The Costly Truth About Financing an International Education in America

For Sam and Nick, and many international students, financing their education is often more challenging and prohibitive than the rigors of pursuing a higher education degree


Tuition costs for international students are significantly higher than for in-state residents. At the public community college level resident tuition costs approximately $46/unit; whereas, international students pay roughly five times the tuition at nearly $264/unit. And, international students are required to maintain 12 units per semester, which translates to around $6300/year.

Grants and Scholarships

Public colleges and universities rarely offer grants or scholarships to international students. Most internationals rely on private moneys to fund their education costs; however, those opportunities are rare and hard to come by. The futures of these students are reliant on the generosity of private entities, or family money, which is even more rare in third world countries.


International students are required to adhere to strict governance regarding income earning. In the first year they are not permitted to work at all. From the second year and forward their working options are limited to minimum wage, on campus jobs during the regular semesters and are restricted to a maximum of 20 hours per week. Not nearly enough to defray tuition costs.

What does this mean for students like Sam and Nick? It means they must rely on the the global village to change their destinies. Are you a destiny changer? Become the village and support these hard working international students.

Once Upon a Time...

Every great story has an epic cast of characters. When the writing is well-crafted, each character plays a pivotal role in moving the story forward. Because you chose to be here, you are a necessary part of our story. Let us share a little more about the tale thus far, so you can decide what role you would like to play as the rest of the narrative unfolds.

Once upon a time in the village of Chino, in the kingdom of California, in the land of USA, there lived a childless couple (by choice). For 24 years they had everything they needed (or so it would seem); careers, a home, food, clothing, friends, and much more, but especially, each other. They were utterly unaware their happy and contented life was about to turn into an exciting epic adventure.

On the other side of the world lived two young men, in the villages of Gitaru and Luwero, in the realms of Kenya and Uganda, in the mythic land of Africa. They were brothers, but did not know it yet. They did not always have everything they needed. Money was a luxury, water an effort to acquire, days when food was scarce, and clothing with patches where holes once existed. But, they had family, friends, community, and hope…always hope.

Education was a hope that promised a future, so they worked hard in school to achieve high marks. Even so, education came at a high premium, especially in their villages, and this is where the dragon enters our epic tale. Every great story has a villain, and one enemy of hope is a lack of resources. However, just as every great story has a villain, it also has a hero, or heroes, ready to slay the dragon, and one of those heroes was about to make a dramatic appearance in the lives of these two brothers.

In their two separate villages, the future brothers were offered the same opportunitY to join forces with a group that would take them across great oceans and into new lands to sing, drum, and dance for the people, from royalty to commoners, thus earning the promise of hope fulfilled for an education. This was their life from ages eight and nine into young adulthood. When they were 18 and 19 years old, the brothers crossed the great sea once again and alighted in the village of Chino, where their lives dramatically collided with the lives of the childless couple.

Because the couple had no children, there was plenty of room in their house to provide a temporary home for these young travelers, and in a very short time, they became as close as family. The boys became brothers and the couple mom and dad. They could not imagine a life without each other and when it was time for the brothers to continue on their travels, a massive void was left in their wake.

As the brothers continued traveling and performing across the USA this unique family kept in close contact, sharing their hopes and dreams for the future. It became evident to the couple that the future with the most possibility for the boys was to come back to the USA to study in universities and earn scrolls which would provide them opportunities to work anywhere in the world and create their own legacies.

In spite of the dragon’s efforts to circumvent their destinies, the brothers were granted student visas six months later, in the same week, two lands apart. They returned to the USA and began their college educations in the spring of 2013. Since then they have excelled in their studies earning high GPAs and honors in each of their fields of study—Architecture and Psychology. While they are fulfilling their destinies and callings, the dragon lurks around, waiting for opportunities to circumvent their futures. But, there are heroes out there in the global village, waiting with pitchforks, torches, shields, and swords, ready to slay the dragon together.


While this epic tale is yet unfinished, the reality is it needs a larger cast of characters to achieve a victorious outcome.The once childless couple, Reggie and Juli, are committed to the success of their sons. In that way they (we) are no different than any other parents. However, the financial realities of international education put us in a unique place as parents. While most college students can defray at least some, if not all, of the costs of tuition with scholarships, grants, and jobs, these are hard to come by for international students, and the entire burden of our sons' educational costs have landed squarely on our shoulders.

Check out The Costly Truth About Financing an International Education for the specifics related to Sam and Nick's circumstances, and view Taking America Home to learn more about how we became a family. We invite you, even beseech you, to consider partnering with us in Nick and Sam's futures. Nothing speaks more clearly to our circumstance than this well know African proverb. "It takes a village to raise one child." Join our global village and be the catalyst that changes the legacies of not only these two young men, but many future generations to come.