I was recently talking to a professor at a top university seeking advice for graduate school applications. The professor happened to mention that departments in the US have funding concerns when it comes to international students because they aren't eligible for government funding from agencies such as NIH or NSF. Moreover, admissions decisions are made based on whether there is funding available to support the student for atleast 5 years. I had a couple of questions on how exactly this works.
- Can international students be paid through NIH/NSF grants (as research assistants) that are awarded to the PI or does a lab use funding from industrial sponsors or other endowments to fund them?
- I was under the impression that theses government grants are usually good for a shorter duration (2-3 years). How can the department be certain of further funds at the time of admitting a candidate?
PS: The title of the question might be similar to some other questions but I am interested in understanding the broader mechanism of how this works instead of specific agencies that fund international students.