them out,just for-- more informational, i think, than anything.

director zanders: and thereare opportunities occasionally to use priorlearning assessments to gain some college credits,depending on the institution. but you'd have to go through atesting process, or a portfolio process, and therewould still be a charge to get those credits,even for prior learning. and if you took the moocs, youmight have the prior learning, but there still would be acost to getting the college credit for it.

ms. williams: sholiafrom baku asks, why education or somecourses in the united states are more expensive than in othercountries, and is it worth it? director jocelyn: i think it'sa great question, actually. when it comes to use studyingin the u.s., what i've seen, and maybe joan cantalk to her experience at community colleges, butas i've studied this field, and looked at the costof attending school here in the u.s., you have seen thecost continue to rise, year

after year after year. a lot of that may have to dowith just the services provided around attending school. so you may be seeing tuitioncosts for those courses go up, because when you comeand live on campus, you have services thatare offered to you, both living, food,student engagement. you have activities. so i think there are a lotof other costs that come up.

now, the question ofit-- is it worth it? i think it dependson the investment that you're making in that. and one place i think that youcould learn a little bit more, if you're very data-oriented,is i would go and take a look at payscale collegereturn on investment report. i think maybe they'll put upthe web url at some point here. but what you canlook at on there, is you can actuallycompare and contrast

different schools and the returnon investment for 20 years out. so you invest up front, and thenhow are those students doing 20 years out? are they getting a returnon their investment? and i think that's oneway to potentially answer the question, is it worth it? but i think getting atleast a bachelor's degree is really important tonot only your enrichment, but your potential successwhether you're in the u.s.

or abroad. director zanders: it's alsoimportant to understand the different types ofcolleges in the united states. there are private collegesthat are in the business to make money, and they maycost you a little bit more. some of them are verygood, some of them are not. there are also privatecolleges that are outstanding, have been here for a long time. they have wonderful degreesand high academic achievement.

there are also public colleges,and the public colleges are typically less expensive,because they have tax support. so instead of the studentpaying the full cost, the taxpayers in theunited states help fund some of those costs. and if you're a nonresidentstudent and paying out-of-statetuition, you're going to be making up some ofthose additional costs. but every college is different,and it's extremely important

that you, again,do the research. check to see what thehistory of that college is. see whether or not they'repart of that website that says this is a good purchase. don't think just becauseit's higher cost, it's going to bea better school, because many times it isn't. but you've got todo the research and figure out whichschool is going

to be best for you, which oneoffers the program of study that you want and need, andthen what is their history? can they offer me what i want? are their courses transferableto another institution, in the event that thisone doesn't work for me? and there are someinstitutions where every single courseyou take is going to be transferable to other colleges. there are otherswhere they may not

be what we callregionally accredited. if they're notregionally accredited, some schools won'ttake their credits. so it's very importantthat you do the research and find out what type ofinstitution this really is. ms. williams: ok, onlineviewers including our viewing group at utech labathens, are asking about sports scholarships. can you tell us about that?

director jocelyn: i can talka little bit about that. i actually played divisioni college basketball here and for instance,at my alma mater, more than-- i think60% of our men's team was actually international. so if you are reallyexcelling at sports, i think it's definitelyworth even inquiring of that athleticdepartment at that school. do they have anyscholarship opportunities?

if you're an amazingplayer, you might be looking at a lot ofopportunities for scholarships. but even division ii anddivision iii athletic programs may or may not have thelevel of scholarship that you might find ata big public institution in the division i level. but there are opportunities. it's always, again, worth askingof those athletic departments. director zanders:and there are even

some community colleges thatoffer athletic scholarships. not many, but thereare some that do. ms. williams: azmaasked, what is the average cost of universityfor a year in the u.s.? does it differ a lot fromregion to region and university to university? director zanders: yes, itdoes vary a great deal. most of the time, thebiggest difference in the cost of attendanceis in the tuition and fees.

