Education System Structure in USA
The American higher education system is administratively managed at three levels: primary (generally ages 5–11 or 5–12), secondary (generally ages 12–18), and post-secondary or tertiary (generally ages 18 and up). Students are required to remain in school until the age of 16. Ninety-nine percent of the U.S. population is literate; 85% achieve a secondary school leaving certificate (diploma); and 27% achieve a post-secondary leaving certificate (diploma). In 2009, there were over 77 million students enrolled in some level of education.
To understand the American system of education, it is critical to understand the concept of local control. Local control means that locally elected education entities, typically in the form of governing boards, at the city, state, and institutional level, control issues including the nature of the curriculum, admissions standards, and funding for schools, colleges, and universities. This means that the federal government of the United States has relatively little say in how education is managed and does not govern or provide control over degrees, standards, or curriculum – which is typically the role of the Ministry of Education in other countries.Based on the above, in the United States, governance and support of post-secondary educational institutions falls into one of two categories, public (government supported) or private. American colleges and universities are roughly evenly divided between these two types of institutions. Whether a higher educationinstitution is public or private has no relationship to educational quality, although the very most competitive ones tend to be dominated by privates. Whether an institution is public or private, it will set its own admission standards, and prospective students must apply separately for each.For the same reasons, quality assurance for educational institutions is not the role of any branch of government. Rather, it is the responsibility of voluntary non-governmental accrediting agencies. There are two kids of accreditation – institutional and programmatic. With both kinds, peer review means that standards are set and reviewed by volunteer boards composed of fellow educators and specialists, and not by government officials. Institutions that successfully complete this process at the total institution level gain either regional or national accreditation. In the U.S., “regional” is more prestigious than “national.”Specific programmes, such as business, education, pharmacy, or engineering, have professional associations. These associations have the same kind of peer review process. If an institution completes that process successfully, it earns professional accreditation from the association. In a similar but separate process, core academic programmes, for example, architectural training, are also subject to accreditation.
How much does it cost to study in USA?
Universities in America are majorly divided into two categories - Public/State and Private. The education cost at a public/state university is comparatively lesser than that of a private institution. Your expenditure on tuition fee depends on the type of qualification and university or school you opt for. To cover tuition fees, you will need approx. $10,000 to $55,000 a year (indicative). Most commonly, humanities, education and arts courses are cheaper, while subjects such as medicine and engineering are likely to be more expensive. If you wish to study at postgraduate level, the tuition fees are typically higher, and the costs vary depending on the program. As with most other countries, MBA programs are often the most expensive. The average cost for these programs is around $60,000 (indicative).
Tuition fees in USD (indicative)
English language studies
$700 to $2,000 a month
$6,000 to $20,000 per year
$20,000 to $40,000 per year
$20,000 to $45,000 per year
$28,000 to $55,000 per year
Cost of living in USA
Living conditions and cost of living in the U.S. vary greatly depending on location and lifestyle, but in an overall sense, they are similar to what they are in other affluent nations. Consumer goods are certainly easy to find, and basic needs such as food and household items are affordable to almost all people who live in the U.S. The average monthly cost of living for an adult living in the US is $2,300 (not including tuition fees). As in most nations, the cost of living is higher in big cities than in smaller towns; accommodation can be expensive in the cities.
Most universities in the US offer on-campus residence to international students. Living as a resident on-campus is a very affordable option, however you need to apply for it separately, and well ahead in time to secure a slot for yourself. You can also opt for an off-campus accommodation wherein you can share apartments with other international students or live in a homestay with a local family. In such cases, you should be open to adjusting to a different lifestyle. Remember, the rentals vary from city to city.
The table below shows the average costs of most accommodation options in USA. The prices are only indicative, as the average costs vary widely from state to state. Your IDP Education counsellor can help choose the best accommodation option that fits your budget.
