Study Abroad: Financial Aid Options
Many United States based students would relish the opportunity to study abroad; however, studying abroad can be very expensive. In addition to paying regular US tuition, students and their parents are now faced with attempting to pay for international fees. In the past, the option to study abroad was solely for families who could afford to pay every penny. Now, there are some financial options for students studying overseas.
One – Apply using existing financial aid
Students who are already on financial aid can apply to have their funds put towards a semester abroad or summer abroad if they are doing this program directly through their college or university (READ: “Why You Should Study Abroad“). If financial aid is given directly through the school, students should visit their financial aid office on campus and get direct answers in person.
Two – The Benjamin A Gilman Scholarship Program
This program is sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs; it is administered through the Institute of International Education. For a student to receive money through this scholarship program, they must be eligible for a Federal Pell Grant. Students who are eligible can put this money towards a semester, summer, or even a year-long study abroad program.
Three – The National Security Education Program
The National Security Education Program and the Fulbright Program are funded through the US federal government and offer grants as well as fellowships that both undergraduate and graduate students can use to either study or research overseas. These programs are especially popular amongst graduate students.
Four – Foreign Language and Area Studies
This is a fellowship program which is funded by the US Department of Education. This particular fellowship is offered to students who are earning a foreign language degree abroad. For example, a student who wishes to learn Swedish will often find that living in Sweden for a period of time will enable them to become fluent in speaking, writing, reading, and listening (this holds true for any given language).
Five – The Critical Language Scholarship Program
This fellowship program is funded by the US Department of State as well as the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Students who wish to learn one of 13 languages that are considered to be critical to international relations may be able to attend an intensive summer language program at recognized overseas institutions.
There are also funding options available to study abroad through private institutions. A list of these institutions include: The Chrysler Corporation, the Coca-Cola Foundation, and Amoco (READ: “7 Reasons to Study Abroad in the UK“).
Other options come from institutions such as the Foundation for Global Scholars, the Rotary Foundation, and the Fund for Education Abroad. These institutions offer funding for both undergraduate and graduate students and are sometimes restricted by field of study (READ: “Study Abroad: 6 Tips for Studying in Paris“).
Students who are studying abroad are faced with a great deal of research due to the fact that each country has its own set of laws and regulations regarding disabled students. However, students from the United States who happen to have a disability are entitled to receive the same amount of financial aid as any non-disabled student as long as they a meet all of the academic and financial need requirements.
Students who are planning to use financial aid in order to fund their study abroad programs should do their own research and fact checking ahead of time. Some helpful sources include: Studyabroad.com, the College Board Scholarship Search, CareerOneStop, and the Student Guide, which is maintained by the US Department of Education.
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