Financing Study Abroad the Smart Way

Financing Study Abroad the Smart Way”

by Julia Dunn via “ULoop”

Do you flip for France? Are you sold on the idea of an Australian outback adventure? Want to float down the Italian canals reading ancient literature, but have no clue how you’ll afford it?

If you’re a wanderlust soul with a wallet restriction who’s interested in earning university credits while experiencing a foreign country, don’t push a study abroad opportunity out of your prospects because you think you won’t be able to swing it financially. There are resources and tricks available to you as a college student that you may not even know about, many of which will guide you through financing study abroad!

Universities know that college students can’t afford to pay for an entire study abroad trip on their own, on top of tuition and the student fees they pay just to attend college; thus, they offer certain types of financial aid to students looking to travel in their undergraduate careers. Beyond that, the elements of a study abroad trip can be modified in a cost-efficient way to suit your budget if financial aid alone doesn’t cover all of what you need money-wise.

According to a survey conducted by Knox College Associate Professor of Modern Languages Robin Ragan, cost is the number one reason students hesitate to pursue a trip abroad.

Robin concluded that “A lot of times [not being able to afford it] is an assumption that students make up front, but they don’t really have numbers at their side to prove they can’t afford it … Our challenge is getting to students who assume they can’t study abroad because of the cost before they even attend the info sessions.”

It doesn’t hurt to gather some information and learn about what’s out there; if you don’t, you could be missing out on an insanely awesome trip. Here’s how to make study abroad fit in your wallet.

1. Contact your university’s study abroad program for details on financial aid packages and how to apply for them.

The best way to obtain accurate information about study abroad and financial aid at your school is to directly contact the department, either through phone, email, or literally walking through their door to pick up a study abroad financing pamphlet. The staff at your university’s study abroad department has worked with tons of students to create an affordable study abroad plan that works for them—they want to help you go abroad just as badly as you want to go yourself!

See if your school offers study-abroad information sessions or events that you can attend for more information on financial aid loans and other “free money” opportunities. These may be useful to you when designing a financial plan-of-attack.

2. Be strategic when choosing a study abroad location.

The cost of living is different country to country. It’s going to wind up being more expensive to study abroad in Spain than it would be in Senegal, and study abroad financial advisers can help you compare the cost of living in certain countries with others. Investigate various housing options and their costs, along with that of transportation and other logistical elements that can add unexpected costs to your travel bill if you don’t address them before you leave for your trip.

Make sure you have lodging, food, and a means of getting around town factored into your budget, and put in the effort to research cost-efficient options for these matters.

Don’t know where to go? Click here to explore possible study abroad programs and locations organized in Uloop’s Study Abroad search.

3. Shorten your trip to 2-4 weeks.

When college students envision a study abroad trip, most think of spending months and months on end (even an entire semester or quarter) traversing hidden cities of Peru or exploring the Great Barrier Reef for an entire season. If money is an issue for you,consider only going abroad for a couple of weeks.

You’ll receive virtually the same immersive experience as someone going abroad for a longer time period, but you won’t have to pay for all that extra time. Plan out what you’ll do each day to maximize your time abroad, and you’ll be able to do most everything you want to do in just a few weeks! . . . .

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“No Excuses! 9 Ways to Help Pay For Your Study Abroad”

“No Excuses! 9 Ways to Help Pay For Your Study Abroad”

by Jordi Lippe via “Yahoo Travel”

No Excuses! 9 Ways to Help Pay For Your Study Abroad

Exposure to international destinations can have a profound effect on people’s perspectives, but the cost can be prohibitive. (Thinkstock)

We love study-abroad programs here at Yahoo Travel. Most people who have studied abroad say it was one of the best things they’ve ever done. The White House has even determined that study-abroad programs are a critical component to improving international relations. Back in December, the Obama administration gathered more than 100 of the country’s most prominent travel bloggers and digital journalists in Washington D.C. as part of a push to find new ways to encourage more Americans to study abroad.

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Study abroad is often considered a pivotal event in a young person’s life. (Thinkstock)

Fewer than 10 percent percent of students currently take part in study-abroad programs. One of those reasons is the high cost. The average semester away can cost over $17,000 (according to figures from the Institute of International Education), making the prospect of study abroad daunting for most students. But by knowing your resources and getting a bit creative you can be well on your way to financing a once-in-a-lifetime journey.

Here are nine ways to help pay for study abroad:

1. Council on International Educational Exchange Scholarship
Some universities offer their own scholarship programs, but there are numerous outside options dedicated to helping those who want to study abroad. In fact, the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) is giving out around $20 million in scholarships. That could add up to 1,000 more students attending a semester program on full scholarship or 5,000 more students attending a summer or short-term program. CIEE will also sponsor passports for 10,000 students to enable participation. “Studying abroad must be viewed as an essential component of a college degree and critical to preparing future leaders,” said Institute of International Education president and chief executive officer Allan E. Goodman. “CIEE’s greatly expanded outreach and scholarship offerings will make a significant contribution to expanding and diversifying the population of students who have the opportunity to study abroad.”

