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Study in US :Financial Situation? Can I afford if NO Funding or Scholarships for MS in USA?

We are all excited about studying in US because it is our passion or maybe we want o com to US to make money by working in US. There are some reality checks that you have to do before you pursue and be prepared. This  article will focus on the reality checks about MS funding and Scholarships for MS in USA; This article is part of the series Guide / steps to study in USA for International students?

Reality Check of Scholarships and Funding in USA:

One of the perceptions of students and what most of the seniors or students already doing MS in US say about funding is, getting funding is hard initially, but after first semester you have better chances. Some say, you will get funding in second semester for sure.  Some say, it is very hard to get funding with recession impact in US. The point is, it is confusing at times and it all depends on the universities you are applying to and as a whole we are optimistic that we get funding after first semester and apply. But, in all reality, there are few students or if not more students who get NO funding after first semester or even after second semester. Scholarships for MS in USA are difficult for internationals. These students just work on campus and do not have any sort of tuition waiver or scholarship. Think about it, if you were to be one among those students, what is your fate ?  How will you pay your tuition which can range from $5,000 to $14,000 a semester or more ?  You must always be prepared for the worst. You need to have a backup plan. So, what should you think first ?

What is your financial situation? What if NO scholarship? Analysis?

All of us come from various income levels; some have a lot of money to spend on education and some do not have anything to spend on education. For most of the middle class and lower financial range families, financial capacity is a very big thing for studying abroad in USA. Some parents just say, it is out of our reach, just forget it. Some parents say, “I will take loan on behalf of you and will send you to US”. The answer completely depends on your parents’ perception of education and their trust in you. You have to realistic about your financial situation if you can afford or not. If not, do you have the capacity to raise money through friends and family or apply for an education loan using some collateral?  The key thing to keep in mind is, you need to have all the tuition fee sources sorted out for the whole course available.  It can range anywhere from $20,000 to $40,000 or even more based on the school you are applying. You may argue, if I get scholarship, then I do not need that much. You are assuming and taking a chance here. It is a risk… Everyone of us wish for success and we think optimistic, hopefully our thoughts always are correct. But, let’s say for instance, if things do not work out, will you be able to find sources to finance your education ? Do you have banks, friends, and family to help you in this aspect ?

Financial Support Needs during Applying

Application fees, Transcripts, GRE, TOEFL Score reporting, etc :

  • Though some of you might consider this as less expenditure, it is not for an average income household.  You will have to be realistic about money you will just need for applying which involves tasks like Application fees, Transcripts, GRE, TOEFL Score reporting, etc .  It can go up to $1000 dollars if you applying to just 2 or 3 schools.

You will need financial support letters during all these steps of applying

  • MS or MBA Application : You should get a letter from your sponsor’s bank that funds for your education are available and your sponsor is funding  your education.
  • Visa Stamping : Unless you get full funding for two years, you will need to carry proper documentation with bank letters saying that funds are available and your are completely supported financially.  Also, you need to do lot of paperwork for visa stamping, where you will need to spend good amount of money.

For these bank letters You are talking about $30,000 – $40,000 or more depending on school fee. Adjusting or securing big chunk of money is not easy for someone in middle class families. You need a big sponsor for your education! I completely know how hard it was for me at least. Thanks to all our friends, family and banks who helped me with all these financial stuff. Anyways, the point is, you need helping hand from others or bank if you do not have the funds for education.

All in all, what I am trying to say is, “You have to be prepared with your finances, think in all reality about worst case scenarios – like if there was no funding for you in US, will you be able to get money for paying tuition for the whole course ?”. Not trying to discourage anyone, but just a key thing to consider and be prepared for the finances because you need financial support right from the beginning of application process.


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  1. i have completed my b-tech in 2014 with 64.4% or 6.4 gpa and i was focused on getting into my core field in this past 4 years and i haven’t got any job.I have attended CDAC (indian central govt PG course on embedded systems) and later i prepared for GATE exam which i’m not sure it’ll get me to IIT for m-tech so is it wise for me to try GRE now ?even if i dont have job experience i’m sure that i gained a good grip on my core related subjects so will my past 4 years effects during M.S applying and getting job even if i get a good GRE, TOEFL score?

