Skip to main content

Financial Resources for International Graduate Students

Financing education in the United States is difficult, even for a U.S. student. (Click here for a breakdown of estimated expenses.) International students on the student visa are typically not eligible for U.S. federal loans or work study programs and do not qualify for in-state tuition. We understand financing your program is important, as is the ability to secure a well-paying job upon graduation. Read below for financial resources for international graduate students. Remember, the key to most financial aid is to apply early!

The Graduate Student Support Plan (GSSP) is a competitive support package used to attract top students to NC State University. In the 2022-2023 academic year, over 50% of our graduate students were provided financial aid through GSSP! Graduate students that meet certain requirements are eligible to receive health insurance and standard tuition support for a limited number of semesters. Academic departments decide whether or not to offer these packages to applicants at the time of admission; a separate application is not required. GSSP may come in the form of a teaching assistantship or research assistance, in which case the student is expected to work a certain number of hours each week for the department, or an outright fellowship, which carries no expectation of service in return. Read more here

These positions usually require the student to either assist in the research activities of the faculty or with teaching duties such as delivering lectures, grading papers, or supervising laboratory groups. Typically about 20 hours of work each week is required. Contact the Director of Graduate Programs in your department for availability and further details. Some other offices or units outside of the academic department will also offer graduate assistantships, but you must contact those units directly for information.

These are outright awards that require no service in return, and may be based on merit or financial need. Prospective students typically cannot apply directly for these fellowships, but must be nominated by their respective graduate programs. Awards vary between small one-time payments to a full year of tuition and living expenses. If you are interested in nomination for one of these, please inquire with your academic department. Learn more here.

There are many scholarships available outside of NC State University designed specifically for international students. Here are several scholarship databases you can search:

Make sure before you apply that you are eligible for the scholarship. Some may require that you write an essay; here are tips for how to write a scholarship essay. 

STUDENTS STARTING FALL 2024 with IELTS scores in select programs only:
Andrea Scott International Graduate Scholarship – applications due April 22, 2024

MASTERS STUDENTS STARTING FALL 2024 from select regions:
Prodigy Finance launched a scholarship programme for 2024-2025 that will grant five $5000 scholarships to qualified students. Application window open April 1 – 30, 2024.

Once you are admitted, you may contact NC State’s University Fellowships Office for help identifying potential sources of funding for graduate study; however, many of these are limited to U.S. citizens or permanent residents. A list of opportunities open to non-U.S. citizens can be found here. Most fellowship application cycles occur one year in advance of when funds will be received, so students may still need to self-fund or find alternative sources of funding for their first year.

Please note, employment while in the U.S. should not be counted upon as a way to fund your program and living expenses. Students are required to present sufficient funds at the time of the I-20/DS-2019 visa document issuance, and potentially at the visa interview and port of entry as well. That being said, employment is an excellent way to gain valuable work experience and earn a bit of spending money during your academic program, as long as students only engage in permitted employment that has been authorized. 

International students in the F or J visa status are eligible to work on-campus as soon as you arrive. There are many hourly on-campus employment opportunities to choose from, and our Office of International Services is here to advise you on your work eligibility and limitations. Please note that on-campus positions that pay hourly are not enough to cover all of your living expenses.

U.S. federal law prevents most new international students from working off-campus during their first academic year, but a year into your program you will be eligible to apply for authorization to work with an industry employer. NC State is located near Research Triangle Park (RTP), the largest research park in the United States and home to multinational companies like SAS, Apple, Amazon, Google, Credit Suisse, Bayer, GlaxoSmithKline, Syngenta and more. Our Centennial Campus is also home to more than 75 corporate partners, including IBM and LexisNexis. Many of our students end up working for these companies, but due to the nature of student visa regulations, there are restrictions on when and how much one can work. Check with the Office of International Services office for details. 

NC State has an agreement with Fulbright granting agencies (i.e. IIE, Amideast, USAID) to cost-share for admitted students. NC State Graduate School will pay out-of-state tuition for admitted students with Fulbright scholarships as long as Fulbright covers in-state tuition, a certain minimum living stipend, and provides health insurance. You must check with the Fulbright commission in your home country for their application deadlines.

