For many students, the chance to study abroad can be the opportunity of a lifetime. However, it will require many dollars, pesos, euros, etc. There are resources available to help make your trip overseas possible. Don’t rule out this possibility because of cost; get the facts and find out your eligibility for aid first!
The amount of aid you can receive for studying abroad is going to depend largely on:
- The amount of aid that you would regularly qualify for at your college or university.
- The cost of your study abroad program.
- How involved your college is in promoting study abroad opportunities to its students,
- Your enrollment status, i.e. if you are taking at least a half-time course load.
- If studying abroad is going to further advance the progress towards your degree.
Variables to Consider for Studying Abroad:
- Program Length- Shorter programs are less expensive; studying abroad for a semester or even a year will allow you access to more resources. Not all costs will change according to program length.
- Exchange Rates- Currency exchange rates are constantly changing; check out a currency converter to stay on top of the latest exchange rates.
- Destination- Talk with a program adviser about various locations you are considering. There are many options to consider before choosing a location.
Costs to Consider:
Many factors are included in determining the cost of studying abroad.
Program costs to consider:
- Destination country
- Type and length of program
- What is included in your program
Other costs (costs that go beyond that of program fees):
- Local Transportation
Funding your Trip:
There are a wide variety of ways to fund your adventure. Listed below are some common ways to fund your trip. Also talk with your financial aid office and study abroad program adviser about resources that may be available through your school.
- Federal Pell Grant- This grant is a need-based grant. You must be an undergraduate student with an Expected Family Contribution below the limit determined each year.
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunities Grant- This grant is for students demonstrating the greatest amount of financial need. Generally, you must qualify for a Pell Grant in order to receive this type of grant.
- Federal Stafford Loans- These loans are in the student's name and are available to all students regardless of need.
- Federal Perkins Loan- This is a low-interest loan for students who demonstrate a great financial need.
- Parent PLUS Loans for Undergraduate Student- These loans are available for parents to help fund the cost of their undergraduate student's education. A parent may borrow up to the full cost of your education minus the amount of any other aid you receive.
- David L. Boren Undergraduate Scholarships for Study Abroad- The National Security Education Program has scholarships available for undergraduates who desire to study abroad. Students must be studying the language and cultures considered to be important to U.S. national security. You are not eligible if you wish to study 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 International Scholarship- You can apply for this if you are eligible to receive a Pell Grant.
State and Institutional Aid
- If you are a recipient of state aid, check with your school’s financial aid office to see if your aid can be applied to your study abroad program.
- Select institutions will apply institutional aid to approved study abroad programs. They will adjust the cost of attendance based on the cost of your study abroad program. This means that you may be eligible for more aid for studying abroad than you would be if you stayed on campus,
- Study abroad scholarships are available through some institutions. The higher your GPA, the better your chances of receiving a merit-based award for studying abroad. Select institutions offer scholarships for their own matriculated students.
- Third part study abroad programs sometimes offer scholarships to students who will be attending their program.
- Some institutions offer exchange programs where you can attend a foreign university in exchange for your home university hosting a student from the overseas institution. Your financial aid package will remain the same as if you were studying from your campus.
- You may be able to work while studying abroad, however this money is more or less pocket money for your personal expenses. The money you earn will not be considered a major source of funding.
- Federal Work Study is generally not applicable to a student’s study abroad financial aid package.
There are many sources of aid available for study abroad. Don’t let the cost deter your trip. Do your research and check with your school so that you know if you’ll be packing to go across the pond or for a semester on the high seas.