  2. hie ,
    I have done btech in biotechnology with 3 years gap. I have score 7.79 gpa . is it possible for me to study in us on scholarship ? Or any other that i can apply for studies abroad with scholarship . I am not well financially . Please reply asap . waiting to know what i can do to apply to study abroad .

  3. Good evening,
    I graduated from a University from Nigeria with a cgpa of 4.3 out of 5.0 and a Gre score of 295. Please I will like to find out if I can get a scholarship in any University in USA with this score to study MIS. Thanks

  4. Hey,
    I took 4 and half yrs to complete B.tech with 7 backlogs (all cleared)
    I have a GRE score of 320 IELTS – 7.0
    I have two yrs of job experience in CTS
    Will i be able to get admission from an American University to do my masters
    How will the ‘ time 4&half yrs to complete Btech’ will affect my admission and visa
    up to what extent does it play a role in my admission and visa

    • Krish,
      It can be very tricky. I do know many students with many backlogs who came to US. You will need to be able to convince the VO on the reasons and have a good application with good scores so that it shows you can complete the course in US.

  5. Sir I have completed my degree in bcom I secured 55% in academic s can I get us study Visa and can anyone help with what are some affordable Universities where I can study my post graduation in economics department

  6. Hi Kumar,

    I will be travelling to the US in a few months. I am on H1B. My spouse, who is on H4 wants to pursue MS in analytics from a reputed college in USA. The fee fot 1 year course is coming to be around 60k USD. I do not have that much money. But my LCA is 120k USD per annum.

    Will my LCA suffice as proof of finances? We have a flat in bangalore. Do they consider property? I can get the payslips once I am in US.

  7. Listen sir,
    I am now doing b.tech Agricultural engineering
    And I wants to pursue my master’s degree from USA .
    Now suppose I score well in GRE say 320-330. Then how much I have to pay on my master’s degree from me side and how much scholarship can I avail .
    Can I have some partime job or work for earn
    Please tell me in detail.??????

    • Ram,
      Every school is different and fees vary by school, there is no fixed answer. You will need to do some research and find schools and identify fee. We do not advise on schools. Also, same case with scholarships, as there are many types and it depends…You can work part time on campus for 20 hours, but it may only cover your expenses and may not pay for tuition, unless you get some sort of funding like TA, RA or GA. Browse articles on the blog under study in US for more details.

  8. Sir,
    I would like to ask you that i am planning to study in niu for bachelor of engiineering in cse .according to this university how much bank statement i have to show .i came to know that for ms 20 lakhs bankstatement is enough but for bachelor more then how much .please tell me .how much in dollors i have to show. Kindly answer to the question .

    • Fatima,
      I cannot speak much as it is specific to school. All I can say is you need to show enough funds to cover your fees and expenses. The school that are applying to will give you that approximate number.

  9. Hello Sir/Madam,
    I am Rashmi Bade. I am Assistant Professor in Civil Engineering dept. in India. I need to pursue Phd programe further. Kindly guide me regarding how much scholarsip i can get for the same after gre exam.

    • Rashmi Bade,
      If you have experience and get good scores in GRE/ TOEFL and can create a compelling SOP, you should get full funding…It always depends on the school you apply and their criteria. Based on your PhD area, you can apply to schools that fit your interests. You can get in touch with the schools for understanding funding situation.

  10. Hello Sir,
    Its a great post really helpful. Thank you
    Now, coming to my situation
    I am planning to go US for MS in networking in 2018 I have completed my B.E.(EXTC) in 2015 agree 60.17% and right now I am working in networking company.
    And I am preparing for GRE and TOEFL.
    So please can you give me some rough ideas about the Scholarship and financial aid.
    And please suggest some university for MS in networking in US

    Thank You

  11. Hello Sir,

    Thank you for a very good post. I have got admit in UT, Dallas with an annual expense of around $39,000. I am planning to show around 20 lakhs through bank loan and around 10 lakhs through property and remaining amount through sponsorship. Can a family friend be a sponsor for my education ? If so what type of document we need to prepare? Will it affect my chances in visa interview? Awaiting for your reply sir.

