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Financial Aid

General Financial Aid

Most families are not able to pay fully for an TCKs education. However there are a lot of resources available for financial aid for college students. The following information is provided to help you make financial decisions regarding college education.

There are four primary sources of financial aid:

Private Sources

  • Funds awarded through corporations, unions, religious or civic groups, etc.
  • There are many organizations who give financial aid specifically to the international community. A quick search on the internet can lead to many scholarships that an TCK may be eligible for.

Colleges/ Universities

  • Some colleges give discounts to TCKs. Nearly all Fellowship Institutions offer some discount to TCKs, and many other schools may give discounts as well.
  • Academic, athletic, and music scholarships are also available – contact the school to learn how to qualify.
  • Work opportunities on campus can be used to fund education.
  • Some schools even offer their own low-interest loans

State Government

  • Most state aid is available through merit scholarships, grants, or work study.
  • Contact the college’s financial aid office, public libraries, or the state’s department of higher education office for more information.

Federal Government

The Federal government has several different types of financial aid programs:

Scholarships & Grants*

Grants are a type of financial aid that does not have to be repaid. The amount of the grant is based on need, cost of attendance, and enrollment status.

  • Pell Grant* offers a maximum of $5,500 each year
  • The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) for undergraduate* students only: $100 – $4,000 a year possible grant. Pell Grant recipients with the lowest expected family contributions (EFCs)* will be considered first for the FSEOG.
  • The Hope Scholarship and Lifetime Learning Credit are actually tax credits rather than scholarships, but they can save tax money each year for attending college.

Loans are borrowed money that must be repaid with interest. Parents may also borrow to pay education expenses for dependent students.

  • Federal Perkins Loan Program*
    • Undergraduate students can receive up to $4,000 a year
    • Repayment of the loan begins nine months after graduation or change of school schedule to part-time student. Some post-graduation occupations may reduce or cancel the repayment (such as teachers in low income areas.)
  • Parent’s Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS)*
    • PLUS loans can be taken out by parents of students
    • Repayment begins within 60 days of final loan disbursement for the year.
  • Stafford Loan – Used to make up any remaining need for tuition costs
    • Government pays the interest while the student is in school full-time
    • Repayment begins six months after graduation
    • Both PLUS and Stafford loans can be subsidized (no interest charged until repayment begins) or unsubsidized (interest charged immediately)
Student Employment – Federal Work-study Program
  • The Federal Work-Study Program pays an hourly wage for on-campus work during the school year to help pay for education expenses. Eligibility is determined by financial need.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

In order to obtain any type of financial aid from the federal government, each student must fill out and file the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form. Information and application forms are available on-line at

The FAFSA is designed to evaluate a family’s financial ability to contribute to the costs of the college education. The information you provide on the FAFSA is confidential and is sent only to the colleges and scholarship programs you specifically designate.

  • Financial aid amounts are decided by the college and/or scholarship program.
  • The FAFSA can be filed after January 2 of the calendar year you plan to enter college.
  • One FAFSA is required per student per year.
  • After filling a FAFSA once, you can use a Renewal FAFSA and make changes from the previous year’s figures
  • Federal, state, and school deadlines may vary. It is important for you to contact the financial aid office at your school so that you know the dates of each different deadline.
  • Provide accurate and complete information

When completing your FAFSA, you will need:

  • Student’s Social Security card and driver’s license.
  • Parents’ Social Security Numbers, if student is a dependent.
  • Student’s income tax return.
  • Parents’ income tax return, if student is a dependent.
  • Your W-2* forms.
  • Parents’ W-2* forms, if student is a dependent.
  • Records of other untaxed income received such as Social Security benefits, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), or veteran’s benefits.
  • Current bank statements and records of stocks, bonds, and other investments.
  • Business or farm records, if applicable.
  • Alien registration card (if not a U.S. citizen).
Overseas FAFSA Processing

Filing a FAFSA on the Internet ( ) is easier than ever! There are no more time delays or sending forms back and forth for signatures—providing that a Personal Identification Number (PIN) is used. Apply for a PIN at They even have a chat room to ask questions while filing a FAFSA.

