Lots of students think about studying abroad every year, but so many get deterred due to the price tag associated with a study abroad experience. Well, just like the rest of your college experience, paying for a study abroad experience is manageable with the right tools and information.
One thing students don’t always know is that most of the financial aid they already receive can be applied towards a study abroad program.
- Federal aid, like loans and the Pell Grant, can be used on direct credit and exchange programs.
- Florida Pre-Paid can be used to pay for tuition charges on direct credit and exchange programs.
- Bright Futures can be used on semester exchange programs and sometimes in the summer.
- If you already receive any scholarships from USF, most of those can be used towards your program, you just want to double check the terms of the scholarship with financial aid.
USF has so many different types of study abroad programs though, that it’s important to know what kind of program you are going on and what kind of credit you are getting so that Education Abroad and Financial Aid can assist you. As well, every student is going to have different circumstances and a different financial aid package, so just come in and ask us!
Another great benefit of studying abroad is that all of our direct credit and exchange programs are billed at the in-state tuition rate for all students. If you’re an out of state student or international, you definitely want to take that into account when comparing the cost of your study abroad program with a normal summer or semester here at USF.
There are also a couple other things you want to know about financial aid when it comes to paying for your program:
- Financial aid generally does not release disbursement amounts until summer is closing in. Even if you’ve received the same amount of financial aid every semester, things can change, and you may not know until it’s almost too late. Make sure you have a backup plan if you suddenly realize you won’t receive as much aid as you thought you would.
- We definitely encourage you to talk to Bull2Bull Financial Counseling or to come into our office so we can find some more options (remember: scholarships are never guaranteed either).
- Once summer award notifications have gone out, that’s a great time to go to financial aid to make sure everything with your account looks good. Every student has a different financial aid package, so we encourage you to talk with your financial aid advisor to make sure you know what is going to work best for you. If you’re doing an exchange program or transfer credit program, you may have to fill out some additional paperwork to receive your aid.
- If you are doing a summer program, your payments are due in April or May, but you might not get your financial aid until after those dates. Don’t worry– you may qualify for a deferment. Check out how to get one here
- When it comes to financial aid, the amount of money you will receive is generally going to depend on the number of credits you are registered in. Education Abroad is going to register you in your courses, but this may take a while depending on if we are still trying to fill the program or if other participants are still turning in necessary documents for us to be able to register everyone. We sometimes register each program all at once, so it’s important to get your Canvas pre-departure orientation done as soon as possible so as not to hold up this process. Late registration could affect your financial aid; if all of a sudden you don’t have awards displayed on your account due to registration issues, don’t freak out, but let us know asap (just email EARegistrar@usf.edu or come into MSC 3301).
Studying abroad is an investment, but that doesn’t mean it needs to break the bank either. When you see the total cost for your program, make sure to take a look at what is and what is not included. Then, do a quick comparison of how much you would be spending on some of the exact same things here in Tampa (tuition, rent, food, etc.). Finally, work backwards from your total program cost with the amount of financial aid you should be receiving. Add in what is not included in the program cost, such as your flight and passport and a little bit of spending money, and now you have a much more accurate picture of what your program cost is going to be in comparison to what you would already be paying for. This number is usually much more reasonable for students to work with, and may already be in reach!
For more information or if you have any other questions about financial aid or study abroad, let us know! Come in any time to our office in MSC 3301, email us at EducationAbroad@usf.edu, or call us at (813) 974-5474.