Going abroad can be expensive, but that shouldn't stop you from pursuing opportunities overseas. There are many ways for you to make study abroad affordable, including scholarships, financial aid, and of course saving up. If you are concerned with how to finance a study abroad experience, this guide will help you understand the many ways you can afford to study abroad.
Start with your Financial Aid Package
Did you know that may be able to apply your financial aid funds towards a study abroad program? This varies by institution, but because financial aid is provided for you as a student, it is possible to apply some, if not all of those funds towards your study abroad experience. It's important to meet with your financial aid office to understand how much money can be used to go abroad. Knowing this will determine how much you are expected to pay out of pocket.
In general, financial aid is based on need, merit, or sometimes both. Other requirements including your citizenship and enrollment in a certain number of credits. Talk with your study abroad or financial aid advisor to discuss what kinds of aid is available to you. Be sure to ask:
It is important to confirm whether any existing financial aid is transferable, which is usually the case if you go on a program offered directly through your institution. If funding is a major concern for you, choosing a program at your school may be the most cost-effective option.
If you are participating in another school’s program or are directly enrolling with a foreign university, your school will need to have a written agreement with the other institution in order for your federal aid to transfer.
Once you receive any funds, be sure to find out if there are any restrictions on it. For example, some awards can only be used towards academic expenses like tuition and textbooks.
While you’re arranging financial aid for study abroad, be sure to find out what you need to do to keep receiving your current aid and to ensure that you will have aid once you return to your home campus. Below are some of the types of aid you may receive, and how transferable they may be.
Because federal financial aid belongs to you and not your institution, it is usually transferable. As long as you are earning credits towards your degree, federal aid can typically be applied to education abroad. This means that some programs, such as internships and volunteer abroad programs that do not award academic credits may not be eligible.
State aid, provided by your state government, varies greatly. Some states only allow you to use state aid towards a study abroad program that is run by a college within the state. Other states will allow you to use state aid towards any study abroad program, as long as you are earning units towards your degree.
Institutional aid is provided by your university. It is up to your school to decide whether or not this kind of aid can be applied to study abroad, so be sure to check what their policy is.
“I wanted to study Arabic in order to connect with my family, history, religion, and culture. I previously lived and worked in an Arabic-speaking country and wanted to learn Arabic more formally in order to maintain personal and professional...”
American Councils for International Education