Applying for Aid: International Students

Oberlin is privileged to be one of the few American colleges and universities able to offer substantial financial assistance to international students.

Overview for International Students

As an institution committed to ethnic, experiential, and economic diversity, Oberlin provides grants, scholarships, loans, and on-campus employment to enable international students to meet all demonstrated financial need. In recent years, about half of our international students received institutional financial aid, with the average aid package covering about two-thirds of the cost of attendance.

The international financial aid budget is not unlimited. Consequently, the international admission process is extremely competitive—particularly for students with high financial need. Fewer than 15 percent of international applicants are admitted in a typical year.

Applying for Financial Aid

As a need-aware institution, Oberlin considers a student’s financial circumstances when making admissions decisions. Applying for need-based financial aid places you in Oberlin’s most competitive applicant pool. For students enrolling in the Fall of 2022, the admit rate for all international students was approximately 8%. Applicants who can contribute at least $35,000 USD per year towards their educational expenses are the most competitive for admission.

All international applicants who wish to be considered for need-based financial aid must indicate this on their application. Please keep in mind that admission and financial aid decisions cannot be reached until all necessary documentation has been received by the Office of Admissions and the Office of Financial Aid.

Required international financial aid forms will be available in your Oberlin applicant portal after you submit your application.

Any international student wishing to apply for need-based financial assistance must also submit the following:

Please note that if you do not apply for or are not eligible for need-based financial aid at the time of admission, you will not be considered for need-based aid in future years.

Canadian citizens are required to submit the CSS Profile.  They should not submit the ISAFA.  No international students are required to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) since they are ineligible for federal student aid.

Exchange rates: Your Oberlin financial aid package will reflect the prevailing exchange rate when packages are determined. Oberlin does not adjust financial aid for fluctuations in exchange rates.

Special Scholarships

In addition to general need-based financial aid, Oberlin has several merit-based scholarships for which eligible students may be considered. Some examples of such scholarships for international students are:

  • The Eduardo Mondlane Scholarship is available to any citizen from a sub-Saharan African country applying to the College of Arts and Sciences.
  • The Ambassador Edwin O. Reischauer Scholarship is for any Japanese national who has been accepted for admission to the College of Arts and Sciences.
  • The Yakubu Saaka Memorial Fund provides awards to African students applying to the College of Arts and Sciences.

More about scholarships for international students


While Oberlin does occasionally offer limited loans to international students directly, please know that there are lending opportunities available through other organizations. Many will require a credit-worthy U.S. citizen or permanent resident as a cosigner.

Here are a few options for international student loans, listed in no particular order or preference:

Student Employment

During the first academic year at Oberlin, students on F-1 visas are allowed to work only on campus. No special permission is needed. On-campus employment must not exceed 20 hours a week while school is in session. Full-time, on-campus work is allowed when school is not in session.

Students on F-1 visas who have been enrolled at Oberlin on a full-time basis for one full academic year may engage in temporary off-campus employment to gain practical experience in their field of study through Curricular Practical Training (CPT).

Here are the basic rules:

  1. You must be authorized to work by the Designated School Official (DSO).
  2. Authorization cannot be backdated and work cannot begin before the DSO has given permission.
  3. The proposed employment must be related to your major field of study and commensurate with your level of study.