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Financing Your Study Abroad

As a nonprofit group of U.S. universities, USAC strives to provide you with the most affordable, quality programs possible. If you do need assistance with obtaining scholarships and financial aid, USAC will work with your home university’s study abroad, international programs, and financial aid offices. USAC offers many scholarships and in some cases, we may set up a payment plan for you. We are dedicated to helping you study abroad and will work with you as much as possible to make your study abroad a reality.

Funding Your Study Abroad

If you’re dreaming about studying abroad, but don’t know if you can afford it, we’re here to help. In our pathway to funding your study abroad below, you will find tips and information to get you started.

Contact us at scholarships@usac.edu with questions or to get in touch with a program advisor.

So, where to begin?

  • Choose an Affordable Program
  • Review Your Cost of Attendance
    • Although USAC offers many affordable programs, we understand that every student’s budget looks different. In order to find a program that is within your budget, we recommend you start by reviewing your cost of attendance at your home university.
    • Cost of attendance is the total cost you pay to attend your home university and includes tuition, fees, room and board (on campus) or rent and meals (off campus), textbooks, supplies, transportation, and personal costs. Your total cost of attendance can often be found on your university website.
    • Compare Your Cost of Attendance to the Cost of USAC Programs.
    • When preparing financially to study abroad, you’ll notice that many of the expenses you have at home will be like those you will have abroad.

  • One way to see the total cost of your program is to use our Interactive Budget Sheets. Under each Program, you will find a section titled ‘Fees and Deadlines’ that will give you access to the Interactive Budget Sheet for that specific program. On those sheets, you’ll be able to see the cost of the Program Fees, Housing Options, Meal Costs, Course Fees, Optional Tours, Flight Costs, Personal Expenses, Textbooks, transportation fees, and other expenses specific to that Program.
  • Talk to Your Financial Aid Office
  • Many students are surprised to learn that often the financial aid they receive at their home university can be used towards the costs of their study abroad program. USAC accepts and can postpone payment for any confirmed financial aid and scholarships you receive at your home university. Talk to your financial aid office to find out if you can use your financial aid and what the process is to have the funding approved.
  • Once you have access to your USAC Gateway account, make sure to submit the USAC Financial Aid Deferment Form to your Financial Aid Office to complete the approval process. Once your Financial Aid Office submits the form to us, you will receive updated information on your balance and payment schedule.
  • Saving and Budgeting
  • Once you know the cost of your program and how much financial aid will cover, it’s time to start thinking about how you will fund the rest of your costs.
    • Consider whether you will need to get a job in order to save towards your program or if you already work, whether you can take on more hours.
    • Create and review your budget to see how much you can realistically save towards your program. Track your spending to see if there are any expenses you can cut to increase how much you’re saving.
  • Fundraising
  • Fundraising can be a great way to get your community involved and excited for your upcoming program. It’s also an opportunity to put your talents, skills, and hobbies to work.
    • Think of ways you can use your hobbies to encourage people to donate and to thank them for their donation. Can you take amazing photographs? Make the best chocolate chip cookies? Know how to make your own jewelry? Whatever your skills might be, there are members of your community who can’t wait to help you out.
  • Scholarships
  • Beyond the financial aid you already receive from your home university there are also plenty of other scholarships you can apply for as well.
    • General National and Local Scholarships
      • These are scholarships available to any student that meets the eligibility requirements and can be applied towards their academic costs. Many times, these scholarship providers will allow students to use these funds towards their study abroad costs if the courses count towards their degree plan. You can learn more about these scholarships by talking to your financial aid office.
    • National Study Abroad Scholarships
      • These are scholarships specifically for any student that meets the requirements and is interested in studying abroad. Many are specific to certain locations but there are also some for any location.
        • Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship – gilmanscholarship.org
          • Scholarship designed to support underrepresented high financial need students
        • Fund for Education Abroad Scholarship – fundforeducationabroad.org
          • Scholarship designed to support underrepresented students with a focus on first generation students, students of color, and community college current or transfer students
        • Boren Awards – borenawards.org
          • Scholarship designed to support students interested in developing their language skills in a Critical Need Language
    • You can learn more about these scholarships and others by talking to your study abroad office or check out usac.edu/scholarships to learn more about eligibility requirements and how to submit a strong application.
  • USAC Scholarships
    • As a USAC student, you also can apply for our scholarships! We offer a range of scholarships and if your meet the GPA requirements, you will be eligible to apply for at least one.
    • You can learn more about the different scholarships we offer at usac.edu/scholarships
  • USAC Payment Plan
  • For students who need a little more time to make their Program Fee we offer a convenient payment plan. There is a $50.00 set-up fee, and afterwards you’ll work with a USAC Accounting Specialist to set-up your payment dates.

Financial Aid and Resources

You must apply for financial aid to receive it, and the process is usually time-sensitive. It is your responsibility to follow all instructions from your financial aid advisor and complete all paperwork well before your departure. It is important that during this process you take the initiative to communicate with both your university’s study abroad/international programs and financial aid offices, especially to determine whether your financial aid will need to be processed through an alternate university.

Aid is available to you in many forms: your preexisting financial aid (federal, state [some state aid cannot be used for study abroad], and/or institutional), aid specific for study abroad, scholarships, private student loans, personal savings, and parental support. Regardless of what kind or level of aid you use during a normal term on your home university campus, you should (re)consider using any and all of these resources to finance your study abroad.

Federal law allows you to receive financial aid from your home university while attending study abroad programs sponsored by your home university or other institutions. Studying abroad may have a different fee structure from that of your home university, so you should provide a copy of a USAC budget sheet to your Financial Aid office for any budget increases. A USAC budget sheet is available on your USAC Student Gateway account. Federal law also states that financial aid can cover all “reasonable” costs for a study abroad program, including:

  • Transportation to/from the program site
  • Tuition and fees for the program
  • Housing and meals
  • Other living costs
  • Textbooks
  • Health insurance
  • Passport and visa fees
  • Optional field study/tours

If you are receiving financial aid/scholarships and at any point cancel or withdraw from your program, you may be required to repay any funds that have been awarded/distributed. You are also still responsible for any outstanding balance you many have.