New financial aid options to help international students

New financial aid options helps pay for international students’ education.

Sarah Pineda, Writer

UPDATED: Mar. 25 at 7:45 p.m. 

Faced with the decision of which Christian university to attend, international student Diana Lee from South Korea had to factor in differing amounts of financial aid.

Lee, a freshman psychology major, chose to come to Biola based off the academic scholarship they offered her, in comparison to the lack of financial aid given to her from Wheaton College.

“It’s really expensive, because we have to live in the dorms and it costs a lot of money along with the mandatory meal plan, so its really hard,” Lee said.  

NEED FOR SPONSORS

In order for international students to apply and be accepted into Biola, they are expected to prove they have outside sponsors, such as their family’s income, as a reliable source to pay for their education. Biola does not offer full scholarships to international students and instead offers only limited scholarships including academic, departmental and other need-based aid. Biola's scholarships for international students are limited and the process is highly selective, according to the university's undergraduate website.

“For an international student, before they come into the country they have to show they have the support to make this happen, so if they have a family of means, that means they have less needs, so we're not necessarily going to give them much money,” said Geoff Marsh, senior director of financial aid.

ADDITIONAL FUNDING

Undocumented and international students are unable to apply for Free Application for Federal Student Aid, which is used as a model for how much financial aid assistance Biola offers to students. However, beginning in the upcoming fall semester, Biola’s financial aid will be able to view an international student’s Expected Family Contribution if they apply for the California Dream Act, determining their aid eligibility from Biola.

“As an institution, we can’t afford to make up the difference for all the federal aid these students are losing, but we are looking to address that this year, and provide additional funding for them,” said Marsh.

Irene Lee, freshman cinema and media arts major, is an international student from Taiwan who chose to attend Biola due to its Christian-focused curriculum. Lee mainly pays for her education through her family’s income.

“I didn’t get to talk to the financial aid office, the international admissions office told me the amount I would get when they accepted me,” said Lee.

Lee was awarded the academic scholarship, also distributed to all students entering Biola, and the Christian Worker Dependent scholarship from Biola.

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