Foreign Citizens: American Online Universities

It is possible for foreign citizens to attend American online universities and many American colleges actually encourage it. Through attending American online universities, foreign citizens will be able to get a degree that is recognized in the U.S. and they are able to get a job based on those credentials. Unfortunately there are obstacles that come with foreign citizens that attend American online universities, due to the great distance between them and the cost that the university may provide – as well as the structure of the classes that are available.

Cost to Attend American Online Universities

It is an expensive endeavor to attend American online universities. In fact some colleges actually make it more expensive than to attend classes in person. Not only are the classes expensive but there are materials that are required as well, such as books that have to be purchased which can cost hundreds of dollars at times. There are ways to cut these costs, primarily by searching for cheap and used books as well as getting scholarships and other funds to help pay for college.

Federal financial aid is one way that most students use to help pay for college, though as a foreign citizen, you’ll need to talk to an advisor to determine how much aid you can get based on how many hours you attend school per semester. If you do choose to apply for federal financial aid there are requirements that have to be met in order to get the aid and even then there is a limited amount of money that is offered to you. That money can range from grants which you do not have to pay back to student loans.

Student loans give you a large amount of money in order to pay for college. There are two types of loans you can use. Subsidized loans have an interest rate that does not accrue until after you graduate from college while unsubsidized loans accrue immediately after they are disbursed – meaning you will have to pay a much larger amount after you get out of college. As the name suggests, loans have to be paid after you graduate and you must start paying them within 6 months of graduation. If you miss payments, you may face penalties such as additional fees and higher interest rates as well as ruining your chances to get other loans.

Overcoming Barriers

As a foreign citizen, there are difficulties that come with attending American online universities. The language barrier is one of the biggest difficulties to overcome as there are many foreign professors that teach American classes. This makes it hard for a citizen to understand the workload even if they have a complete understanding of English. Another setback of the language barrier is working with groups. It can slowdown production and make your task difficult if you are working in a group and do not fully understand the course material or cannot fully express what difficulties you are having with your other partners. Speaking of barriers, as a foreign citizen, the other problem you have to overcome is time.

If you aren’t only a foreign citizen, but live far away from the U.S., you may be 4, 7, or even 12 hours away from the base of the college and that makes it much more difficult when scheduling your work and when to turn it in. Due to changes in time zone you may get an assignment that is due at 3 AM compared to someone who has it due at 3 PM. Not only that: you will have to check in with your teammates if you do group work at odd intervals in order to compensate for the time zone difference that being a foreign citizen brings. It will also be difficult to consult with professors as most of them have specific hours when they can be contacted and during those hours you can ask those questions directly. You still have the option of emailing them but you may not get your answers as soon as you would want, let alone if your answer is not what you are expecting and you have to ask a follow up question in order to get a better understanding … it could take days just to finish one conversation.

It is Possible for Foreign Citizens to Attend American Online Universities

It’s possible for foreign citizens to attend American online universities, but there are many obstacles – it’s not easy. Having said that, most colleges will try to work with you in order to find the best solution to the problem. In most instances you can contact advisors or administrators throughout the school that will give you one-on-one advice and help answer any questions you may have about your workload, price, or deciding what classes you need to take to graduate.