Financing Your US University Education

The line “show me the money” became famous in Jerry McGuire–a movie about professional athletes. Essentially, it highlighted the essence of American’s emphasis on acquiring the full value for their services. We succinctly put it in American slang as “getting paid.”

There are three broad financial issues to pre-consider in selecting your study destination and ultimately your school. They all invariably relate to that theme, “show me the money.”

  1. How much money should I allocate for my education in the USA?
  2. Where can I find the money for my education in the USA?
  3. What kind of payoff should I expect in return for my investment?

These three factors are general and somewhat broad, but it will encapsulate your circumstance.

How much money do I need?

So just how much money do you need to allocate for your education? Of course this is directly related to the school you choose. Each school has a specific fee structure that applies to international students. Typically, out-of-state fees apply in state schools, and private schools either charge the standard tuition, or the tuition plus some additional surcharge, usually called an international student advising fee or similar name.

You are expected to have the full amount of one year’s costs available to show the embassy by way of a bank statement of affidavit of support. But in reality, you should have four years of such support.

The university will give you an estimate for a calendar year of all expenses, including room and board and tuition, and you will then prove to them that you have the means before they issue you the documents. You should at least have up front access to twice that actual figure, or two and a half years of costs, before leaving home. The actual amount of that figure would be determined by the cost of the school.

To learn more about determining how much money you need, read: “How Much Money Do I Need, To Study In The United States?

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Linda March 22, 2014 at 6:17 am

Hi I’m a Kenyan citizen and would like to apply for my masters in PA,USA. The person sponsoring my education is my uncle(us citizen) .In Kenya its very difficult to convince USA consulate.So which supporting documents should I carry with me to convince US consulate.

Thank you


Professor_B March 23, 2014 at 1:36 pm

Well if you are doing your master’s, you should have a SOLID GRE score, some evidence of your research, your admission letter, preferably some kind of scholarship or assistantship from your school. If you are paying fully for your master’s and have no prior history, then you have to overcome the most dreaded scenario—-an uncle, aunt or grandparent as the the sponsor is typically a trigger for denial….when one is not sponsored by himself, the university, or a parent, it somehow (logically within our cultural sphere) triggers a suspicion. While uncles play that role in most African societies, it does not resonate with Americans. Moreover, the VAST MAJORITY of defecting and financially irresponsible students are from these “uncle sponsored” aspirants. It is the thing to avoid. Have uncle give you the actual money if he is serious, and then put it in your account. I think that would help. OR, pay the tuition and housing for the entire year up front, and produce a receipt. It will make the university and the embassy more comfortable and in turn will enhance your possibilities.


Linda March 23, 2014 at 6:05 pm

Thanks professor that really help.I’ll follow the right procedure

Be blessed


aakash January 8, 2013 at 7:58 am

Hi i am aakash i am an American citizen and i have studied in india till 12th so i wanna ask that i want to study in my home country i.e. usa so what all exams for taking admission in a university of united states ???


Professor_B April 17, 2013 at 3:50 pm

The typical answer is just SAT or ACT and your high school transcripts. Some schools may require TOEFL because you studied in India—but they should not, give your citizenship. Let me know which part of the USA you want to be.


Professor_B June 4, 2012 at 7:58 am

Spend a bit of time practicing your diction in front of the mirror…and with a partner. That will help.


manoj August 27, 2011 at 4:05 am

im trying for us eduction. im going to try in coming problem is that im so afraid of interview because i have shy nature and cant talk nicely. what can i do to avoid my problems.can u help me?


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