    • Why the heck are you taking so much loan and trouble just to get to USA? After doing MS you will run after fraud consultancies to file your H1 and be their slave for 6 years earning 25$ an hour! If you do this now, don’t cry later saying fake consultancy, fake resume, multiple application etc. People do get desperate after taking huge loan and will do anything to survive( including selling Amway in US). Be smart, at least go on your own earned money without loan ( or huge loan) so that even if you don’t get to stay their and have to come back to India you wont have any pressure on you.

    • Vijay,
      Usually the idea of financial capability is to ensure you have enough money for tuition and expenses. Showing property may not help. Any kid of money in Fixed Deposits or Sponsorship from someone else may help. Visa Officer may question the sponsorship details on why someone is doing it and what is the relationship, you may need to have proof for that….Did you submit the same details before getting I20 for proof of funds ? Visa interview can always be tricky, you need to ensure you have enough funds to cover your education and you can convince Visa officer regarding the same. I suggest you speak to the school as well to some more details.


    I am student from mumbai university completing my BE .
    My score are
    CGPA – 9.12
    GRE – 320
    LOR – 5 letters

    can u please tell me can i get on these any scholarship.
    I am aiming for University of Texas at austin since they low fees
    Would i be able to get aid from them ?
    I have applied to many organisation for scholarship loan ?
    Does having any loan affect chances of getting visa ?

    I would be thankful for your reply.

    • Deep,
      It is very hard to say, always depends on many factors, including the group of people applying at the same time. One of the things you can do is to email them to check, if your score is on par with typical scholarship candidates. Again, GRE score is just one part of it. There are various kinds of scholarships and each of them would have their own requirements, so you need to check the specifics. I suggest you check with seniors and admissions.

  13. Hi Redbus2bus team

    I sincerely appreciate your service and efforts

    One of my friend got admission into a two year MS programme in USA. His sponsor told him that “you take the funding for first year and apply for visa, once you come back after finishing your first year, we will release the fund for the second year

    When we apply for Visa, do we have to show funds in the bank or sponsors letter for full duration of the course or only a single year

    Please clarify

    Thanks a lot for your efforts

    • Mahesh,
      Usually the school does NOT give I20 without proof of funds for the entire program. I am not sure, how this worked. The visa officer may ask for proof of funds to complete education. You cannot have funding for half only and go to US, imagine if the student does not get funding for some reason, what happens, he may end up doing something illegal to pay his fee…so, it is better to carry the proof of funds for entire program to avoid any issues.

  14. Hi kumar,
    I am kartic. I am currently working from last 2 years. I am interested in doing MS in US. I have UG educational loan + personal loan – 5 lakhs.
    I have dependent parents. I have to support them.
    If i get a university in US with 50% to 75% scholarship, Can I leave to US.?
    Is it possible to do part time work for my living expense and to support my parent?

    • Kartic,
      Well, the fees totally depends on the school. If you go to private school, fees can be very expensive and getting 50% will still be a lot to pay. It is a tricky situation to support your parents. You can work part time for upto 20 hrs on campus, getting a job also is dependent on many factors. You need to plan for options to support your parents and your education. Look at Bank Loans and other options. If you get an on-campus job, you can pay for your living expenses, not sure how much you can save to send home to support your parents. Think about all options and plan your finances. Finally, nothing comes without risk. There will never be a perfect situation, you need to take chances and go by your gut feel. Think and make an informed decision.

  15. I have given GRE(315) and toefl(100) ,agg. 71% in ECE, Work Ex. 3.5 yearsin IT ,10the 89%,12th 85%.
    I want to pursue MS in CS. I don’t have anyone to sponsor me financially. I am totally relying upon bank loan.

    Can you please suggest what could be the consequesnces.

