Private, residential liberal arts colleges are an excellent choice for many undergraduate international students because they offer small classes, close contact with professors, many opportunities to become involved in student organizations and to cultivate leadership skills, good advice from caring career center staff about internships, connections with alumni networks around the world (which often help a lot in the job-seeking process) and a wide variety of majors.
They may also look like they are too expensive for you to be able to afford. Don’t let ‘sticker shock’ stop you from applying. Sticker shock refers to the moment someone sees the price of something they really want and reacts with discouragement because that price looks very, very high.
Many liberal arts colleges offer financial assistance to international students (and to all students, in fact). At Monmouth College, the cost of college attendance is decreased through scholarships and room & board waivers.
A ‘scholarship’ is an award that the College applies toward tuition, so that the total amount of tuition you pay is decreased. A ‘room & board waiver’ decreases the amount you pay for your accommodations and meal plan as a residential student.
Usually, the College provides a scholarship amount that will be yours annually for four years of College (often you’ll need to maintain a certain grade-point average in order to retain your scholarship). The amount you will need to provide is likely to increase slightly each year, and one good way of thinking about the cost of college is to consider the total cost over four years, with the College’s total financial aid contribution, and then consider how much additional funding you’ll need year by year.
Monmouth College’s Financial Aid staff is a fantastic resource - our Financial Aid counselors can provide a snapshot overview of your costs over four years of college so that you can see what the entire package will be and what the College’s commitment is (and what yours will be).
Also, as you look at that initial figure (which can seem so high), remember that it includes room and board. You will pay ‘rent’ wherever you go in the States, and almost always it will be more than the cost of residential living on a college campus. You’ll have to pay for meals no matter where you live, and, again, a meal plan that covers three meals per day, seven days a week, at Monmouth College is similar to the cost of food you would purchase and prepare on your own (and less trouble).
Monmouth College’s basic room and board fee in 2012-013 was, for example, $7,300 for the year, or $3,650 per semester (four months). That’s $912.50 per month – including (including!!) meals. Living on campus is a great way to be introduced to life in the United States as a student - you will have a ‘home base’ in a friendly, safe and welcoming educational setting.
Monmouth College can award financial assistance to international students once the student’s application is complete and he or she is admitted. This means that we first need to see all of the necessary pieces of your application (the on-line form, the language proficiency certification such as ELS certificate or TOEFL or IELTS score, high school class scores / transcript, and letters of recommendation). And you won’t know how affordable Monmouth College really is until you hear from our Financial Aid Office! So the first step in finding out the true cost of Monmouth College is completing your application for admission.
It is true that there are costs associated with study in the States. You’ll need a student visa, and you will have travel costs. And we look at your ability (or your family’s ability) to contribute to the cost of your education as we consider your application. Very few colleges or universities in the United States are entirely ‘need blind.’ We provide ‘merit-based’ scholarships, not ‘need-based’ scholarships for international students.
The bottom line is that an undergraduate education at a small, private liberal arts college like Monmouth College is for many international students an excellent choice. It is an investment in your future. The degree is valuable. An education at Monmouth College is also less expensive than it may seem at first glance. Sometimes, it is much, much less expensive. You do not know until you ask!
PS: A news story appeared in US NEWS that may be of assistance to international students. It is entitled “Three Steps for International Students to Start Saving for College.” (http://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/paying-for-college/articles/2012/08/08/3-steps-for-international-students-to-start-saving-for-college). Good advice – always start with EducationUSA (http://educationusa.state.gov/) and with IIE’s Funding for Study in the States (http://www.fundingusstudy.org/).