Funding and financial aid are top concerns for many students—especially international students who need to indicate a certain amount of funds in order to apply for the F-1 or J-1 student visa.  This is why we have put together six tips to help as you prepare to invest in your future.

When you apply to the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy, you are automatically considered for partial, merit-based scholarships that are issued at time of admission decision. Because scholarship funding is limited and not guaranteed for all applicants, we strongly encourage you to explore additional funding sources as soon as possible.

Six Funding and Financial Aid Tips for International Students

  1. External Scholarships 

Many students find scholarship opportunities based on academic discipline, career goals, citizenship, identity group, and more. Below are some suggested resources to use in your exploration:

Please note, these guides are not meant to be exhaustive but rather a starting point for your research of funding sources.

  1. Government Funding

Some countries will provide funding to their citizens who wish to pursue graduate studies overseas. Check within your local government to see if this option is available for you. 

  1. Employer Funding

Employers sometimes provide funding or sponsorship for their employees who wish to pursue graduate degrees in subjects related to their career field. Work with your supervisor or human resources department to see if this option may be available for you.

  1. Educational Loans

Educational loans are another option for international students. While you wouldn’t be able to apply for any United States loans, you may be able to find a loan company in your home country. Harris also works with Prodigy Finance, which provides loans to international students from over 150 countries. Students may be eligible to borrow up to 80 percent of cost of attendance, depending on each individual application. (Please note: an acceptance from Harris is required to apply for a Prodigy Finance loan.)

  1. Part-time Work While You’re a Student

Typically, new students will find on-campus employment upon arrival on campus. As an international student, you would be eligible to start working on-campus immediately after you begin as a full-time student at Harris. Admitted students, with their valid student ID, have access to the University of Chicago student employment job board, Grad Gargoyle, to find a variety of employment opportunities. There are also many other jobs posted within the Harris student listservs.  The pay for on-campus student workers are competitive and above Chicago minimum wage. If you are relocating with a partner, they may also consider looking at non-student employment opportunities on campus. 

For more information, check out Employment Resources for International Students from the Office of Student Affairs.

  1. Factor in the affordable cost of living in Chicago

And remember, when you are budgeting for graduate school, do not focus solely on tuition: there’s also rent, food, travel, etc. Thankfully, the cost of living in Chicago is competitive when compared with other major cities in the United States such as New York, Boston, San Francisco and Washington D.C.         

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The admissions team looks forward to working with you as you plan your graduate school investment! Still have questions? Email us at