Financing your Summer Studies in the U.S.
Do you want to study in the USA this summer?
Summer is a wonderful time to further your studies and explore the United States. With the proper planning you will have an exciting and rewarding experience studying abroad in America!
How Can I Afford It?
Spending a summer studying abroad in the USA can be one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of your life. Much is to be gained from the people you meet, the events you experience, and the lessons you learn. The memories you make during one summer in America can be some of the best in your life!
As an international student studying in the summer, you can experience the U.S. education system in very different ways than you would during the regular academic year. Often times, you will find summer study abroad programs to be more relaxed than semester or year programs, allowing you to more fully experience American culture!
If you carefully choose the location and school, you can combine the best features of a foreign holiday with actual study. You can improve your English language fluency, gain new professional skills and deepen your understanding of life in the USA.
International students can do all this for an affordable price. The cost of attending summer school in the United States is low compared with the cost of studying for a full year. Also, even if it is for just a summer, your U.S. education is an investment that will reward you all your life.
Cost of Summer Programs
The amount you spend will depend mainly upon how long you study in the U.S. Summer sessions are usually between 4 and 12 weeks long.
You can find updated information on the cost and length of summer courses on a university or college program’s website and in their catalog. Go to the “Contact us” form on the school’s profile page at StudyUSA.com. Write directly to the summer session office or English language program of each school that interests you, and please mention Study in the USA when you write.
It is difficult to estimate average total expenses for summer study in the U.S. because the cost of tuition and fees varies greatly from school to school. One program may include total cost from start to finish, while another has a lower fee, but charges separately for meals, accommodations, etc. To make your own comparisons, here are some of the costs to expect.
When you apply to study in a summer program, you will send an application fee along with your application. This non-refundable application fee can range from US$30 to US$75. Most institutions accept credit cards, or you can pay by check or money transfer.
Admission to some summer programs is selective. You may be asked to send copies of your grades (marks) from the school or university you last attended. If your native language is not English, you also may be asked to supply your TOEFL or IELTS score. If your TOEFL or IELTS score is below a certain level, the school may refer you to the English language program, or you may have to take an English language placement test when you arrive.
Not all U.S. institutions require the TOEFL or IELTS exam from international students. Community colleges often do not require the TOEFL or IELTS exam. Students who aren’t especially confident with their English should consider a summer intensive English program or beginning their studies at a summer community college program.
Costs of summer programs vary so much from program to program and school to school that any average price would be misleading. The quality of a program does not depend upon its cost. You will consider cost in choosing a program, but the education, experience, personal attention, facilities, geographical location, opportunities to participate in activities and excursions with other students are all important factors that should determine your final decision. Prioritize what is most important to you, and start searching for the perfect match to start your exciting summer adventure in the USA!
Similarly, there is no typical or average price for English language programs. Important factors to consider are accreditation, university and TOEFL preparation, class size, hours of instruction, and what workshops, activities or services are included with the tuition.
Health Service and Insurance:
Most summer programs charge a health service fee of about US$50 to US$80. For this fee, students can use the school clinic for treatment of minor injuries and illnesses.
Because U.S. medical costs are extremely high, you should also purchase health and accident insurance if the program does not offer an insurance plan to their students. Many schools may require you to have health insurance regardless. Factor this into your budget.
Write the school’s international student advisor or ask the academic counselor in your country about health insurance plans and options before you go to the USA. Also, always check to find out what the school requires.
You will pay special fees if you use a science laboratory, fine arts studio or athletic facilities.
Room and Board:
You can live in a residence hall during the summer at most U.S. universities and colleges, although many community colleges do not provide housing, so plan accordingly. Rooms on campus usually are available to summer program students who want them.
Most schools offer a room and board payment plan. In this case, you would pay for both your room and your cafeteria or dining hall meals. You may also buy food at the school’s cafés or campus center. Many campuses now offer a variety of food and café options, in additions to the cafeteria. An advantage to living in the dorms is that lower rent in dorm accommodations often offsets high cost of living. However, if you prefer to live off-campus in an apartment, be aware that costs, furnishings, and availability will vary greatly depending on location. Some towns have very little affordable student housing, and choosing this option can be risky as you may not find accommodations as quickly as expected and could incur very high hotel costs.
The cost of renting an apartment off campus varies widely depending upon the type of housing you find and the city you select. The United States is a large and economically diverse country, so cost of living is very different from place to place. Metropolitan cities are generally going to be more expensive.
Books and Supplies:
Students in the USA buy their own textbooks, notebooks, and other supplies. You can save a lot of money by buying used books. This can be done in your campus bookstore or online. We recommend www.efollet.com or www.amazon.com for used book bargains. At the end of your summer course, you may be able to sell your textbooks back to the bookstore or online to other students.
However, you may want to keep them so that you can continue your studies of the English language and American culture at home. Don’t let your adventures abroad end at the conclusion of your program!
You will pay up to several hundred dollars a month for transportation, entertainment, and necessities like soap, toothpaste, and stamps. You will also pay for laundry and dry-cleaning. You can often find a self-service laundry (coin or debit card operated washers and dryers) in your residence hall or near the campus.
Students are not always required to register in advance for summer programs. At many schools, you can register and pay your tuition during the first week of classes. However, as an international student you should plan ahead and reserve space in the course you want to attend by writing to the program office well in advance.
U.S. banks often delay payment of money that is transferred from foreign banks. Students should bring debit cards or have their money available in a checking account. Most programs accept credit cards. It is also a good idea to order a small amount of U.S. currency for your first few days in the USA to take care of immediate needs like a taxi or shuttle ride home from the airport. Be aware that you will also need large sums of money during the first few days of your program for things like rental deposits, textbooks, course fees, etc. Be prepared!
Financial Aid and Working in the USA
Financial aid is almost never available for summer study, even for U.S. students. Therefore, do not plan to finance even part of your summer experience through university scholarships.
You may be able to take out a private loan to cover the cost of summer study abroad, with your parents or someone else as a co-signer. It may seem like a lot of money to spend, but think of it as an investment in yourself and your future. Study abroad in the USA now, before the realities of student loans and full time work prohibit you from fulfilling your dreams of travel!
The U.S. Government regulates international student employment. International students are not allowed to work during the first academic year in the United States. You may be able to work at an on-campus job. Ask the schools you’re interested in if these opportunities are available in the summer. Also, spouses of students on F visas (most students) may not work while they are in the U.S.
Once you have experienced the life-changing effects of study abroad you will probably want to return to the U.S. to study for a longer period of time. True appreciation of another culture and people often takes a year or longer. Intercultural immersion is a lifelong gift that you give yourself, and provides you with a special capacity for understanding other cultures that cannot be obtained anywhere else.
Summer is a wonderful time to further your studies and explore the United States. With the proper planning, you will have an exciting and rewarding experience! Get started today—plan next summer’s adventure abroad to learn English and experience America firsthand!