Financial Aid Opportunities
Before you become overly worried about the cost of studying abroad, you need to have all the information available to you. Put numbers, thoughts, and figures down on paper so you can refer to them later or compare them with other options. Some preliminary questions:
What is included?
Often, a simple breakdown of the costs of a program will help clarify the financial commitment. Key items to look for are; number of credits (and who is granting them), whether or not room and board is included (and what is promised), if airfare is included, how much travel the program has (and what is included during trips), and other “little” things that can add a lot to the final price like books, internet service, taxis to and from school, etc.
With a cost breakdown like this, students often find that inexpensive programs turn out not to be such a great deal, and programs that seem expensive can actually end up costing less than the same number of credits on campus. One final thing to consider in the cost breakdown is program location, you are likely to spend quite a bit more on everyday personal spending in a developed country like France compared to somewhere like Vietnam, for example
Can I use my federal financial aid to pay for this trip?
Yes, provided that you will be receiving credits accepted by your home university. Here it is important to know who is granting the credit for your program, and if your school will accept that credit. Normally there is no problem with credit transfers between 4-year colleges and universities in the US. However, some programs offer credit granted through partner institutions overseas. While these are normally accepted, one of the first things you want to do if you find a program of this type is confirm with your registrar that any credits earned will be accepted at your university. This should clear up the financial aid question and save you some headaches down the road.
Can I use my school’s financial aid to pay for this trip?
This is little bit more tricky than the last question, but the same rule generally applies. The first thing to do is get all the information you can together about the school who will grant the credit, then talk directly to your financial aid office.
What about outside sources of funding?
There many different options for finding funding, and the best place to look is the internet, followed by your financial aid and study abroad offices. A good place to start would be this page http://www.studyabroad.com/forum/financial_aid.html from StudyAbroad.com. This page will in turn link you to a mired of sites where you can find funding.
First Generation Student Scholarship
El Centro de Estudios Interamericanos – CEDEI is pleased to offer financial support (up to $1000) for First Generation Students looking to study abroad in Cuenca, Ecuador at CEDEI. In order to be eligible for this scholarship, students must submit their resume as well as a 400-word essay answering the following question: “How will my study abroad experience support my academic, personal, and professional goals?” Interested candidates should submit their essay and their resume to Director of International Programs, Diana Rosales at email@example.com
Student Blogger Scholarship
El Centro de Estudios Interamericanos – CEDEI is pleased to offer a $500 scholarship for students who are willing to blog about their experiences throughout the semester. Students should plan on writing at least one blog entry per week, between 300-500 words, discussing different aspects of their experiences while studying in Cuenca. Topics of interest are up to the student, and should show the range of their experiences while they are in Cuenca. To apply for this scholarship, students should submit a writing sample, between 300-500 words, discussing what they hope to accomplish during their experience in Cuenca. Interested candidates should submit their essay to Director of International Programs, Diana Rosales
Final Note on Financial Aid
Sometimes no matter how hard you try, things just don’t go the way you want. If you find that the program you had your heart set on is just too far beyond your reach, don’t despair or give up, but keep looking. There might be a shorter program in the city you want, or one with less travel. Remember that while long, exotic travel portions make programs very enticing, they also raise the cost significantly. Finally, if you are on the fence and can’t decide whether to spend the money or not, remember that many students name their study abroad program as the most meaningful event in their college career. The desire to travel may never pass, but reality unfortunately has a way of making opportunities disappear faster than we might like. If you do decide to spend the money on a program, don’t doubt and don’t look back. We always tell our students during the first week that you get out what you put in and if you go abroad with an open heart and mind, chances are it will be money well spent.
For more information about funding one of CEDEI’s programs, please contact us.