Average Cost in US Dollar
Hostels and Guesthouses
$45 to $100 a night
$470 to $3,600 per month
$800 to $900 each month
$600-$3,000 per month
$450 per month
You need to keep a little money aside for your grocery shopping, social activities and emergency situations. Considering various expenses and living costs, a single student budget in the US comes between $ 10,000 and $ 25,000 per academic year (indicative) depending on the city they choose to live. You should also consider these common expenses when creating your budget:
- Internet/phone: $35 - 60
- Food: $17 – 42 in average
- Rent: $104 - 208
- Electricity/gas: $50 – 100 in average
- Transport: $36 in average
How to apply for USA Student Visa from Nepal?
Documents Required for I-20 :
- Filled up application form of respected Institution
- Application fee
- Academic Certificates
- Copy of Passport
- IELTS/ TOFEL & SAT/ GRE/GMAT Score (Optional)
- Personal Easssy (500 words)
- Recommendation Letters & Job Certificate (Optional)
- Bank Certificate
Documents for Visa Interview:
- Acceptance Letter from the institute
- Academic Certificates
- Valid Passport/ Travel document
- IELTS/ TOFEL & SAT/ GRE/GMAT Score (Optional)
- Two passport size photographs
- SEVIS fees Receipt ($200)
- Appointment Fee ($160)
- Cover letter
- Complete DS-160 Form
Scholarship in USA
Degrees in America are expensive, but an abundance of scholarships are available to help international students out. Almost all universities have scholarship programmes, most of which are open to applications from international students – although you may need to take SAT or ACT tests. According to the Fulbright Commission, more than 600 American universities offer scholarships worth $20,000 or more to international students. They are typically assessed on either academic merit, financial need, or extracurricular contribution. In addition to these, there are a range of scholarships available from private organisations and donors, with a broad range of criteria for eligibility. For instance, there are scholarships to study in Minnesota for the descendants of maimed WWII veterans – and in Illinois for those whose parents have had cancer.
Types of Scholarship:
University scholarships Most universities will offer some kind of financial aid for international students, so your institution of choice should be your first port of call when considering funding.
Financial scholarships These scholarships are based on the financial need of the students. The majority of these are only available for US residents but some universities will give out needs-based scholarships to international students.
Merit scholarships For students who are either academically gifted, were top sports players in high school or excelled in community or entrepreneurial work.
Country-based scholarships These scholarships are targeted at students from developing countries in particular.
Government-funded US scholarships for international students
- Fulbright Foreign Student Program – The Fulbright Program are full scholarships in USA for international students who wants to pursue a Master’s or PhD degree. The scholarships can also be awarded for non-degree postgraduate studies. The grant covers tuition fee, textbooks, airfare, a living stipend, and health insurance.
- Hubert Humphrey Fellowship Program– The Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program provides a year of professional enrichment in the United States for experienced professionals from designated countries throughout the world. Fellows are selected based on their potential for leadership and their commitment to public service in either the public or private sector. The fellowships are full grants covering all related expenses.
Popular Cities in USA for Education
Study in Boston
Following are the best universities in Boston for international students:
- Harvard University
- Boston University
- Tufts University
- Northeastern University
Study in New York
Following are the best universities in New York for international students:
- Columbia University
- New York University
- Monroe College
- Yeshiva University
Study in Baltimore
Following are the best universities in Baltimore for international students:
- University of Maryland
- University of Baltimore
- Morgan State University
- Coppin State University
Study in Chicago
Following are the best universities in Chicago for international students:
- Northwestern Illinois University
- Chicago State University
- East West University
- Roosevelt University
Study in Los Angeles
Following are the best universities in Los Angeles for international students:
- Santa Monica College
- University of California
- University of Southern California
- Los Angeles City College
Country and Culture (Geography, History, Society & Economy)
The United States of America (also referred to as the United States, the U.S., the USA,or America) borders Canada to the north, Mexico to the south, the North Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the North Pacific Ocean to the west. At roughly 9.8 million square kilometres, the U.S. is the world’s third-largest country in size and population and one of the most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations.The U.S. consists of 50 states (48 continental plus Alaska and Hawaii), a federal district, Washington D.C., and small territories in the Pacific and Caribbean. The capital city is Washington, D.C.
