Financial Aid for Study Abroad Students
If you are planning on studying abroad, you likely have a number of questions about the cost and about how you can fund your study abroad experience. To learn more about specific funding options available at your college or university, make sure to speak with your campus financial aid officer and study abroad advisor.
Financial aid for undergraduate study abroad mainly consists of federal grants and federal and private loans. However, you may also be able to find scholarships offered by organizations and sponsoring companies. The trick is to know where to look.
How Much Will Study Abroad Cost?
The cost of study abroad programs varies depending on several factors, such as your destination country, the type and length of your study abroad program, and what is included in the program cost. Remember to keep in mind costs beyond the program fee. These costs may include passport fees, visa fees, airfare, immunizations, local transportation, meals, books, insurance, and incidentals.
Factors to Consider
- Discuss the locations you are considering with your study abroad advisor.
- Exchange rate
- Keep in mind that currency exchange rates fluctuate constantly. You can use an online currency converter to keep on top of the latest rates.
- Program duration/timing
Although short-term programs are generally less expensive, you may find that there are more resources available for semester- or year-long study programs. Some costs do not change according to the length of time you spend abroad.
Undergraduate students participating in study abroad programs have a variety of financial assistance options available to them. Study up on your options, then talk with your study abroad advisor and financial aid counselor about any additional sources that may be available from your school.
There are a number of loans and grants offered by the US federal government.
- Federal Pell Grant
- This is a need-based grant. You must be a full-time undergraduate student with an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) below the limit determined each year in order to qualify.
- SEOG Grant
The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunities Grant (SEOG) is a need-based grant awarded to students who demonstrate the greatest financial need. Generally, you must qualify for the Federal Pell Grant in order to receive an SEOG Grant.
- Federal Stafford Loan
This loan is available to all students, regardless of their financial need. If the loan is subsidized, the government will pay the interest while you are in school, and if it is unsubsidized, you have the option of capitalizing the interest or paying the interest quarterly during the in-school period. Payment of the principle itself begins six months after you drop below half-time status.
- Federal Perkins Loan
- This is a low interest loan awarded to students who demonstrate the greatest financial need.
- Parent PLUS Loans for
These loans are available for the parents of dependent undergraduate students to help finance their child’s education. Parents may borrow up to the full cost of their child’s education, excluding any other financial aid the student receives. A good credit history is required, as there is a minimal credit check required for this loan.
- David L. Boren
for Study Abroad
The National Security Education Program (NSEP) provides scholarships for students studying languages and cultures deemed important to US national security. Students are not eligible to receive the Boren scholarship if they are studying in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, or the United Kingdom.
- Benjamin A. Gilman
- You are eligible to apply for a Gilman Scholarship if you receive a Federal Pell Grant.
Other Types of Aid
- State Aid
- If you receive state aid, talk with your campus financial aid office to find out if it is applicable to your study abroad program.
- Institutional Aid
Some institutions allow students to apply institutional aid when participating in approved study abroad programs. Generally, the institution will adjust the amount of aid based on the Cost of Attendance (COA) of the program.
- Study Abroad
- Students with a GPA of 3.0 or higher have greater access to merit-based scholarships for study abroad. Some institutions offer study abroad scholarships for their own matriculated students.
- Some third-party study abroad programs offer scholarships to students who attend their programs. Check with your program to find out whether they offer such scholarships.
- Exchange Programs
Some institutions have established reciprocal agreements with foreign universities to that students can attend the foreign university in exchange for their home university hosting a student from the foreign school. This way, students are able to maintain the same financial aid package whether they are on-campus or studying on an institution-approved exchange program. Contact your campus study abroad advisor for more information.