More than likely, you won't be awarded financial aid based on financial need (e.g. parent income). You may be eligible for merit-based scholarships, but it depends on the college and how aggressively the college is looking to recruit international students.
Colleges that are looking to increase international student enrollment may be more generous with scholarships.
If you check Section H of the CDS, you'll see that Vanderbilt awards generous financial aid to international students. In 2017, they awarded 140 students financial aid with an average dollar amount of $54,292. However, this financial aid only covers about 1/4 of the approximately 530 international students at Vanderbilt. Institutions tend to use financial aid strategically for recruitment, so unless you're on top of the pool or have an extreme need for financial aid because your family is low-income, you can expect not to receive much financial aid from Vanderbilt.
International students should consider the geographic location of the university as well as on-campus opportunities to work with American students. If a student has a lower level of English, that international student may need to take makeup classes with other international students before integrating with the general undergraduate population.
Information to seek before applying: Check the availability and scope of these cultural and linguistic resources.
Find out about the resources the university has to support international students when visa issues arise (e.g. study abroad in another country besides the U.S., finding part-time jobs on campus, getting approvals to return to campus). You want to have good people to support you in the event something goes wrong.
In my experience working with international students, many parents are unable to get as involved as American parents as they are less familiar with U.S. higher education and do not speak English well. Parents can help their students by hiring a reliable and trustworthy college counselor who empowers students and parents to successfully navigate our very complex and large system of higher education.
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