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How to Pay for Your Study Abroad Trip

September 08, 2010
by CEA MOJO
Housing? Check. Tuition? Check. Travel? Yup.

Whew! The cost of study abroad adds up fast. No one can argue the return on your investment is enormous: an increased sense of independence and international experience that tomorrow's job market demands. The good news is there are resources available to help you pay for your study abroad program.

The Higher Education Act of 1965 was amended in 1992 enabling students to obtain financial aid for study abroad programs as long they are enrolled in a program that is approved by their home institution and they qualify for financial aid under federal guidelines. Federal law provides that financial aid can cover all reasonable costs of a study abroad program, including:

• round trip transportation
• tuition
• living costs
• passport and visa fees
• health insurance

So how exactly do you go about getting financial aid?

1. Contact your campus’s study abroad office to make sure your home university will certify financial aid funds for CEA. You also want to determine what type of financial aid your school is willing to accept. You do not want to work hard accumulating financial aid, only to find out at the last minute that your university does not accept it.

2. Fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). It is required in order to file for Federal and State assistance. Fill it out even if you do not think you are eligible for government funding. Some students are surprised by the amount of money they receive. Government aid can come in the form of grants or loans. Some of the options available are Safford Loans, Parent Loan (PLUS Loan), Perkins Loan, and the Pell Grant.

If you receive government aid, you must fill out a Financial Aid Disbursement Form, indicating the amount you are receiving, when the funds will be disbursed, and who the funds will be disbursed to. Once CEA receives this form from your school’s financial aid office, we will defer the final payment due date, for your financial aid funds, to the disbursement date that your school has provided.

3. If you need more funding or did not receive government assistance, there are still options available. CEA offers more than $25,000 in scholarships each year. We also have some great promotions throughout the year; so be on the lookout for those!

4. There also some great Web sites that have scholarships available for study abroad programs. Check out fastweb.com and nextstudent.com. There are plenty of Web sites out there; so, dedicate some time to researching them.

5. Check with your parent’s employer to see if they have programs that support education. Some offer scholarships, low interest rate loans through the credit union, and even fund matching programs. It's never too early to start researching financial aid options. Many scholarships and loan applications have early deadlines. If you are proactive and persistent, you will have no problem financing the study abroad program of your dreams! More information about financing your study abroad trip can be found at www.gowithcea.com/students/financing.html.

Interested in studying abroad in Shanghai, China, for Spring 2011. Learn more here
Read more about our CEA MOJO Bloggers & Photographers.
 
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