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Financial Support Seminar at USEFI

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* All American universities are barred by law from using a prospective student's personal finance details as a parameter in his admission. In other words, no one can reject admission to you just because you do not have the money to study. Therefore, when you are sending the application packet, you are not obligated to send proof on finances etc then.

These documents are only required after admission has been granted to you. They are to be used for issuance of the I-20 form to you, so that you may apply for an F1 visa (or M1 / J1 as the case may be).

* However, sometimes you find that certain universities ask for these papers along with the initial application packet itself. If you need time to arrange these financial details (or if the bank refuses to give multiple original bank statements, or any other legitimate reason), you can easily buy time by enclosing a covering letter stating that you cannot arrange the financial documents currently, and will send them if and when admission is granted.

* The college can legally take no action against you for not providing those documents. They must grant you admission without them, and wait for them later (and they usually do). (This was told to me at the USEFI seminar, and I tried it myself subsequently with 1-2 universities. It worked! The universities remarked that the required documents were missing, but proceeded with the processing of the rest of the application anyway).

* Some universities, however, insist that they will not even touch your application until you have provided the required documentation. If this is the case with your university, then you must send the papers in - no point in confronting them.

* Once admission is granted, you can ask for aid from the college. If you were to mention funds available with you earlier, aid becomes difficult to ask for. This is why you should not send in the bank documents with the application packet.

* Even if you had shown the money earlier, you can still push for aid. You might even tell the college that you will not attend if you do not get aid (it's a gamble, but it works).

* Loans are possible if you do not get any aid from the college. Nationalized banks offer subsidized loans in India (e.g. Canara Bank, State Bank of Patiala). However, they do not give loan for the entire amount (max limit is Rs 10 Lakhs). US banks can finance your entire education (graduate or undergraduate), but they require a co-signer in the US, who is a US citizen or permanent resident. A US loan can cause problems with the visa, however.

* Try to minimize the number of people sponsoring you. Should not have 3-4 people. According to University financial committees, this increases the chance of default, since any one person opting out can put the student in jeopardy. It also causes problems with the visa. Also, the sponsor should preferably be an immediate relative.

* When applying for Spring or Fall semester, remember that most financial aid is offered for the Fall semester. Check with the college to be sure of this.

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Last Updated June 26, 1999