    Kind Regards,

  16. Hey Kumar,

    Wonderful post showing the blatant truth of what is happening out there. Thank you for that.
    Coming to my situation, it is kinda unique. I am applying for an MS in CSE/EECS for the fall 2016. I am done with my GRE and TOEFL and have applied to 6 universities. Two of them which I believe are safe. My problem is the financial side. Generally the form requires that I mention the name of the sponsor along with my relationship to him. However, in my case, the sponsor is not a relative. He is just a close personal friend (let’s say he is my friend’s father). If he is willing to sponsor me, how do I mention him in the financial support document? Shall I just mention his name and mention “Family Friend” as relation and attach his bank account details for proof of available finance? Or do I need a written affidavit in a stamp paper?

    I know it is quite a long read. Will really appreciate if you could reply at the earliest.

    • Arun,
      Well, it depends on the school and how they request it. Some may be fine to just have it mentioned as Friend and some may seek affidavit. In my view, it does not really hurt to have a written affidavit on stamp paper done as it just strengthens the agreement and sponsorship. I believe, you should write to the admissions of each of the colleges and get clarity. Just send the above question to them to confirm…better safe than sorry.

  17. Hi,
    I am doing my third year of B.E in India. I hold a CGPA of 9.61. I would like to do my M.S in one of the reputed institutes in foreign. I would like to step forward on my own legs . My friends say that you will get scholarships for your CGPA. Will I get scholarships ? If so within how much range of amounts I would get? Is there any conditions such that the bank balance should be there? If I apply for educational loans how much maximum will I get? What will I do for my living there? What will be the visa procedures? Can you please guide me the procedure for above said ones . I would really be thankful if you let me know some of the top reputed universities in the world. Thank you in advance.

    • RENI, That’s really good CGPA. Scholarship decisions are made on a holistic application and not just CGPA. Read How to get Scholarships for MS in US . The amount you get depends on the kind of funding you get…it varies by school and what you are awarded, you need to look and apply for the right one during admission process. The education loan depends on many factors that bank has and how much you can show collateral for loan…We do not advise on schools here…There are many articles on the blog that talk about various questions you asked, check sections under Study in US, you have a lot of info that will help you.

  18. hello .i am going to apply for us universities.in my case i am very poor but my brother in law is sponsoring me.so,is it necessary that only father should sponsor and should i write father in every place where sponsor name need to be filled.i want to apply on my own not to go through any consultnacy.so what are the essential steps in sending financial documents at the time of application and at the time of visa?

    • Chaitanya,
      Not necessarily. Anyone can sponsor your education. You do NOT have to have your father only sponsor your education. Do NOT write wrong information, if your brother-in-law is sponsoring, you should mention his name as the sponsor and mention the relationship as required in the form. Here is a sample financial support from a University , see it has relationship field as well…This form varies by school and you should check with the school you apply for.

      Usually, it is part of the application process and they will mention the details. Check the universities’ admission requirements pages, it will give the details. For instance here is a sample procedure, it slightly varies by school

  19. Hi sir,My name is Manoj . i completed my b.tech in 2011.So now i want apply for MS in USA.so that’s why i taken ilets route.So is it creates any problem for MS in USA through ILETS. And also i have total 5 years gap.So is this create any problem??

    • Manoj, I do not think age or gap in education matters for admission. Typically, most of the good US schools accept GRE and TOEFL, I am not sure how much IELTS is accepted across the schools.

    • Harshil, Unfortunately, MBA from US costs a lot of money. Getting funding for MBA is very limited. Nevertheless, you may try applying…but you need to be prepared.

  20. sir I m student of btech final year I want study in us but my financial is not good
    howmany money will be afford for Mba studay

    • Hi Gufran,
      I don’t want to discourage you. But let me acquaint you with the ground reality. MBA study is damn costly in the USA.
      There are two kinds of scenario:
      1) If you’re going to study in a well-reputed university such as “Wharton School of Business (UPenn), Harvard Business School, UCLA Anderson or MIT Sloan etc.
      The minimum amount that you can spend is something around 50,000 $ per year which is equivalent to 33 Lacs (approx.) and the maximum amount could be 90,000 $ per year which is equivalent to 59 Lacs (approx.)
      2) If you’re going to study in a “not so reputed” university.
      But this also that means you still spending a lot of money as an input but getting unsatisfied output.

      I’m not here to discourage you. I’m telling you the ground reality.
      Today is my first day in the USA and I’m here to do MS. And I know that finance is something that matters a lot.

