steps to understanding international student financial aid

author: ben bishop
published on: march 26, 2019

answers to faqs by international students at boise bible college

boise bible college (bbc) glorifies god by equipping student leaders who build up the church to advance the gospel worldwide. this vision is greatly supplemented by those who have different stories of how god has worked through them. many of these experiences are from those who have lived outside of boise, idaho, or even the united states.

no matter what part of the world we grew up in, we are all part of the body of the church. as paul writes in 1 corinthians 12:12-20, everyone, no matter their story or background, is welcomed into the family of god. no matter what part of the body you may represent, we, at bbc, would love to get to know you and would be honored to have you visit us. we will bless each other and rejoice because of it!

there is possible financial aid help available at bbc no matter where you are from. several of bbc’s scholarship opportunities could apply to students of different regions of the world. for many scholarships, all that is needed to be considered is to complete the application process and be fully accepted as a student!

in addition, if you are eligible for federal aid, your parents’ citizenship or immigration status will not affect you. the fafsa (free application of federal student aid) does not even ask about your parents’ status! see our previous post titled, “wait, fafsa?” to learn more about that process.

note: if your parents do not have social security numbers (ssns), then they must enter 000-00-0000 when the fafsa form asks for your parents’ ssns. in addition to that, if your parents don’t have ssns, they won’t be able to create fsa ids and therefore won’t be able to sign your fafsa form electronically. you’ll have to print out the signature page from the online fafsa form so that your parents can sign it and mail it to the address indicated.

international student financial aid

there are two major groups for students who are not considered u.s. citizens, each has a different process when it comes to financial aid:

eligible non-citizens:

if you are in this category you may be eligible for federal aid such as the pell grant! the following is quoted from federal student aid, an office of the united states department of education. you are considered an “eligible non-citizen” if you fall into certain categories, such as the ones listed below:

  1. you are a
  • u.s. national (includes natives of american samoa or swains island) or
  • u.s. permanent resident with a form i-551, i-151, or i-551c (permanent resident card, resident alien card, or alien registration receipt card), also known as a “green card.”
  1. you have an arrival-departure record (i-94) from u.s. citizen and immigration services (uscis) showing *
  • “refugee,”
  • “asylum granted,”
  • “cuban-haitian entrant,”
  • “conditional entrant” (valid only if issued before april 1, 1980), or
  • “parolee” (you must be paroled for at least one year, and you must be able to provide evidence from the uscis that you are in the united states for other than a temporary purpose with the intention of becoming a u.s. citizen or permanent resident).
  1. you hold a t nonimmigrant status (“t-visa”) (for victims of human trafficking) or your parent holds a t-1 nonimmigrant status
  • your college or career school’s financial aid office will ask to see your visa and/or certification letter from the u.s. department of health and human services. *
  1. you are a “battered immigrant-qualified alien”
  • this is defined as someone who is a victim of abuse by your citizen or permanent resident spouse, or you are the child of a person designated as such under the violence against women act (vawa). *
  1. you are a citizen of the federated states of micronesia, the republic of the marshall islands, or the republic of palau. if this is the case, you may be eligible for only certain types of federal student aid:
  • citizens of the republic of palau are eligible for federal pell grants, federal supplemental educational opportunity grants, and federal work-study.
  • citizens of the federal states of micronesia and the republic of the marshall islands are eligible for federal pell grants only.

*to qualify for federal student aid, certain eligible noncitizens must be able to provide evidence from the uscis that they are in the united states for other than a temporary purpose with the intention of becoming a u.s. citizen or permanent resident. certain native american students born in canada with a status under the jay treaty of 1789 may also be eligible for federal student aid.

non-eligible non-citizens or international students:

you are not an eligible noncitizen and cannot receive federal student aid like the pell grant and student loans if,

  • you have only a “notice of approval to apply for permanent residence” (i-171 or i-464),
  • you are in the u.s. on an f-1 or f-2 nonimmigrant student visa, or on a j-1 or j-2 nonimmigrant exchange visitor visa, or
  • you hold a g series visa (pertaining to international organizations).

this group of students is called international students. there is a unique life cycle for international students and you can find that outlined on the homeland security website.

a part of that process is obtaining an i-20 form. that happens by the school and sent to an international student after they are accepted to the college. the i-20 is a very important document that will need to be maintained for the whole visit.

the church is global and we are continually blessed by all those who represent the different parts of this body. we would love to equip you to build up the church to advance the gospel worldwide.

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2020-2021 school year at boise bible college learn more here