Okay, I’ve got your attention. Let’s talk nickels and dimes. You and/or your student want to study abroad. Bravo! Wunderbar! Bueno! We at CEA applaud the wanderlust that entices you to enter the world’s classroom.
At first blush, the price tag for your study abroad experience may seem like a lot. Remember – this is an extension of your college study abroad experience and can be planned for in much the same way. Many of the financial opportunities that exist for college students today also apply to earning credits in another country. So don’t overlook the chance to expand your global competence until you’ve examined these avenues of financial help.
First and foremost, CEA’s financial advisor, Kelly Walker, tells us there’s been a change to the U.S. PELL Grant distribution system. College students who qualified for the 2009-2010 academic year for financial assistance in the form of a PELL Grant, and who sign up for full-time student status during the summer term (12 credits) might qualify for another grant disbursement equal to the fall and spring semesters (check with your school’s financial aid office for details).
For example: If you qualified for $1,500 for Fall 2009 and another $1,500 for Spring 2010, and you sign up to take 12 credits for Summer 2010, then you may qualify to take another $1,500 disbursement to pay for that summer semester - including a variety of destinations, such as our Multi-Destination Programs in France, Italy and Spain!
The same is true for any Fall 2010 offerings that earn full-time credit status. Students qualifying for federal financial aid may also qualify to use their Stafford loans to pay for their study abroad program – again, so long as you take enough credits to satisfy the full-time student requirement.
If you or your student did not qualify for a U.S. Pell Grant this year, here are some other opportunities to consider:
1. First, go immediately to your college/university’s financial aid office. There you can determine if you are eligible for one of the federal loan programs: the student Stafford Loan and the Parent (PLUS) Loan.
2. Talk to your own bank about what personal loan products they have available. The banks that are lending right now are doing so through colleges and universities. So, again, start with your educational institute first.
3. Look at an employer-sponsored study abroad scholarship. Depending on where Mom and Dad work, their dependent children may qualify for a company scholarship program. Inquire with your company’s HR department to find out.
4. Examine what other scholarships are out there for study abroad using these search tools: fastweb and NextStudent.
5. Finally, don’t rule out talking to family members. A little birthday spending money here and there, a check instead of another $50 iTunes download card – it all adds up and it’s for your future. Let your loved ones know how they can give you a gift that will last a lifetime.
Download our Financing Study Abroad Brochure for more useful information on paying for your study abroad experience. Or check out our Financing Study Abroad page.
Read more about our CEA MOJO Bloggers & Photographers.