Author: Denis Karasyov (EB-5 leading expert in Russia, founder and president of PANGAEA INVESTMENT COMPANY).
High quality education obtained at a prestigious university is 50% of success. Unlike the Western world where parents begin to save money for college since child’s birth, the majority of Russians do not think about future expenses until a child is in the 10-11 grades of a secondary school. Where will your child study? In Russia or in the US, at a university or a college – you will still have to pay. You cannot cancel payments, but you can optimize the costs.
If you have already made a decision on a place of study for your child and have chosen the US University, you should know that colleges and universities in USA are educational institutions, providing the same level of education. If to translate into Russian terminology - they both refer to higher (academic) education. There are also Community Colleges - analogue of our vocational schools. After graduating from community college students get Associate Degree, and may go to work in the specialty or continue their education at a college for two to three years. And now comes the main question:
HOW TO OPTIMIZE THE COST OF TUITION IN THE UNITED STATES WITHOUT COMPROMISING QUALITY OF EDUCATION?
Step 1. Obtain a Green Card. EB-5 program is the best way to do it.
The main thing you should know - education in most US educational institutions for non-residents (Out-of-State Students) is substantially more expensive than for US citizens and green card holders (In-State Students). How to do it? The easiest way is to get permanent residence through the EB-5 program (i.e. investment in the US economy). Why choose the EB-5? First, the program allows you to do it as quickly as possible - consideration of your petition takes no more than 18 months. Secondly, unlike most programs, the applicant does not need to meet basic immigration requirements for: language proficiency, level of education, as well as the residency requirements for filing a petition, etc. In other words, for your money ($500 thousand and more) you and all your family members obtain a green card, bypassing the main requirements for aliens. Thirdly, you will get a green card for all family members simultaneously. In addition, after 5 years (duration of investment project) you can feel free to apply for US citizenship (under a simplified procedure) and return your investments back. A nice bonus, say yes!
SUPPOSE YOUR CHILD HAS CHOSEN HARVARD UNIVERSITY. LET’S MAKE A CALCULATION.
- Tuition fees: $43 thousand/year (Out-of-State) or $20 thousand/year (In-State);
- Accommodation fees: up to $24 thousand/year (Out-of-State/In-State). The only difference is that without a green card your child is not eligible to work on campus during studies and to cover a portion of accommodation fees on its own.
- Course duration - 4 years
- Total tuition fees, taking into account accommodation fees: $268 thousand (Out-of-State) against $176 thousand (In-State);
- Direct savings considering the proposed scheme are $92 thousand for the entire period of studies.
Moreover, while studying at a university, your child will actually reside in the United States for five years, occasionally leaving the country (for example, home on vacation). By the time the child will graduate from a college, he/she can easily apply for US citizenship, as the main requirement - the actual residence in the United States - will be automatically executed.
Step 2. Use the "two-stage education" scheme
Earlier in this article we talked about the so-called community colleges. So, the cheapest option which American students use along with aliens is to begin training with one of these colleges (there are plenty of them in the U.S.). Tuition lasts for only 2 years, but after graduation, you can become a third-year student at a regular university. This scheme brings significant savings..
HERE IS AN EXAMPLE:
- Tuition fees in community colleges amount to $8-9 thousand/year (Out-of-State) or $4-4.5 thousand (In-State). You will pay for two years of training $16-18 thousand (without a green card) or $8-9 thousand (with a green card);
- The same two years at Harvard, for example, will cost you $86 thousand (Out-of-State) or $40 thousand (In-State).
Let’s calculate the savings in tuition fees, taking into account the first two steps:
- Two years of study in a community college (In-State) - $9 thousand.
- Two years of study at Harvard University (In-State) - $40 thousand.
- Total tuition fees (4 years), taking into account the use of the proposed steps - $49 thousand.
- Savings in tuition fees (excluding accommodation costs) as per proposed scheme are $127 thousand.
Step 3.Grants and financial support
Quite a common way to reduce the tuition fees among American students. If you obtain a green card through the EB-5 program the chances of your child to receive such grants will be significantly higher. Well, your child will be able to use some ways only being a permanent resident or a US citizen! What are the types of financial support for students?
- Grants and scholarships.. As mentioned above, the vast majority of grants do not apply to aliens. Of course, you can try your luck in obtaining a grant for aliens. The best known one is the Fulbright Program. Using a grant of this program, your student will be able to study free (the grant covers 100% of tuition fees at the university). The disadvantage of this program is that participation in the competition for the grant is permitted only for students who have already obtained a Bachelor's degree or students in their final year of studies. The advantage is that grants under this program are disposed of by lottery annually and are available to Russians, Ukrainians and citizens of 158 other countries. Accordingly, the level of competition is extremely high.
- As for the installment - everything will be decided individually. However, there is a general rule - the first semester is due immediately. The second and subsequent semesters may be divided into equal payments usually on a quarterly basis.
- Competitions are an opportunity to reduce tuition costs for creative individuals. Winning the competition gives you the opportunity to study at various US universities. Conditions, dates and content of competitions are constantly changing. However, if your child is talented enough, and you feel that he/she has a chance to win - be sure to get involved and do not miss the chance to get free education in the US. Take your time to read the conditions of the program. To obtain money for studies is not enough. It is important to understand what obligations the grant imposes on your child.
- On-Campus Part-Time Jobs. If you decide not to issue a green card for your child, he/she can work while studying, having an F1student visa. And there are significant restrictions: no more than 20 hours of work per week at an hourly rate of $8-10. Thus, a student can earn $160-200 per week or $640-800 per month, which partially offset the high tuition fees in the US. If you use our advice and issue a green card under the EB-5 program, your child will not be limited in the ways of earning and the amounts earned by them on their own, may be considerably greater.
Summarizing all the above, it should be noted that obtaining a Green Card for a future student significantly reduces tuition fees and offers more opportunities for cost optimization. The EB-5 Program is one of the most loyal US immigration programs. Minimal requirements for an applicant make the process of obtaining permanent resident status more democratic and fast. Resolving the issues of reducing tuition fees for your child, you also get a nice bonus – a green card for the whole family and access to all features and preferences of US citizenship.