  21. Hello Kumar,
    Thank you very much for the article above. Very realistic!
    I am a Moroccan student, I am majoring in English literature. I want to apply for MS in one of some universities in Atlanta, Georgia. I can only afford 20.000$ for all of that requires studying there. Is that enough to make it?

    • Hasna, It totally depends on the schools you are applying to. I do not have data on the tuition fee. Check some schools and their fee structure, it should give you some idea.

      • Thank you very much. I am still looking for a good affordable school, hopefully I will make it. However, would I need to pass any exam for getting accepted in MS?
        Or just applying online and meeting the requirements us enough?
        Thank you in advance Mr.Kumar.

  22. Sir, I’m a student recently passed 12 boards. I’m applying for improvement in it as i got less scores than expected. I have a year inbetween and i want to study in us for my btech in CSE. Please suggest me the ways to get scholarships in the universities. I’ll be very thankful to you.

  23. Sir i am from general cast family
    an i want to do my after 12th studies in US
    sir how much total fund should i need to have ?

    • Dude,
      If you want to study in the US or I think you want to pursue your Bachelors degree in the US then you need to remember two most important things.

      1) You need at least 150,000$ depending on the school you want to join. Even the “not so good” university requires the student to invest at least 130,000$. But if you opt for high ranked researched university then you need to invest at least 200,000$ without funding and 150,000$ with funding.
      P.S: funding means the scholarship.

      2) You need to score above 90% in both 10th & 12th if you want to go to top university and above 80% for the rest of the university.

  24. i am planning to do us in ms..i am doing ug in india..and have cgpa 8.5….i am from middle class family…can i be able to afford for the course??

    • Dude,
      I think you want to do MS in the US, not us in ms.
      And yes you can afford because the majority of student who go to the US for MS are from middle-class family. But you need to give GRE and TOEFL.

  25. I just scored 295 GRE I am planning for fall 2015 is it late to take test again or should I give another try before applying for ms.

  26. I have a cgpa of 6.0.To waive a scholarship of 80%,how much score should I get in gre and toefl.and tell me the considerations of cgpa and scores of gre and toefl by the us universities.

  27. Hi ,
    I am planning to do MS in US next fall. After completion of whole procedures in India including airfare ,moreover only 2-3 lakhs will only remain as my financial balance. If i sum up with 15 L loan, Am i financially ok for going?? Should i need to worry??

    Also can we confirm on campus part time job before leaving from India?? By the time i leave I’ll be 2+ years experience in TCS.

    Thanks and Regards.

    • hello,nikita I want to take your advice as I am recently doing btech and I want to do ms, so is gre the best option after btech?

  28. frnds i have a doubt ? can we get international student education loan in us after 1st semister………………….if so what were the required documents to get it ……………………………………plz frnds give more information about it

  29. Sir,
    I am studying in IIT Madras as of now . Btech in chemical engineering.
    My C.G.P.A is 8.5 as of now and i wish to go for a Masters in U.S.A . What are the probable universities i can get funding in ?
    Thanking you

  30. Hello sir,
    Next month I am going to US on H1B.I wish to complete M.B.A program in US while i am in US.so do i need to write the GRE/GMAT to get an admission, how its going to work?Please advice me.

  31. Dear Kumar sir,
    I wrote gate on 2011 and i got 1967 rank (OBC category). I will get NIT trichy and IIT guwahathi for sure. My financial status is poor. my parents can afford maximum Rs.3 lakhs for my higher education. I am planning for MS next year. I can go abroad only if I have scholarship in my hand. Please help me with your suggestions.. All i want is Very good technical exposure, good paying job.

    I have one more doubt. Whether we get scholarship before leaving india? or only after 1st semester in US?

  32. when we can we get education loans for ms,is it before we leave india..and how does they transfer,to university or personal accounts…

  33. I wrote gate on 2011 and i got 1967 rank (OBC category). I did not get any IITs. I will get NIT trichy and IIT guwahathi for sure. My financial status is poor. my parents can afford maximum Rs.3 lakhs for my higher education. I am planning for MS next year. I can go abroad only if I have scholarship in my hand. Please help me with your suggestions.. All i want is Very good technical exposure, good paying job.