The United States’ earliest settlers were aboriginal natives (now referred to as Native Americans).The British then began settling on the east coast, and eventually established 13 colonies. These colonies declared their independence in 1776 from Britain as a result of the American Revolution, a war that declared their independence in 1776 from Britain as a result of the American Revolution, a war that grew out of the colonists’ protest of the fact that they were ordered to pay taxes but had no representation in the British government. The Treaty of Paris in 1783 officially recognised the United States of America as a sovereign nation, and the U.S. constitution was signed in 1787. The U.S. went on to become a superpower in the 20th century, and it is one of the world’s most influential nations. Today, the population of the U.S. is approximately 309 million. It is ethnically and culturally diverse, thanks to a long history of immigration, with Caucasians comprising 70% of the population, Hispanic or Latino 13%, Black or African American 12%, Asian 4%, and indigenous native Americans 1%. English is the main language, with Spanish the second-most common language.
A common metaphor used to describe American culture is “the melting pot,” which means that a variety of ethnicities and nationalities are represented in the population and blend to form a common culture. While it is true that there is a strong sense of “Americanness” among the population, most would agree that there are still very distinct sub-cultures, especially along ethnic lines (e.g., Hispanic or Latino). The United States is a secular country, with a core principle being the separation of church and state and freedom for individuals to worship as they choose. Another distinctive factor is freedom of expression ensuring individuals the right to express themselves without fear of government reprisals. These individual freedoms help to shape a culture where an individual’s interest and skills can be more important than family or connections in the marketplace – at least relative to other countries. In recent decades, women, ethnic minorities, and gays and lesbians have made considerable progress in overcoming traditional barriers and prejudices in both the workplace and society at large. Sports are quite popular in the United States. American football, baseball, and basketball represent the most successful professional franchises, while soccer is popular as a youth team sport. University sports, especially American football and basketball, are also very popular. Elite university football programs, for example, may draw regular crowds of 75,000.
The U.S. is the largest economy in the world, and one of the most technologically advanced. The gross domestic product (GDP) in 2009 was roughly $14 trillion USD (U.S. dollar), with per capita GDP at $47,000 USD. American firms are at or near the forefront of technological advances, especially with regard to computers and in medical, aerospace, and military equipment. The currency is the U.S.Dollar.
With its large size and geographic variety, the U.S. includes most climate types from the tropical atmosphere of Hawaii and Florida to the semi-arid Great Plains; from the arid Mojave Desert to the snow-capped Rocky Mountains, not to mention the cold Arctic climate of Alaska. Because of the climate, the ecology in the U.S. is extremely diverse, with abundant flora and fauna and amazing natural habitats for nature-inspired visitors to explore.
The U.S. is a federal republic with a strong democratic tradition founded on the concept of local control. The federal government shares power with strong local governments in each of the 50 states, the district of Columbia, the territories, and multiple counties, cities, and towns. At both the federal and local levels, there are three branches of government: the executive, the legislative, and the judicial, where each has authority over different governmental functions in a system of checks and balances. The U.S. legal code is based on English common law (except in Louisiana, which is still influenced by Napoleonic code).
Work and Study in USA
International students at US universities and colleges can only work under limited circumstances. Only an F1 visa holder is eligible to work while studying. An F1 student visa holder may work on campus. That could mean working in a university bookstore, cafeteria or other facilities where students can help. This is for up to 20 hours per week, or and full-time during school break periods (up to 40 hours per week). After a year of study, an F1 visa holder may work off campus in a role related to their area of study.
- You need to apply to USCIS for a work permit that authorizes you to work off-campus. Apply through your designated school official (DSO), demonstrate a special need, and work no more than 20 hours per week when school is in session.
- F1 students may have 3 types of off-campus employment: Curricular Practical Training; Optional Practical Training (pre-completion or post-completion); and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Optional Practical Training Extension.
Some entry level jobs will pay approximately $7.00 to $9.00 per hour, but more highly skilled positions may pay $10 or more per hour. Students are allowed to work up to 40 hours per week. Depending on the job, you may also have the option of overtime.
Working after graduation
The United States allows International graduates who have found employment relevant to their degree to stay for a year or slightly more. During this time, graduates may be able to secure long term employment sponsorship. F-1 students can qualify for one year Optional Practical Training (OPT) employment authorization for every degree they earn. Students with a bachelor's, master's or doctorate degree in STEM subject (Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics) qualify for an additional 17 months of employment. Students wanting to live permanently should try to get an employer to sponsor them for H-1B temporary professional employment status while working with OPT permission
- You can be in H-1B status fleastor at 6 years.
