Tuition Waivers for International Students
Many colleges and universities do not offer as many traditional types of financial aid for international students as
they do for students who are United States citizens. However, international students who are in need of financial
assistance can look into whether or not their US college or university offers tuition waivers for international
What is a Tuition Waiver?
A waiver allows for all or a portion of a student’s tuition not to be paid. If the waiver is for part of your
tuition, you as a student are responsible for payment of the remaining tuition not covered by the waiver. Waivers
are issued only for the period in which a student is currently enrolled, which means that your application must be
submitted to later than the date of Commencement at the end of the spring semester or the official graduation date
at the end of the summer session or fall semester. You will need to reapply for each semester that you would like
your tuition waived.
The eligibility requirements for tuition waivers for international students vary from school to school. In order to
be eligible, you must be a citizen and resident of a foreign country. Most schools offer tuition waivers for
students holding either F-1 or J-1 visas, but some schools limit tuition waivers to F-1 students. You must be
registered at the school. Many colleges and universities require that international students applying for a tuition
waiver have already attended the school for a certain amount of time (generally either one or two semesters).
Generally schools grant tuition waivers based on the student’s availability of funds, student need, and student
merit. If you are of good academic standing, you have a better chance of receiving a tuition waiver. Some, but not
all, schools have minimum GPA that you must maintain in order to apply for a tuition waiver. Schools will also look
at your extracurricular and work activities.
Most schools award tuition waivers to both undergraduate and graduate international students, but some colleges and
universities in the United States reserve tuition waivers for undergraduate students.
Contact your school or check their website to find out their specific eligibility requirements for tuition waivers
for international students.
Maintaining a Tuition Waiver
As with the eligibility requirements, schools have different policies on maintaining a tuition waiver. Some schools
require that students acquire a part time on campus job in order to maintain their waiver. Most schools set a
minimum number of credit units in which students must be enrolled to maintain their waiver.
A large number of schools require that international students who receive a tuition waiver must complete a certain
number of unpaid volunteer service hours each semester. The number of hours required varies according to school. You
can check your school’s website to find out the required number of hours, as well as the volunteer service options
that are available for students. After completing your hours, you will be responsible for submitting proof of your
volunteer hours to your school’s international student office by the deadline set by your school.
Applying for a Tuition Waiver
The application process for a tuition waiver for international students also varies according to school. Most
schools require that international students submit a tuition waiver application form to the school’s international
student office. Some schools, however, review international students for financial assistance after the student has
been accepted. In these cases, all international students are automatically considered for tuition waivers.
Contact your school or visit their website to find more details about their international student tuition waiver