If you’re struggling to figure out how to fund your study abroad trip, don’t give up. Many students feel overwhelmed at first but quickly discover that there are way more options than they had imagined. Here are seven potential sources of financial aid to study abroad.
1. Study Abroad Scholarships
You’re probably already familiar with the idea of academic scholarships; it means that an institution wants to help you pay for part of your studies. Universities also get something out of the deal: greater recognition, gratitude from tomorrow’s industry leaders or access to professionals who inspire other students as well.
Where should you apply for scholarships first?
- Your current university: Pay a visit to the financial aid office at your university to ask about study abroad programs or additional funding for your trip. Aid counselors can explain your university scholarship financing options in depth. Getting funding for short-term study abroad seminars is much easier than a semester- or year-long courses in international schools.
- Your study abroad courses: Contact us directly to ask about current scholarship options. We’re interested in your progress, and we want to make sure as many students as possible find out about our reputation for excellence, so we’re more than happy to help you find great scholarship possibilities.
Academic requirements vary, but generally, organizations expect you to have excellent grades, good personal qualifications, and a specific degree or postgraduate course in mind.
2. International Foundation Scholarships
There are a huge amount of well-known and newly created scholarships just waiting to be applied for. Some look to increase the number of professionals in specific fields, and others are geared towards helping people of a certain ethnic group or with a disability to excel and inspire others. Business-sponsored scholarships mean companies want the first crack at talented managers and tech professionals that can drive international profits.
What can help you stand out?
- Show your talent and dedication in fields that are in demand.
- Write a passionate essay with inventive ideas.
- Highlight your present experience and future goals.
- Present specific examples and visual media.
3. Federal and State Grants and Loans
State and Federal governments also have a definite interest in propelling your international studies; after all, business professionals with big ideas and lucrative international contacts are very good for the U.S. economy. In other words, by studying abroad, you become an asset to your nation’s standing in the world.
The Federal Student Aid Office, or FSA, provides two types of financial help for students wanting to study abroad:
- Grants: This is basically free money, and often goes to students in high-demand fields.
- Loans: Federal student loans to study abroad offer very favorable interest rates and repayment terms.
If you haven’t done so already, fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to find out what aid you qualify for.
4. Private Loans
There are two main types of private loans:
- Bank loans
- Loans from family members or friends
Bank loans should rank lower than Federal assistance loans on your priority list, since they carry heavier interest rates and require prompt repayment; however, loans from a financial institution are still preferable to paying for trips with your credit card in most cases.
If your parents have the money to spare – and you have a reputation for being responsible – don’t be afraid to ask them for help financing your trip. Chances are that they will offer you a loan with great terms or even one that’s interest-free.
In today’s high-tech world, social networks can be a powerful tool for making your professional goals happen. If you have tons of followers on your blog, YouTube, Instagram or another social media site, consider providing the options for your subscribers to donate to your account via a payment app like PayPal.
FundMy Travel and GoFundMe are also options for supplementary income before and during your study abroad trip. They key is to successfully turn your university experience and upcoming study abroad seminar into an exciting campaign that gives your readers an inside look every step of the way.
6. IBS Payment Plans
While not exactly study abroad scholarships per se, our student-minded payment plans are designed to take a lot of the pressure off your shoulders. That way you pay for international seminars in smaller sums over time instead of one big payment. We accommodate both students and their parents, so make sure to contact us directly for more assistance.
7. Donations From Local Organizations
Don’t underestimate the power of kindness. Local religious groups, charities and governmental organizations all feel a sense of pride when you represent them and triumph. Donations might not cover the entire cost of your travel, but every little bit helps you cut down on loans.
Tips for Applying for Financial Aid
By planning well ahead of time, it’s not difficult to find one or more avenues of financial aid to study abroad. When you apply, follow these tips:
- Decide where you want to study.
- Research grants tied to your major.
- Prepare an honest and energetic essay.
- Apply for as many aid programs as possible.
- Don’t give up!