NC State has partnered with COLFUTURO to provide matching financial support to qualifying graduate students from Colombia. COLFUTURO provides loan-to-scholarships to Colombian students pursuing graduate degrees in the United States. Applicants must have an admissions offer from a U.S. university before applying for COLFUTURO funding. Please reach out directly to COLFUTURO with any questions.

Your home government or private employers in your home country may help fund your education. Many governments offer grants or subsidized loans to students who want to study abroad. Make sure you research those opportunities through your government directly or contact an EducationUSA Advisor in your region for more information on current financial aid opportunities. EducationUSA is a U.S. Department of State network of over 430 advising centers in more than 175 countries; they advise international students on studying in the U.S. and are the best source of current information for local funding.

As another resource, check with your employer to see if they will provide a scholarship. It is in their own best interest for their employees to gain the critical thinking skills, knowledge and experience that an NC State degree can provide, and it can guarantee a job upon graduation. Some private organizations will fund scholarships even if they are not employees.

Below are examples of governmental or private employer scholarships our students have received in the past: 

  • Aceh Indonesia Government Scholarship
  • Airforce of the Republic of Korea
  • Al Imam Mohammad Ibn Saud Islamic University
  • American Association of University Women
  • Army of the Republic of Korea
  • Bolivian Ministry of Education
  • Chinese Ministry of Education
  • Education Attaches Office to the Turkish Consulate General
  • Egyptian Cultural and Educational Bureau
  • Embassy of India
  • Embassy of the State of Kuwait
  • Embassy of the Sultanate of Oman
  • Fulbright Commission of Chile
  • Hadhramout Foundation
  • IFARHU-SENACYT-Panamanian Government
  • Indonesia Endowment Fund for Education
  • International Atomic Energy Agency
  • King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST)
  • King Saud University
  • Kuwait Cultural Office
  • Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research
  • Libyan Transitional Government
  • Petroleum Technology Development Fund
  • Prince Sattam Bin Abdulaziz University
  • Qassim University
  • Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission (SACM)
  • Thai Royal Embassy
  • Turkish Ministry of National Education
  • United Arab Emirates Scholarship Office
  • University of Bahrain
  • University of Petra

Start by looking at the estimated cost of attendance so you know about how much you need to borrow. Always carefully evaluate how much money you or your family can provide towards your education before taking out a loan and pay close attention to interest rates. Remember, every dollar you can pay directly is one less dollar you have to borrow and pay interest on! 

NC State does not recommend one specific loan provider over another. You must shop around to find the loan terms that work best for you. Your own bank may offer educational or personal loans, or you can find a private loan provider. In some cases loan amounts are based on a student’s future income potential, and so will only provide loans for students in certain degree programs with a potential for high future earnings. You can also search other loan providers and find general information about loans, cosigners, and more here. Below are other searchable databases for loan companies:

Flexible Payment Plans

  1. NC State offers flexibility in paying your tuition and student fees monthly over the course of semester, making these costs more management if one cannot pay the full amount up front. Learn more about our payment plans here.
  2. NC State also allows international students to pay with a credit card in their home currency in order to avoid unfavorable exchange rates. Read more here.
  3. Students with assistantships have the option to enroll for payroll deduction to pay their student fees, as these fees are not typically covered by the department. Payroll deduction allows students to pay these fees out of their biweekly paycheck, rather than pay these costs up front before arriving. Learn more here.

Return on Investment

2022 QS Graduate Employability Rankings rank NC State #101-110 for turning out the most employable graduates in the world! Recent NC State graduate students reported an average salary of over $85,000 in their first job after graduation. Average salaries vary based on the program, with many reporting starting salaries over $100,000.

  • Average salaries of May 2023 graduates (Be sure to select the degree type on the left hand side – either master’s or doctoral – and click “Update Results“. Defaults to undergraduate.)