Once prospective students submit their application to particular universities, they can be considered for institutional financial aid. Common types of aid include merit-based scholarships, fellowships, and assistantships, none of which need to be paid back.
Scholarship is a kind of aid that is typically awarded to undergraduate students. It can be based on students’ academic performance or athletic, artistic, or some other skill and cover all or part of students’ costs to attend university. Some scholarships are a one-time amount of money while others are renewable, under certain conditions.
Fellowships and assistantships are given to graduate students and may require a separate application process. Fellowships often provide graduate school students with research experience and assistantships usually require students to conduct research or teach undergraduate courses. In addition to reducing or covering tuition costs, fellowships and assistantships may provide students with a stipend, health insurance, and other benefits.
College Scholarship Service (CSS) Profile
The CSS Profile is a tool that many universities use to evaluate international students’ eligibility to receive non-federal financial aid. It is completed by the student and their family online. It collects information about students’ family income, assets, and expenses. It costs 25 USD to complete a CSS Profile for the first university and 16 USD for each additional university. However, it is possible for students to request a fee waiver if they meet certain needs criteria and contact the university they are applying to and receive a waiver code. The CSS Profile usually opens in August and the deadline for filing a CSS Profile is set by each university, according to the timeline of their application and financial aid processes. Most deadlines are between January 1-March 31. Screen-by-screen tutorials are available to help fill out the CSS Profile.