How to Study in USA for Free in 2024 [Updated]

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How to Study in USA for Free in 2024 [Updated]

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How to study masters in USA for free will be discussed in this article, as well as how to study PhD in USA for free without paying a dime.


So many international undergraduate and graduate students want to attend a US institution but cannot proceed due to the high tuition fees involved, which can range from $31,000 to $55,000 depending on the school. Attending a United States institution does not come cheap. That’s why we have brought this article to you on how to study in USA for free as an international student without spending any money.



You might have been researching “how can I study in USA for free” without getting a good result. This article will serve as an eye-opener to the fact that studying in the USA for free is possible if you play your cards right. This method we’re about to share in this article can also work for you if you graduated with a second-class lower and are pursuing a master’s degree or a PhD program in the United States.

Ways on How to Study in the USA for Free

There are various ways international students can study in the USA for free, such as through scholarships, grants, fellowships, or graduate assistantships. But in this article, we’re going to focus more on how to secure a fully funded graduate assistantship. You might be surprised as to why we’re focusing more on graduate assistantships instead of scholarships. Keep on reading; you’ll discover why very soon.

Scholarships



In the USA, scholarships provided by schools are not fully funded as compared to Chevening, Fulbright, Commonwealth, DAAD, Australia Awards, Erasmus Mundus, and MasterCard scholarships, which cover all your fees. Schools in the United States offer little funding in the form of merit scholarships based on your grade. For example, a school in the United States, Miami University, Ohio, offers scholarship funds of $2,500 to $12,000 per year to exceptional international undergraduate students. You can view a picture illustration from the school’s website below.
How to study masters in USA for free will be discussed in this article, as well as how to study PhD in USA for free without paying a dime.
When you look at the scholarship offered by the above school, you will notice that it will not cover all the fees you will pay as an undergraduate student. In Miami University, the total fees an international undergraduate student will pay for a year are $56,558, and even if you are awarded the highest merit scholarship of $12,000, you will still owe the school at the end, which is why we do not want to talk about scholarships provided by USA schools in this article. You can view a picture illustration from the school’s website below.
We are going to share with you how to study in America for free without having to spend any money on high tuition fees in the USA.

Graduate Assistantships

Graduate assistantships are the best way to study in the USA without having to pay a dime. Sadly, this is only available to masters and PhD students. Students going for their undergraduate studies in the USA and wanting to study on a fully funded scholarship should check out Berea College. The school has been offering fully funded scholarships to undergraduate students since 1855, when the school started. Now back to the graduate assistantship, masters and PhD students willing to study in the USA can do so through a fully funded graduate assistantship sourced from their department in USA schools.

What is a Graduate Assistantship in the USA



A graduate assistantship is an employment offered by universities in the USA to incoming graduate students, and in return, they work for up to 20 hours and gain relevant work experience. The graduate assistantship at some universities comes with an out-of-state tuition remission, meaning you won’t have to pay any dime to the school, as well as a stipend to offset living expenses. Sometimes, the graduate assistantship comes with health insurance coverage.

The stipend ranges from $10,000 to $30,000 a year, depending on the school or your graduate program, i.e., masters degree or PhD program. Some schools will expect you to still pay student fees, which you can easily pay from the stipend you’re paid. These student fees are paid per semester and normally range from $500 to $1,500, depending on the school. In the United States, a semester typically lasts about 5 months. Having a fully funded graduate assistantship in the USA can also be called a full ride.



Some programs in the USA won’t allow you to enroll unless you have a graduate assistantship, meaning that after an offer of admission has been extended to you, you will attend an assistantship interview, and if you fail the interview, you will automatically lose the admission.

Types of Graduate Assistantships in the USA

There are various types of graduate assistantships in the USA, ranging from Teaching Assistantships, Research Assistantships and Administrative or Service-based Assistantships.

Teaching Assistantship in the USA



A teaching assistantship in the USA simply means a type of assistantship where you’re employed by the university and you assist a professor to teach a class or two. Apart from teaching an undergraduate class, your duties might extend to grading papers and preparing exams.

Research Assistantship in the USA

A research assistantship in the USA simply means a type of assistantship where you’re employed by the university and you assist a professor in their lab or research projects. These jobs may include interviewing research subjects or recording data for research purposes.

Administrative or Service-based Assistantship in the USA



An administrative or service-based assistantship in the USA simply means a type of assistantship where you’re employed by the university and you assist in things like writing for the school magazine, working under the graduate school office, student center, fraternity and sorority life, financial aid office and multicultural center. In this type of assistantship, you won’t assist in teaching or researching.

How to Secure a Graduate Assistantship in the USA

To secure a graduate assistantship in the USA as an international student, you’ll need to apply for it. The United States operates two popular semesters, which include the Spring and Fall semesters, and the best time to apply for a graduate assistantship or GA position is ahead of the fall semester, which is also the beginning of the semester. This is because most positions are always available during the fall semester because the student holding the position has probably graduated at the conclusion of the Spring semester. You’re to note that having a second-class lower won’t stop you from applying to these graduate assistantships.