    I have one more doubt. Whether we get scholarship before leaving india? or only after 1st semester in US?

  34. Dear kumar sir,Can i get admission in us universities after 3 year of diploma after 10th if not can i need to give the exam of 12th.

  35. sir i have completed my B.D.S degree…i want to go U.S….plz tell me all details abut GRE and what is the option after bds in usa…

      • hello sir…..
        I’m in third year of my B.E degree,i just wanted to do MS abroad but i don have a clear idea how to get over there.how can i apply….how much score i expected to have in GRE…. please mail me the details sir……..
        thanking you sir…..

    • sir
      so youa e oding bds rit? kudos to you it is proved that youa re hard working as you are in 2rd year of bds
      you wanna settle in the us and its the rit and most common choice for many bds grautaes in india but let me tell it is very difficult as you asked i am telling you tghe procedure to go to usa after bds and trusr me debntist earn much much more than any other professional in the us infact it was declared as no 1 profession by BUreau of labor statitics
      BUt as cozy as it sounds its that much difficult the indian bds degree in not recognised in us u cannot practise on ur indian bds degree in the us
      so what to do? GRE? TOEFl? noooo gre is every graduta eother thna medical or dentist thejre is a different exam u ned tot ake while wanting to practise in us
      thats NDBE (national dental board examination) this is conuduted in 2parts part 1n part 2 ww.ada.org this website wil help you gain more info on this exam
      after passing if you clear it then u will have to pursue youir D.D.S a 2 year course for an indian bds graduate an then you can start practicing and then you suddenly belong to the upper 5%income class of us people
      but mind you this aint easy as it sounds it requires an investm,ent of around 1 crore!!! (better do abusiness) an tremendous hard work its a big risk if u take thsi and u dont do it then u are stranded so better chose wisely
      its amillion dollar question ye its aquestion of where this million dolars will come
      best if luck
      ajay pathak

  36. Hi Redbus2us,
    First of all I would like to acknowledge my bountiful thanks and appreciation to the creator of such an informative and elaborate website which provides genuine information to its followers. Rarely there are websites which has such plentiful of informations on every aspect of american education. Most of the websites put more emphasis on the initial steps of application to US and Visa but less on the factors which are vital after graduation. Redbus2us is one website which is a very good reference for all the aspiring students for US education and also for graduates who are already in america. Thanks a lot.
    Now I have my little share of question which I would like to ask. I have got acceptance for my MS in pharmaceutical sciences program from IDAHO STATE UNIVERSITY. The university is not giving any financial assistance now and also not sure about the future semesters. However the university has suggested me to apply for out of state tuition waiver and an in -campus jobs. I was wondering how much a student can earn by in campus jobs to pay for his expenses? How much amount of money will be sufficient for room,boarding and expenses in a state like Idaho? Though the university has mentioned their values but I just want to know the insiders amount or the reality amount since the amounts put by the universities are always in larger figures. Another thing is the period of OPT. Is it for 1 year or 2years. Do Indian students usually get job’s in this period and if so how much is average amount of renumeration per annum?
    I am asking all these because I am intending to take a loan of 12-14 lacs for my education and I want to pay off larger part of this amount by the renumeration I receive during my OPT.
    Please suggest.
    Your guidance will be a big factor for me to come to a conclusion.

    • Thanks so much Ratan for the compliments ! Here are my thoughts,

      1) I was wondering how much a student can earn by in campus jobs to pay for his expenses?
      Depends on the job and hours. It can be anywhere from $500 to $700 or more

      2)How much amount of money will be sufficient for room,boarding and expenses in a state like Idaho?
      It does not change much by place. Check this article : Cost of living expenses MS in US . These are expenses if you live off campus.

      3) Another thing is the period of OPT. Is it for 1 year or 2years.
      Depends on program. If your degree is listed under STEM Category, it can be extended upto 29 months.

      4)Do Indian students usually get job’s in this period and if so how much is average amount of renumeration per annum?
      I assume this is after MS…Well, this totally depends and cannot be generalized…but, many of them do get jobs…


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