and there are someareas of the country, as we mentioned before, thatmay be more expensive for living expenses as well. but the biggest costdifference is going to be in the tuition and fees. and again, that may varyfrom school to school based on whether it'sa private school, or whether it's apublic institution. average cost-- we alsodo a separate budget

if the student is livingat home with parents, as opposed to living onhis or her own, simply because you've got more expenseif you're living on your own. but for northern virginiacommunity college, for an out-of-statestudent, i would say you're looking at a costof attendance of about $25,000, but that's everything. that's room andboard, transportation, personal miscellaneousexpenses, tuition

and fees, books and supplies. that covers the basic cost. if you are an in-statestudent, all of those costs could be in the neighborhoodof $16,000, instead of $25,000. or $20,000, depending onwhere the student is living. ms. williams: and i thinkto help you answer the cost question, and lookingat the differences, another great siteis college scorecard. it's something thatpresident obama really

pushed in the last, ithink, two years or so. and it's a great way to lookat how those costs sort of line up from school to school. so you can reallytake a look at one, and say oklahoma versus newyork city versus san francisco, and you may see exactly thesame cost of attendance. or you may not. so it's worth lookingat using something like that tool to really seehow things are different.

director zanders: butwhen i was talking about the cost ofattendance at nova, just as an example--the tuition and fees for an in-state studentis going to be more in the neighborhood of about$5,000 to $6,000 a year, depending on the number ofcredits the student takes. that's a small piece of thetotal cost of attendance. at another school that'sa private institution, that tuition fees may bea much higher percentage

of the total cost. there are someinstitutions in the united states with tuition andfees-- what, $45,000, $60,000? so it depends a greatdeal on which school you're planning to attend. and again, check that out. most of the websitesare going to give you those costs ofattendance figures. and do that research,and then you'll

know what those costsare going to be. let's go back to ourviewing group of mongolia for a final question. mongolia, do you havea question for us? student: we don'thave any questions. ms. williams: no more questions? that's great. well, thank you so much,mongolia, for joining us today. it looks like weare out of time.

so i'd like to thank everyonefor their participation in today's web chat. thank you all toour online viewers, including all thosewatching in viewing groups. a special thank youagain to mongolia. and of course, a very bigthank you to jennifer and joan. i'm really glad you wereable to make it in today. if you have any questions, goto your nearest educationusa advising center in your country.

or joan, jennifer, do you haveany final thoughts you'd like to share before we close? director zanders:i just want to say, i hope we didn't discourage you. we want to provide thosecautions, because there's this sense sometimes that thestreets in the united states are paved with gold. and they're not.

it's just as difficult forstudents within the united states, sometimes, to pay forthe cost of higher education. but at same time, there arelots of resources out there. and each institution is goingto have something available. so just to do that research,plan, start planning early. make sure you meetthe deadlines, do a great job on yourscholarship application, complete the admissionprocess early, and there areopportunities for you.

and we'd love to have youstudy in the united states. it is a wonderful place to come. i'd like to visit yourcountries as well. and hopefully somedaywe'll be able to do that. director jocelyn: andagain, i would just say, this is a great opportunityfor us to speak with you. again, we would love tohave you here in the states, and we reallyencourage you to look at the opportunitiesthat are out there

and do that researchas joan said. and again, i would justreiterate that this truly is an investment. and it's an investmentin your future. and it is worth it. i really do think it's worth it. and again, i do hope tovisit as well sometime. so thank you forhaving us here today. director zanders:that world perspective

makes all the difference. director jocelyn: yes,it definitely does. director zanders: andthe more opportunities that you have to do that,the better rounded you're going to be, andthe better prepared you're going to be to workin a global workforce. ms. williams: thankyou, joan and jennifer. a recording of this programwill be available on this page tomorrow, so pleasecome back and watch.

we hope all ofour online viewers can join us forour next web chat. we'll update the websitewith more information soon.