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The process of receiving a graduate assistantship may vary between departments and universities. Before applying for a graduate assistantship in the United States, make sure you learn how it works at that particular school. You might need to contact the graduate coordinator of your program to inquire about openings and available positions. For example, to apply for a graduate assistantship in some department, you need to reach out to a professor in your area through the email on their university profile, set up a Zoom meeting with the professor, and sell yourself by explaining the teaching and research experience you might have.



Some of the professors are on the admissions committee; you can also look out for the professors you’re sure are on the admissions committee and speak to them if they’re in your field of interest. Talk to them about your work and see if they like it and are willing to accept you to work under them. In other departments, you might automatically be considered for available assistantships based on your CV and fit for the role. So make sure to include all your experiences in your CV; no experience is too small to add.

For example, to apply for Fall 2025 admission in the USA, you should start reaching out to professors you wish to work with in their lab as a research assistant around June 2024 and apply when the university application opens for Fall 2025. Some schools application deadlines are usually around December 1, December 15, January 1, January 15, February 1, and February 15. Do well to check the deadlines at your chosen schools in advance. You should also apply to multiple schools to increase your chances of securing an assistantship.



Below are some of the USA schools where you can easily secure an assistantship as an international graduate student:

  • Clemson University
  • Clarkson University
  • Montana State University
  • Arizona State University
  • Michigan State University
  • Tulane University
  • Indiana University Bloomington
  • Pennsylvania State University
  • North Carolina State University
  • College of William & Mary
  • Ohio State University
  • Saint Louis University
  • James Madison University
  • Miami University
  • Washington State University
  • Oklahoma State University
  • Georgia State University
  • Georgia Southern University
  • Ball State University
  • West Virginia University
  • Kent State University
  • Grand Valley State University
  • Eastern Michigan University
  • University of Nevada, Las Vegas
  • Utah State University
  • Bowling Green State University
  • Old Dominion University
  • Western Michigan University
  • East Tennessee State University
  • Boise State University
  • Marshall University
  • Morgan State University
  • Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
  • Texas Woman’s University
  • Wichita State University
  • Eastern Michigan University
  • Indiana State University
  • University of West Georgia
  • Wright State University
  • Kennesaw State University

Please note that the above university list is not exhaustive. The United States of America has 50 states, the capital, Washington, DC, and various territories with thousands of universities. The 50 states and some of the territories are Vermont, Delaware, Colorado, Kansas, Florida, Iowa, Connecticut, Denver, Maine, California, Oregon, North Carolina, South Dakota, South Carolina, Missouri, New Jersey, Minnesota, Nebraska, Arizona, Arkansas, Michigan, New Mexico, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Mississippi, Illinois, Kentucky, Alaska, Georgia, Alabama, Washington, Texas, Virginia, Wyoming, West Virginia, Hawaii, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Montana, Tennessee, Rhode Island, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Indiana, New York, Idaho, Maryland, Nevada, Utah, Guam, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.



To find a school in any of the states or territories of the United States, type the name of the state in the Google search and add universities at the end. For example, type “list of universities in Florida,” and the list of schools will come up in the search. Select the school to which you want to apply. You’re required to find out if the universities you have researched normally provide graduate assistantships to international graduate students. Some of the universities we have listed above require an application fee. Click here on how you can apply to some of the schools for free without paying the application fee and also check the basic requirements for applying to a USA university, which include a passport, SOP, transcripts, English test scores, etc.

Conclusion

Before accepting an assistantship, make sure it’s for a full 20 hours of work and cover an out-of-state tuition waiver. Out-of-state tuition waiver means the type of tuition an international student is expected to pay, which is different from that of a citizen residing in the US state where the school is located. Any assistantship that is 10 hours won’t fully cover your tuition and fees, and you shouldn’t accept them if your aim is to attend fully for free. Please note that the assistantship doesn’t pay for your visa fees or your travel ticket from your home country; you’re to source the fees yourself. Also, having an assistantship doesn’t mean you will automatically be granted a USA study visa.



Even though securing an assistantship will make your visa interview go smoothly since you’re not expected to go with bank statements, you’re still expected to prepare fully for your visa interview and convince the visa officer that you’re returning to your home country after the duration of your program.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply to the US universities for free without paying an application fee?

Click here and check the list of our universities in the USA without an application fee and apply to your choice.

Will the graduate assistantship in the USA cover all my fees?

Yes, the graduate assistantship in the United States will cover all your fees, including your living expenses in the USA. You will only source for your visa fee and travel ticket.

How long can I work as a graduate assistant in the USA?

Most of the graduate assistantship appointments in the USA are for a year, with renewal for the second year based on how you performed the previous year.

Can I secure a US university graduate assistantship position from my home country?

Yes, you can secure a United States university assistantship position from your home country. A Zoom interview will be set up by the recruitment team to access your qualifications.

Will my USA visa be automatically granted after securing an assistantship?

No. You will still need to pass through the visa interview and explain to the visa officer why you want to study in the USA. Securing a GA position means you won’t have to present a bank statement during your visa interview.

When is the best time to apply for an assistantship in the USA?

The best time to apply for an assistantship in the USA is ahead of the Fall semester, which doubles as the beginning of the semester. This is because most positions will be opened during that period.

What type of school in the USA has more assistantships?

Public schools in the USA have more assistantships than private schools; you should focus more on applying to public research schools.

2 Comments

  1. Information is power and humbled to the details in view of many international students seeking support and lack the right place to be informed.

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