FAFSA stands for free application for federal student aid. It is a type of grant given to students for higher education, similar to the pell grant. It is imperative that all international students fill in this form at the time of admission even though they have already previously sought financial aid from their home country, because getting some extra funds is always welcome isn’t it.
Now the MAIN DIFFERERENCE BETWEEN FAFSA AND A LOAN is that the FAFSA does not need to be paid back, its sort of like free aid, whereas your student loan would have to be paid with high interest. Now there is one catch. In order to apply for FAFSA for international students you need a SSN number or social security number, that every U.S citizen has,but international students don’t. So when you get your F-1 student visa and I-20 form its enough for you to apply for the SSN number, if not read on how to get F-1 visa then proceed how to get SSN.SSN is the most useful 9 digit number you will ever need, you simply cannot get a job without it.
APPLYING FOR F1 VISA
-first, we need to get our I-20 form, which is given to us by the college itself
-at the time of filling admission forms and after you get admission you will be issued the I-20 form
-next we apply for F1 visa at https://www.usimmigrationsupport.org/f1-student-visa.html. A simple guide will help us through the process
-with this f1 visa, you can work while studying part time as an on campus job, whereas for a full time, full wage job outside off campus you require the SSN
APPLYING FOR SSN
-firstly, sign up for all your classes, before joining various classes at your university DO NOT apply for SSN
-form SS5 for the SSN number can be filled online at http://www.ssa.gov/online/ss-5.pdf
-I -94 card (its that small white card or form i94 as they call it) which you get a the airport and is put into your passport giving details of your visa start and end dates
-I-20 which you received from the college when admission was confirmed
– F-1 visa
-An offer letter from your employer if you are going to be working soon after. IT maybe easier to try and find an ON campus job,as most visas will not permit you to work off campus in the first 6 months or 1 year of arrival.
-Take the offer letter to the international admissions office, where an official request letter will be given to you.
The SSN is useful for many things other than applying for FAFSA:
Most importantly its used for paying your taxes, and keeping your financial records
It can be used to get a drivers license
It can be used for getting credit cards and other banking requirements
Now when your SSN is approved and you receive your 9 digit number, you can fill that in the FAFSA form and you can recive a small grant. Another excellent grant that you can apply to after you receive SSN is the PELL GRANT. Make sure to apply for that too. Keep the aid coming in from all sides, and that will make your stay in the USA more comfortable.
Let me tell you that the USA is the best place to be, to live, work and play. Forget about the UK, Australia and Canada, they all pale in comparison. USA in my opinion is the most multi cultural study destination you will ever find ,where racial tension is at its LOWEST. And almost non existent. I personally know many white girls who have dated black guys. I know that might sound crude, but its true, Americans are the nicest. They are the friendliest and accommodating people amongst other foreign countries. The only downside is that its harder to get into the US and slightly more expensive. This is due to the fact that everyone is going there, and demand is soo much more than supply. But believe me, give it a shot and even if you have to start out working as a janitor, it will be worth your time.