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
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
- 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
- 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
- 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.