Understanding Disbursement for Study Abroad Loans

US students who study abroad are able to apply their standard financial aid awards towards approved study abroad programs. However, attending a foreign school can make the loan process seem more complicated, and you may be wondering how your loan will be disbursed while you are studying abroad.

Talk to Your School

When you apply to a study abroad program, you should also contact your school’s financial aid office to find out if there are any special application processes or policies required in receiving financial aid for overseas study. For instance, the study abroad office will provide the financial aid office with costs or a budget for your study abroad program that will facilitate the disbursement of aid when you leave the country.

You may also need to check with the bursar’s office on how they can contact you or to make financial disbursement arrangements. Make sure that you check with all three offices several weeks before your plans are finalized. Keep records of all forms that you submit and submission dates as well as all personal contacts made (individuals and dates of those contacts). Keeping careful records will help you avoid confusion as well as provide clarification in the event of any issues that might arise.

When Will Your Aid be Disbursed?

Disbursement dates vary from school to school; you should check with your school to find out when exactly your funds will be disbursed to your account. Your loan may be disbursed a week or ten days before the start of your program, or some schools do not disburse your loan until the day your program begins. In the event that your funds will not be disbursed until after you leave the country, you will most likely have to come up with travel expenses yourself.

If there is any money left over after the funds have been applied to your account at your school, the extra money will then go to you.

Disbursement Dates

Disbursement dates are based on the length of your program as follows:

  • Quarter/semester programs: one disbursement
  • Academic year programs: three disbursements
  • Off-cycle year programs: four disbursements

The specifics of loan fund disbursement vary from school to school, so it is best for you to contact your individual school to find out details such as any paperwork you have to complete, when your aid will be disbursed, and how you will receive it.

Watch videos and learn more with our International Financial Aid Resources center

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