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International students completely funded by assistantships: myth or fact?


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Hello everybody!

I want to apply for a PhD program in USA to start in 2015. I am already doing the shortlist, applying for scholarships in my own country...but they are extremely competitive and I have an exceptional ability to choose topics that scholarship-givers don´t regard as relevant.

Thus, I wonder if I should apply anyway and hope to get funding from the university which accepts me...but I don´t know if this actually happens!  I have asked  in some of the schools and they told me so, but I need real-life examples.  Is there any International student around that have been able to undertake his/her studies in USA counting solely on assistantships??

Thanks!

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I am fully funded by my program. My program requires students to TA for two semesters out of the ten we have in residency, and the rest of the time we don't have any obligations in exchange for the funding. All top programs in linguistics fully fund all of their students, and the teaching requirements vary from school to school depending on the school's needs. You should find out about the norms in your field, because I'm not sure my experience helps you at all. 

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I am fully funded by my program too. All of the offers I received were also fully funded offers, from both public and private schools. All of these offers came with varying research and teaching assistantship requirements, of course. In my field, it's usual for both international and domestic students to end up with about the same level of funding--the department bears the extra cost of international fees etc, which is why it is much harder for an international student to get admission to a program. It's common for physical science programs to fund their students. But as fuzzy says, you should check what the norms in your field are!

Edited by TakeruK
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Hello everybody!

I want to apply for a PhD program in USA to start in 2015. I am already doing the shortlist, applying for scholarships in my own country...but they are extremely competitive and I have an exceptional ability to choose topics that scholarship-givers don´t regard as relevant.

Thus, I wonder if I should apply anyway and hope to get funding from the university which accepts me...but I don´t know if this actually happens!  I have asked  in some of the schools and they told me so, but I need real-life examples.  Is there any International student around that have been able to undertake his/her studies in USA counting solely on assistantships??

Thanks!

 

If you are applying to Ecology and Evolutionary Biology-type programs (which seemed like it might be, judging from your listed program), then you almost certainly would receive full funding (in the form of teaching or research assistantships) for a certain number of years. I'm an international student and the programs I'm interviewing with all offer me 5 years guaranteed funding.

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Just to reiterate what everyone else said: The short answer is "Yes". If the programs you're applying to have funding available for graduate students you will, just like the American students, receive funding through research assistantships, teaching assistantship, and/or fellowship money. The offer will vary depending on the school/program and what your record looks like. It might also change during the course of yours studies. I'm currently on a fellowship but since it is limited to one year I will either receive a teaching or research assistantship through the department next year.

 

Good luck!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Yes, International students are funded during their PhD by US universities.

 

Evidence: I received a fully funded PhD admit last week for the fall 14 semester:). It’s a graduate assistantship and includes a monthly stipend, 100% tuition waiver and health insurance.

 

I think, getting a funded admit mainly depends on the program. Some programs offer full funding to all admitted students, other programs may fund only some of the new admits while there are programs which offer only fellowships to new students (fellowships may not cover all costs and are offered to very few candidates in the whole university).

 

So, ask around before choosing programs. Choosing the right program may increase the chances of getting funded admits.

 

But there’s a catch, if u only apply to programs offering funding to all admitted students, then u might face an ALL OR NONE situation. If your application falls short compared to the other applicants, you might end up with no admits. So, choose some of the other types of programs, too.

 

I hope this helps.

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But there’s a catch, if u only apply to programs offering funding to all admitted students, then u might face an ALL OR NONE situation. If your application falls short compared to the other applicants, you might end up with no admits. So, choose some of the other types of programs, too.

 

This is true, but I would like to offer a different twist on this advice. I think before you apply, you should decide whether or not it's worth it to do a PhD if you are not going to be funded. Many people, including me, would not do a PhD without full funding! So, if you are not willing to go without funding, it will save you time and energy to only apply to "ALL or NONE" type programs (which is pretty much all the programs in my field anyways).

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  • 5 months later...

Yes I would like to add to this and say that it is possible- however be very careful when calculating living expenses. I have known a few international students who relied solely on their TAships and didn't realize how much would be taken out of their paychecks for taxes and insurance, not to mention that many TA's have 8 month contracts and cannot work during the summers.

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Yes, but be careful about state schools. I ended up not applying to UCLA and UC Berkeley because they weren't able to offer international students a full package, since it costs them more to educate us than it does a US citizen.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Yes, but be careful about state schools. I ended up not applying to UCLA and UC Berkeley because they weren't able to offer international students a full package, since it costs them more to educate us than it does a US citizen.

 

In fact, it costs them more to educate even US citizens that aren't residents of the state the school is in, for the only reason that tuition waivers discriminate only for state residency, unless internationals incur additional costs that domestics don't.

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In fact, it costs them more to educate even US citizens that aren't residents of the state the school is in, for the only reason that tuition waivers discriminate only for state residency, unless internationals incur additional costs that domestics don't.

 

I think I might remember seeing some schools that have three tiers of tuition (in-state resident, out-of-state, international) but I might have remembered wrongly!

 

However, one thing is certain is that US citizens that are out-of-state can usually gain in-state status after 1 year of residency. International students can never become in-state residents so this is why it's still cheaper for a school to take a US citizen than an international student. (In fact, some schools will only provide tuition waiver for the in-state rate for American citizenships beyond year one).

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However, one thing is certain is that US citizens that are out-of-state can usually gain in-state status after 1 year of residency.

That's actually only true for some states but not others. Some states will let any US citizen become a resident after one year of living there, but others don't allow students to become residents no matter how long they live there. You have to live in the state for one year prior to applying to school to be considered a resident and be eligible to pay in-state tuition. 

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That's actually only true for some states but not others. Some states will let any US citizen become a resident after one year of living there, but others don't allow students to become residents no matter how long they live there. You have to live in the state for one year prior to applying to school to be considered a resident and be eligible to pay in-state tuition. 

 

My point stands: in-state vs. out-of-state is a factor at public schools. How much of a factor depends a lot on which state school, and correlates somewhat to how much of a tuition differential exists. But at those schools where state residency is a factor, are out-of-state domestics advantaged over internationals or not? One would think that the cost of tuition waivers would be the same for an out-of-stater vs. an international most of the time (and schools in those states where students don't have the opportunity to become residents of the school's state would then be sensitive to state residency)

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But at those schools where state residency is a factor, are out-of-state domestics advantaged over internationals or not? 

 

Out-of-state students who are US citizens can become residents of the state and pay in-state tuition after a year (at least in some states). International students can never become residents and have to pay out-of-state tuition for the entire duration of their program. I think at least some states also distinguish in-state, out-of-state, and international, but a quick google search didn't yield anything that seemed relevant so maybe I'm wrong on that one. 

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