Studying in the US: Four Kinds of Financial Aid

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This is the VOA Special English Education Report.

This week in our Foreign Student Series, we return to a subject we have discussed before: financial aid. This time we are going to talk about financial aid in the form of assistantships, grants, scholarships and fellowships.

An assistantship at a university is a job that is paid with money or free classes. These positions usually go to graduate students to assist a professor for about twenty hours a week. The assistants may teach, grade papers and tests, or do research in a laboratory.

A grant is a gift of money. Unlike a loan, a grant does not have to be repaid. Grants can come from public or private organizations. Schools often receive donations for this purpose. Some grants are for general purposes of paying for school, while others are offered in a subject area.

Scholarships and fellowships do not have to be repaid either. A scholarship is financial aid to undergraduates; a fellowship is for graduate students.

Scholarships and fellowships are generally for students with special abilities or interests. Some are based on financial need. Others may go to students who live in a certain area or meet other conditions.

Our example this week is the University of Missouri-Columbia, or Mizzou. That school has a number of financial aid programs for international students. One of them is the Global Heritage Scholarship. It pays up to about seven thousand five hundred dollars a year. But this scholarship goes only to foreign students whose mother or father graduated from Mizzou.

Another aid program is called the Global Tiger Scholarship. This one is supported by the Mizzou Alumni Association. International students can receive one thousand dollars. In return they agree to provide service to the association during the school year.

Still another program for international students at Mizzou is called the Curators Grant-in-Aid Program. This is for undergraduate or graduate students who get good grades and take part in university activities. The program is especially for those who have unexpected or unusual financial needs that can affect their progress at school.

Colleges and universities may provide all the details of their financial aid programs online. You can find a link to the Web site of the University of Missouri-Columbia at You can also find the earlier reports in our Foreign Student Series and download transcripts and audio files.

And that's the VOA Special English Education Report, written by Nancy Steinbach. I'm Steve Ember.