- While in H-1B status, you may gain the necessary experience to qualify for an employment-based immigrant visa.
- Getting a visa usually requires a job offer where no qualified US workers are available.
Information Specific to International Students
The U.S. has the world’s largest population of international students: nearly 600,000.Since September 11, 2001, the United States has increased security at all of its borders and increased scrutiny for all visa applications to the U.S. Visitors must meet stringent criteria to obtain a visa prior to entering the country, including documenting financial capabilities to support the programme of study entering the country, including documenting financial capabilities to support the programme of study and demonstrating compelling ties to the home country. Visas are issued by the State Department (DoS) at U.S. embassies and consulates. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) oversees both Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agencies. CBP inspectors are responsible for admission of travellers to the U.S. at the port of entry, for a specified status and period of time. ICE is responsible for immigration enforcement and matters within the U.S. International students pursuing degree programmes generally need an F-1 (non-immigrant) or student visa. After being accepted to study at an authorised institution, the student will need to apply with the Department of State at an U.S embassy or consulate for an F-1 (student) visa. There are visa fees to be paid, an interview to schedule, and an application to fill out. The authorised school will issue a SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) I-20 form, which will also be needed to apply for the F-1 visa.Those coming for cultural exchanges or those who are financially supported by their home government may qualify for a J1 exchange visitor visa. International students must have insurance to cover accident, illness, medical evacuation, or return of remains in case of death. They must be able to support themselves financially during their stay. An F1 visa student is permitted to work part-time on-campus (20 hours per week) but not off-campus during the first year of study. After the first year of study, permission to work off-campus may be granted by the school in cases of curricular work requirements (those in co-operative education programmes or with required internships or other work needs necessary for degree completion). The DHS/ICE may grant permission for off-campus employment after the first year in cases of demonstrated economic hardship. F1 students are also eligible for 12 months of optional practical training. Students in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics fields may be eligible for up to 29 months of optional practical training. J1 students are eligible for 18 months of academic trainin (three years if completing a doctoral degree).
Important U.S. Government Agencies/Departments
- DoS (Department of State): Issues visas at U.S. embassies and consulates.
- DHS (The Department of Homeland Security): Oversees ICE and CBP.
- ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement): Responsible enforcing immigration and customs
- laws in the U.S. CBP (Customs and Border Protection): Responsible for border protection;
- inspectors at the port of entry.
- SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System): Online student tracking system. U.S.
- Institutions use the SEVIS system to issue the form I-20 for students.
http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ous/international/usnei/edlite-index.html – U.S. Network on Education Information
www.usastudyguide.com – Overview of the U.S. Education System
http://educationusa.state.gov/ – Guide to U.S. higher education
http://iienetwork.org/ – Institute of international education for education professionals
http://www.linkroll.com/vocational-school/an-in-depth-look-of-todays-vocational-education.php – Indepth
look at vocational education
http://www.internationalstudent.com/ – International student exchange and study abroad centre
www.abroadplanet.com – International Students Portal
http://profiles.studyusa.com – Study in the U.S.
http://www.airc-education.org – American Independent Recruitment Council
http://www.khake.com/page50.html – Career and Technical Vocational Education Resources
http://www.agri.wsu.edu/acter/ – Association for Career and Technical Education Research (ACTER)
http://www.agri.wsu.edu/acter/ – Association for Career and Technical Education Research (ACTER)
http://www.elearners.com/resources/agencies.asp – Accrediting Agencies
http://www.usastudyguide.com/accreditation.htm – Regional Accrediting Organisations
http://educationusa.state.gov/home/accreditation-guide – Higher education in the U.S.
http://museumca.org/usa/ – Museums in the U.S.
http://www.publiclibraries.com/ – Public libraries of the U.S
http://www.usahistory.info/ – History of the U.S.
http://www.usastudyguide.com/americanculture.htm – American culture
http://www.census.gov/ – U.S. Census data – Statistics