Related: I Met My Fiance on Study Abroad in Spain

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The cost of study abroad shouldn’t stop you from doing it. (Thinkstock)

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Study Abroad: Budget For Italy

“Study Abroad: Budget For Italy”

by Majorie Cohen via “Investipedia”

Study abroad in Italy is a popular choice for U.S. students, and it doesn't have to break the bank. Plus, the career payoffs for study abroad can be huge.

When it comes to the popularity of study-abroad destinations for U.S. students, Italy takes second place only to the U.K. – 10% of those who study abroad go to Italy. Why is it so popular? Just take a look at the photos on the tongue-in-cheek Buzzfeed post:  “39 Reasons Studying Abroad In Italy Ruins You For Life.”

Seriously, though, study abroad can be a great career booster, according to research by the Institute of International Education (IIE), a leader in the field of worldwide study. Two hundred senior-level U.S. and international business executives who responded to an IIE survey reported that most of their HR departments took into consideration their recruits’ international experience when hiring, promoting and determining a new assignment. Thirty percent did so even when deciding on a starting salary. “Students who study abroad understand how to communicate across cultures, work on multinational teams and think in a global context,” according to IIE deputy vice president Daniel Obst.

And in an era of rising higher-education costs, here’s a nice surprise: “Study abroad can cost less than a student’s home university, depending on where they choose to go and what type of program they select,” Obst points out.

What’s the Best Program for You?

IIEPassport lists more than 800 study programs in Italy. Abroad101 ranks its 547 listings, from no stars to five stars, based on student evaluations. Three of its 2103 “Top 10 Study Abroad Programs” list are in Italy.

The critical question to ask is: “Which program will best serve my personal and career goals?” Will it be one sponsored by a university or consortium of academic institutions, or by a stand-alone study-abroad organization? Or should you opt to study independently or be an exchange student? For help finding the answer, consult the study abroad counselor at your school, students on your campus who have just returned from studying abroad and the bible of the field,“A Student Guide to Study Abroad,” published by IIE and the American Institute for Foreign Study (AIFS).

For students who want to pursue a do-it-yourself study plan in Italy, the Italian Ministry of Education, Universities and Research website has a search engine of programs organized by area of study and choice of city.

Whichever program you choose, make sure your U.S. college or university will give you academic credit for your work; your school may not accept every option that’s available to you.

How Much Will Study in Italy Cost?

Sponsored programs have wide-ranging price tags; independent study may be cheaper than joining a program but takes lots of fancy footwork and a great deal of time – balancing academic calendars, sorting out credit systems and arranging courses. According to StudyCostCompare, the annual cost of studying for a bachelor’s degree in Italy is about $12,500 including tuition, rent, food, books and so on.

As an example of a sponsored program in Italy, let’s take a look at AIFS’s program in Rome, a popular destination for foreign students in Italy. For 2015–2016, each semester costs $14,695, or $15,995 with a meal allowance. This includes tuition for courses taught in English and Italian at the Richmond Study Center in Rome, housing, local excursions and trips to Venice, Naples and Pompeii, a two-week language prep and cultural orientation in Florence, and the 24/7 services of a resident director.

Can You Get Financial Aid?

U.S. universities and colleges are required by federal law to continue dispensing federal funds to students enrolled in approved study abroad programs. Your financial aid officer is the best person to answer your questions about carrying over a scholarship or other financial aid. For information on scholarships and grants specifically for study abroad, consult IIEPassport Study Abroad Funding.

The program you choose may have its own source of scholarships, and more and more aid is being directed to students who have been traditionally underrepresented in education abroad. A leading example of this is theBenjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship sponsored by the U.S. Department of State.

Is Italy an Expensive Place to Live?

Don’t be frightened off by stories of travelers reporting that they had to pay more than $7 for a cup of coffee in Italy. Prices in tourist hot spots are always higher than in neighborhood spots; live like an Italian and take your cues from local students when you decide where to live, shop and travel.

According to the Big Mac Index, a lighthearted comparison of purchasing power around the world created by The Economist magazine, a Big Mac hamburger in Italy costs $5.18, compared to $4.80 in the United States. Broader cost-of-living comparisons can be found on sites like Numbeo and Expatistan. Numbeo reports that consumer prices, including rent, in Rome are about at par with Chicago – and 10% higher than in Florence and 2.4% higher than in Perugia.

Students in Italy are entitled to more discounts than you may be used to in the United States. Showing an ID from your study abroad site should get you discounts at museums, gyms, bookstores and more. Consider, also, an International Student Identity Card (ISIC) that includes travel and medical insurance as well as access to discounts throughout the world.

Another savings tip: Find a good travel credit card – one that offer generous travel points and/or no foreign transaction fees – with the help of a site like NerdWallet. (Also, see 4 Tips For Using Credit Cards Overseas.)

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Study Abroad: Budget For Spain

“Study Abroad: Budget For Spain”

by Majorie Cohen via “Investopedia

Study abroad can have big career payoffs. Here's what to expect to pay for that investment – from tuition and travel, to housing, meals and, yes, some fun.

One of the best investments you can make in your education is studying abroad. “Globalization has changed the way the world works, and study abroad is crucial for preparing students to enter the 21st century workforce,” according to Daniel Obst, deputy vice president of the Institute of International Education (IIE), which focuses on advancing international education and access to education worldwide.

