Financial Aid for Study Abroad


The following is general information regarding financial aid for study abroad.  The Office of Intercultural Learning will discuss your specific financial aid picture with you during your advising session/s with the office.  Additionally, the Office of Intercultural Learning highly recommends you speak with a member of the university’s Financial Aid Office so that you are clear on how your financial aid package can be used to fund your study abroad experience.


Does financial aid apply to study abroad?

Yes, but it applies differently to different programs. There are essentially two financial aid categories for the purposes of study abroad:
a. If you participate in the SU London Program, the SU Washington, D.C. Program, the Irish American Scholars Program, or the International Student Exchange Program (ISEP), you will be able to use all of your financial aid award excluding work study or other aid that requires physical presence at SU.  For these programs, you pay the cost of SU’s tuition, room, and board directly to Southwestern.  You retain virtually all of the aid you normally receive from SU, the federal government, outside scholarships, and state agencies.  Tuition exchange agreements still apply if you participate on one of these programs.
b. If you participate on any other study abroad program through an approved provider, you pay the cost of that program directly to the program provider.  You do not pay anything to Southwestern during the semester/year/summer that you are abroad.  In this situation, you ARE NOT eligible to receive SU merit or
need-based aid.  However, you ARE eligible to receive federal aid, such as the Stafford Loan or the Pell Grant.  Most outside scholarships will also apply.  It is important to remember that many approved provider programs cost about the same or less than tuition, room, and board at Southwestern.  Thus, depending on your financial aid situation, it may not necessarily be more expensive for you to participate on an approved provider program.  Additionally, several scholarship opportunities are available to students studying on approved provider programs.

How much does it really cost to study abroad?

That question is answered with “that depends.”  Approved provider study abroad programs range from about $15,000 to $20,000 or more.  Living expenses vary dramatically depending on the area of the world in which you will be studying.  Air travel to your host country will also vary given that some destinations always carry a higher airline ticket price.  In short, you’ll need to start narrowing down costs as you begin to decide on program
type and the area of the world in which you want to study.  Remember that if you participate in an approved
provider program, you pay no fees to Southwestern for that semester/year/summer.  Thus, many approved provider study abroad programs will actually cost the same or less than tuition, room, and board on campus at SU.

Is financial aid available for summer programs?

If you qualify for federal need-based financial aid, you may be able to utilize that same financial aid source to fund a summer study abroad program.  The Lokey Scholarship is also available to supplement your financial aid package as well.  In order for any aid to cover your summer program abroad, you’ll need to file a short summer financial aid application with the Office of Financial Aid.