If you are planning on studying abroad, it's important that you figure out what kinds of financial aid will fund your trip. Most study abroad trips cost about double your normal tuition for each semester, which can make the expense feel out of reach for many students. However, there are many scholarships, grants, and other sources of funding that can help offset or completely cover the costs of studying abroad, making the trip more accessible for many.
The final cost of your study abroad program depends on factors such as length of trip, the destination country, and associated costs such as paying the program fee, buying your passport, immunizations before traveling overseas, incidentals and insurance. Some scholarships might cover a specific need or cost, while others are all-inclusive. Additionally, many students cover the entire cost of studying abroad by patching together several scholarships. Don't let a high price keep you from your dreams of traveling. Instead, check out these resources for financial help.
The Federal Pell Grant is a need-based grant, meaning that your family must be below the Expected Family Contribution limit every year in addition to your status as a full-time student. However, should you be eligible to receive a Pell Grant, you might be eligible for other need-based awards also. Of these, the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunities Grant (SEOG) and the Benjamin A. Gilford Scholarship are two that can help fund study abroad opportunities but are only available to those students who qualify for a Pell Grant.
Scholarships are an excellent way to fund your trip. The David L. Boren Undergraduate Scholarships for Study Abroad, funded by the National Security Education Program (NSEP) is awarded to those students who desire to study languages and cultures relevant to national security. They offer scholarships to students traveling to a variety of scholarships in Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Central Europe, Latin America, and Asia. However, they do not offer scholarships to students who are traveling to Australia, Canada, Western Europe, or New Zealand
Additionally, the Federal government gives out several types of loans to help offset the cost of study abroad. One popular option is the Federal Stafford Loan, which is available to any student in need of some assistance. Depending on your family's income, the loan interest can be subsidized by the government while you are in school at least part-time.
The Federal Perkins Loan is an incredibly low-interest loan that is available to students demonstrating the greatest need financially. Talking with your advisor regarding your financial status can help you determine whether or not you might be eligible.
Your college or university is a good place to begin when it comes to researching various financial awards. Depending on the program and your situation, some institutions can adjust your cost of attendance in order to make you more eligible for various forms of aid. However, this is not a guaranteed rule, and you should talk to your study abroad office about the possibility of funding your trip through your school.
Exchange programs are a way for universities to enjoy reciprocity agreements without passing on the additional cost of attendance and travel to the student. This means that you don't have to apply for additional financial aid packages to cover the cost of your study abroad program. This can be an ideal situation for students who are get funding for their basic college expenses and are unable to cover the cost of additional fees. One exchange programs to consider is the German Academic Exchange Service, which offers students both short- and long-term scholarships at a German university.
There are many scholarships that are offered through travel councils, student groups, and other organizations that wish to facilitate the exchange of culture and ideas. Some popular providers of scholarships that are unaffiliated with the government or educational institutions include AIFS, an organization that offers over 24 international campus locations in countries such as Botswana, Chile, Costa Rica, England, Russia, South Africa, India, New Zealand, and Spain and offers accepted students scholarships to help fund their travels.
The Institute of International Education (IIE) is another highly recommended resource when it comes to locating travel scholarships. Browse for applicable awards by your destination country or field of study to see what is available.
CIEE is another non-profit, non-governmental international exchange organization helping students receive a global education while building knowledge of other cultures. Fastweb is an excellent scholarship search engine that will help you locate awards, scholarships, grants, and other sources of funding necessary for your global travels.
Lastly, civic organizations sometimes offer excellent alternatives to funding your international education. The Rotary Club's Ambassadorial Scholarship is one such award.