Data collected for an IIE briefing paper backs up Obst’s point. Two hundred senior-level U.S. and international business leaders reported that most of their HR departments took into consideration their recruits’ international experience when hiring, promoting and determining a new assignment. Thirty percent even did so when deciding on a starting salary.

Spain is one of the most popular study abroad destinations for U.S. students. According to IIE’s data, 9% of all U.S. students abroad are studying in Spain. Because of its enormous popularity, Spain offers an impressive number of choices for where, when and what to study. IIEPassport lists more than 900 choices: programs sponsored by universities, consortiums of academic institutions and study abroad organizations, plus direct enrollment and student exchange possibilities. For help in making an informed decision about what experience is best for you, check out the field’s bible, “A Student Guide to Study Abroad,” published by IIE and the American Institute for Foreign Study (AIFS).

How much will study in Spain cost?

Sponsored programs have varying price tags. We’ve chosen, as a representative example, AIFS’s study program in Barcelona at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, which is offered both for fall and spring semesters and for a full academic year. The cost for one semester in 2015–2016 is $11,795. Cost includes tuition, housing, some meals (if a homestay housing option is chosen), excursions and cultural activities, day trips and the on-site services of a resident director. Optional airfare packages are available. Independent study may cost less than a sponsored program but will involve much, much more footwork.

Can I get financial aid?

U.S. universities and colleges are required by federal law to continue giving federal funds to students who participate in approved study abroad programs. Discuss with your own financial aid office whether the specific aid you are receiving from your school will be transferable. Pay careful attention to deadlines. For more on financing your study abroad, read How to Finance Your Studies Abroad.  And IIEPassport’s Study Abroad Funding has information on scholarships and grants.

Of special interest is the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, which gives priority to students who have been traditionally underrepresented in education abroad. Check also with the study abroad program you choose; it most likely has its own financial aid arrangements.

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Sarah Edgar Earns one of 65 Scholarships to Study Abroad

“Sarah Edgar Earns one of 65 Scholarships to Study Abroad”

by News Democrat Leader

“The U.S. Department of State has awarded Sarah Edgar, a high school student at Logan County High School one of 65 scholarships to study abroad on the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Abroad Program. The competitive, merit-based award covers the full cost of an academic year abroad, providing Sarah a full immersion experience through living with a host family in Bosnia and Herzegovina, attending a Bosnian high school, and helping her develop the skills necessary to be a leader in the global community. The YES abroad program is funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

 

Through Sarah’s participation in the YES Abroad program, she will be at the forefront of citizen diplomacy, serving as a “youth ambassador” in her host country, promoting . . . . “

 

Study Abroad is Within Reach for Most Students

Study Abroad is Within Reach for Most Students

by Jasmine Johnson via “The Daily Texan”

“To study in another country while being fully immersed in a foreign culture has to be the highlight of any college student’s young life. So why don’t more students study abroad? Mainly because they don’t have the money. Or at least that’s what students think.

The British Council, Britain’s educational and cultural relations agency, conducted a study of perceived barriers to studying abroad and found that more than half of British students and nearly three-quarters of Americans said the expense was . . .”

This is actually true for many countries; and in fact if you go to a college abroad with lower tuition/summer programs with lower tuition, sometimes it’s actually cheaper. Worth looking into at least!

An Issue of Money for Fin Aid Student Travelers

Check out our Airlines and Hotel Arrangements pages on the Website!!

One of the first things you will need to look into is arranging for your airline and accommodation reservations.  However, don’t get too excited and run right out there to grab the first plane ticket you find–these things take a little forethought first. The first thing you need to remember is that you are paying for the plane tickets (and maybe housing) out of pocket, at least to begin with. You’re probably paying for this little excursion with financial aid money, but think back to all those other semesters. When do you get the money?-after classes have started. The government doesn’t like to hand out money until they know you are attending class.  The problem here is that your student abroad financial aid is run the same way–you aren’t going to see a penny until after the classes have begun. See where this is going? 

You will definitely be paying for airline tickets with your own money–pretty much no school covers that cost for you.  If you’re lucky, the school will arrange for housing for you. If they have a large group, sometimes hotels offer group rates to universities. Since that has to be paid in advance, the school will pay for it and you will just be charged a “housing fee” in tuition, which can be paid after you get fin aid, like any normal semester.  If they don’t arrange housing though, you’re going to probably have to at least pay the deposit on the hotel room, which may be a few hundred bucks

 
The second thing you need to remember is that financial aid always underestimates.You will get a “refund” for the money spent on housing and travel–just like the living expenses in a normal semester. But remember how that book allowance was never nearly enough for your school books?  Well, you may only get a “flight allowance” for $1000, when your plane tickets alone may be as high as $3000 by the time you cover both ways. And housing allowances are often too short as well.  So don’t count on the whole amount being refunded to you–some of this money you’ve got to come up with on your own.
 
Now this may not mean much to some, but to those who need to pinch pennies–this is a HUGE fee.  So shop around a little, check out what’s available and see what options fit your needs.