If you intend to study at a university or academic institution in the USA then you will need to apply for an F-1 visa, which allow you to come to the USA to study.
There is a cost incurred for obtaining an F-1 visa to study in the USA which is $180.00 and is known as the SEVIS I-901 Fee (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System). The receipt of payment for this is a required document when applying for an F-1 visa.
Other required documentation includes a valid passport with at least six months validity still remaining on it (with the exception of UK passports) along with an I-20A-B Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status, which part if the application for an F-1 visa.
You will also be required to provide details of previously issues US visas if relevant along with declaring if you have ever been arrested, cautioned or convicted; ever been deported or denied entry into the USA.
There are plenty of on-campus and off-campus options for students in the USA to choose from and it is common practice for schools to send out information on where to live in their orientation packs for international students.
Many American schools offer international students on-campus accommodation so they are nearer to classrooms, cafeterias and other important resources and facilities they will ned to study.
If you don’t want to live on-campus then you can take advantage of the options for off-campus housing, there are departments within most American schools that will help you to find housing and accommodation prior to your study.
There is also the option of a homestay for students under 18 which places students in a family home within 45 minutes of your study location, which may be an ideal option for those who are nervous about living alone in a new country.
Applying to university in the USA, which you can do via several application services such as Universal College Application, Coalition Application or Common Application. These are the easiest methods to apply to more than one institution at a time but you can also apply to specific universities directly.
You will be required to take an SAT before being approved to validate your level of knowledge, some qualifications you have may be relevant or transferrable but you will need to contact each university to determine if you need to take the test.
There are two main kinds of degree available – an associate’s degree which is a two year study programme or a full degree which is a 4 year programme. It is possible to complete an associate’s degree and then transfer school to complete further study to turn it into a full degree.
American tuition fees vary depending on whether you want to study publicly or privately, and if you are a resident in the state the university is in (which you almost certainly won’t be as an international student). In-state students will pay significantly less than out-of-state students, even applying to USA nationals.
The level of tuition fee you will pay depends on where you study and the programme you are studying, associate’s programmes for 2 years are usually around $3,300 and upwards, with 4 year degrees being anywhere between $24,000 to $33,000 depending on the institution you are applying to.
There is a large scholarship culture in America which means that the majority of full time undergraduate students will not be paying anywhere near the listed costs of tuition fees, with many universities having generous support packages to ensure that if you meet the requirements to study, the financial element won’t be a roadblock.
If you don’t qualify for financial aid then there is the option of applying for a student loan, however there are several companies that offer student loans which you will need to compare in terms of interest rates and repayment schedules, with many of them requiring an American citizen to be a guarantor for your loan.