To expedite the process, use a U.S. address for the PIN to be mailed to. This can be either a relative or a power of attorney. Let that person know that it is coming and that they will need to e-mail or call and tell you the PIN. Otherwise, if mailed overseas, it may take a couple of months to get the information, and may miss important federal, state, and school deadlines.

Helpful Tips for filing a FAFSA:

  • Save Your FAFSA: Save your application frequently using the Save button at the bottom of the screen. That way, if you lose your Internet connection, you’ll have a copy of the FAFSA data you’ve already entered.
  • Get Help: To get an index of help topics, click on the Help button. You can also chat with a Customer Service representative directly over the Internet via the “Chat” button. If you need more help, call 1-800-4FED-AID.
  • Don’t Erase Your Form: Use the button labeled “Exit” with caution. Selecting this button and answering “OK” to the prompt that appears will erase all the answers you’ve entered since the last time you saved your application.
  • Sign Your Application: If you print the signature page, you and your parents (if you’re dependent) need to sign it and mail it in. If you stated that you or your parents want to electronically sign your application, go to and follow the link to electronic signatures.
  • Submit Your Application: After you click on the Submit button you will be taken to a new web page that confirms your submission and gives you a confirmation number.
  • **Note: If you and your parents want to electronically sign your application, you should apply for a PIN now at If you already have a PIN, you need not reapply.
    • If you don’t already have a PIN, apply for one now.
    • Parents, high school students, college students, and others can apply for a PIN.
    • Your PIN will be mailed to you a few weeks after you apply for one. If you provide your e-mail address, your PIN will be e-mailed to you a few days after you apply.
    • Remember your PIN and don’t share it with others.

TCKI Scholarships

TCKI Scholarships for the 2019-2020 Academic Year will open January 1, 2019.

Any member of Third Culture Kids International having served overseas a minimum of four years is eligible to apply for the various TCKI scholarships. Only one application is necessary. Once applied for, each TCK will be considered for every scholarship available through TCKI, including regional and visual communication scholarships. The applicant is required to write a paper of no more than five (5) pages on the topic “How growing up as a TCK influenced my career choice.” Be sure you read through the application information thoroughly. Please contact TCKI for the TCKI Scholarship Application.

Application Information

Any member of Third Culture Kids International, having served overseas a minimum of four years is eligible to apply for the various TCKI scholarships. Only one application is necessary. You may reapply annually with the same or new essay. Once applied for, each TCK will be considered for every scholarship available through TCKI. Each TCK is eligible to receive a maximum of ONE scholarship from TCKI.

  1. Fill out a TCK application form, available through TCKI. All applications need to be received prior to May 1st.
  2. Write an essay of no more than five (5) pages on the topic “How growing up as a TCK influenced my career choice” and email it to the TCKI office.
  3. The Program Manager will send the essays to the members of the TCKI Advisory Committee. The identities of the TCK applicants will be withheld from committee members.
  4. The members of the Advisory Committee will receive each of the required essays and will rate the essays with a point system. The points will be from one to twenty. The top essay will receive twenty points. They will only award points to the top twenty essays. The essays receiving the most points will be awarded the scholarships.
  5. The members of the advisory committee will send the essay scores back to the TCKI Program Manager no later than August 1st.
  6. The TCKI Program Manager will award the scholarships to the TCK(s) with the highest points.

The essays will be graded on specific criteria:

  1. Clarity of thought,
  2. Understanding of how a specific culture or TCK Identity influenced a career decision,
  3. Ability to communicate clearly how the past is affecting their future,
  4. Clear thesis
  5. Grammar

TCKI Scholarship Application – TCKI Members are welcome to contact the TCKI Office for more information and an application.

Scholarship Web Sites

Ron Brown Scholar Program (major scholarships)
FastWEB Scholarship Search
The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Site