Financial Aid for International Student-Athletes

Dear Eligibility Coach:

What type of aid is available for international student-athletes who want to come to attend university in the US?

Dear Prospect/Parent:

International student-athletes are eligible for scholarships, athletic and academic. Since they do not pay taxes to the United States Government, they are not eligible for many types of federal assistance. What is available varies greatly from school to school. However, generally international students are eligible to receive some grants, excluding Pell Grants that are available only to US citizens. Academic departments within the university may offer money based on exceptional need or talent. Generally there are more funds available for graduate international students than there are for undergraduate international students.

Work study is for F, M and J non-immigrants only. There are limits to the amount of money and the kind of work that international student may perform. Student-athletes also have to consider the time that will be required to attend classes while conditioning, practicing and competing in the respective sport program when deciding if work study is a viable option. Remember that if a student works in the United States without proper authorization that student can be considered in violation of immigration status which is a serious offense.


In order to receive an athletic scholarship the prospect must be admitted to the university offering the scholarship. Please understand that generally it takes longer for the undergraduate admission process for international student-athletes because of the additional documents they must submit, the time it takes to get a Visa issued, and to be granted an appointment with the Embassy in their home country.

International student-athletes must submit the following documents for admissions and for NCAA certification:

  • a transcript in their native language;
  • a word-for-word, line-by-line certified English-translated transcript;
  • proof of graduation, including certificates, diplomas, maturity certificates, or final leaving exams; and
  • official SAT or ACT scores. Test scores on transcripts, paper test score results, or results from TOEFL are not accepted in lieu of official test scores.

While not required for NCAA certification, most universities will require financial statements that show access to enough funding to cover the costs of university expenses in the event something happens and the student’s scholarship amount is actually lower than expected.

Private Loans

The Organization of American States, an international organization based in Washington, DC, offers some interest-free loans to students from Latin American and Caribbean countries to help them finance their final two years of undergraduate studies at accredited universities within the United States. For more information and to download the forms, see

International Student-Athlete Taxes

The value of the scholarship is taxable in the United States. Most athletic departments will not cover this cost in the athletic scholarship. Prospects need to specifically ask the average cost of international taxes, that are yearly expenses, and if the university offers any assistance with this bill in order to avoid any unnecessary financial surprises.

You may also want to review Internal Revenue Service [IRS] information regarding scholarships here.

Wishing you $cholarships!

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