Study Abroad with Financial Aid
Financial aid may seem like a complicated process, but don’t let that scare you away. The key is to get an early start so that all of your forms are completed before you leave the country. First, meet with your study abroad advisor, Janet Camp. She can help you get an idea of how students pay for different programs. Then, go ahead and schedule a meeting at EOU’s financial aid office. The financial aid counselors can discuss what options are right for you personally.
Chances are if you’re already using federal or university financial aid, those same funds can be put towards your semester abroad. This includes Pell grants, SEOG grants, Stafford loans, Perkins loans, PLUS loans, some merit scholarships and private funding.
There is, of course, always fine print when it comes to finance. For instance, state aid can only be applied to a state sponsored program. So if you are attending on state aid, you can put that aid towards a state sponsored program, but not necessarily towards a program sponsored by an out-of-state university. The program in which you choose to participate must also fulfill a requirement of your major. Speak with your study abroad advisor, Janet Camp and EOU’s financial aid office to make sure you don’t miss any catches like this.
On the other hand, if you’re an out of state student without state aid, you might end up paying less by going abroad. How is it possible? Students do not pay tuition the semester they are abroad, they pay a fee for the program itself. This means that if the program (and destination) you select is cheaper than your out-of-state tuition, you might be catching a break!
If you like your finances exactly the way they are, you can also look into an exchange program. An exchange program is something that is set up between two universities in different countries so that students can swap places for a term or a year. You would go to school in Italy, for instance, and an Italian student would attend your school. Your tuition would remain the same – only the cost of living would change. Not all universities offer exchange programs, and opportunities can be limited, so this would be a good thing to ask your study abroad advisor, Janet Camp about.
The bottom line
Regardless of what aid you have or how you plan to finance your experience, there are many ways you can save on study abroad. You can get an ISIC (International Student ID Card) to get discounts on travel and attractions. If your Visa allows it, you can find a part-time job abroad to earn extra money, plus this can be a great way to make friends with locals. You can look for a program that includes housing in the cost or you can look for cheaper housing on your own that isn’t associated with the program. And if you’re still concerned about money, you can look into the exchange rate of different countries and choose a destination where the U.S. dollar will work in your favor.
There really is no better time to go abroad than as a student. After all, there are few times in life when you can get someone to help finance your travels! And if you would be putting the money towards tuition at home anyway, why not have a little more fun with it?
Adapted from an article by Rachel Kroot, published 12/06/2011 on studyabroad.com