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Financial Aid Options for Studying Abroad

ScholarNet Blog Articles | March 11, 2022

Hundreds of thousands of students study abroad every year. It’s a great way for students to expand horizons as they continue their education. With so many students eager to travel the world, it’s important that they know what financial aid options are available. To make assisting these students easier, we put together this quick guide to financial aid options.

Types of Financial Aid Available

The Higher Education Act (HEA) of 1992 mandated that students can receive financial aid for the costs of studying abroad if they are enrolled in a program approved by their institution. Students are eligible to receive “grants, loans, or work assistance without regard to whether the study abroad program is required as a part of the student’s degree.”

Federal and state governments, foundations, private and public organizations are primary sources of financial aid available to study abroad students. Here are some examples of each, and factors that impact when they may be used:

Federal Loans

The U.S. Department of Education’s Direct Loan Program has three primary loans available to study abroad students, including:

  • Direct Subsidized Loans.
  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans.
  • Direct PLUS Loans.

Private Loans

What if your students need additional funding after weighing government-sponsored aid options, or if they missed the FAFSA deadline? Students studying abroad still have the option to explore private loans. Private loans allow flexible repayment terms, are approved by thousands of schools, and ScholarNet can simplify loan processing for your office.

Grants and Scholarships

The following grants and scholarships are also available to for these students to apply for:

  • Federal Pell Grant. Part-time enrollment reduces eligibility.
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Grant (SEOG). Must be enrolled at least half-time.
  • Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship Program. This scholarship program is only open to undergraduate Federal Pell Grant recipients who intend to study abroad for a semester, summer, or year-long program.
  • The National Security Education Program (NSEP) and the Fulbright Program have grants and fellowships for students overseas.
  • Foreign Language & Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship program provides study abroad funding to students pursuing foreign language studies.

Institutional Aid

Institutional aid is also applicable to study abroad students, and can come from a variety of sources. Some aid can be specified for overseas study but other scholarships can be restricted to the campus, state, or for domestic programs.

Private and Public Organizations

Private organizations, foundations, corporations, and civic groups are an additional source of aid for study abroad students. For example, the Coca-Cola Foundation, Amoco, and the Chrysler Corporation have given funds for overseas study. Additionally, the Rotary Foundation, Foundation for Global Scholars, and Fund for Education Abroad all have private, sponsored international scholarship programs.

There are more options that may apply to students at your institution based on your location or their specific situation. Feel free to share with us on LinkedIn how you’ve helped your students access funds for studying abroad – you might help a student afford the experience of a lifetime.

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