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Studying Abroad and Student Loans

Studying abroad provides immense opportunities for learning and lifestyle experiences. A resume that reflects international travel might improve a student’s marketability with companies that offer global employment assignments. However, before accepting a full-time job or establishing a home with a massive number of recurring bills, a student could choose to finance certain educational courses with a variety of student loans from the federal government.

Students who maximize the chance to study abroad may enjoy many academic opportunities and lifestyle rewards. Many students are attracted to the benefits of studying abroad. Students may seek alternative learning opportunities for the travel and cultural experiences, to earn academic credit, and for the chance to form new relationships.

Traveling to study in places such as Australia, China, or Paris could be extremely gratifying for a student who gets the chance to complete a semester at a highly desirable location. Residing in different cultures will further inform students about a variety of lifestyles and customary practices that are prevalent in other countries.

Study abroad student loans

Costs to Study Abroad

The costs to participate in study abroad programs may be a lot more expensive than a student estimates. Studying abroad usually costs more than twice as much as a semester at a US-based college. However, students who are interested in studying abroad are encouraged to explore a wide range of student loan programs. Many organizations provide grants and scholarships for students who meet certain requirements for international learning experiences.

Early Due Diligence

Skyrocketing college costs may weaken a student’s pursuit toward more costly learning options. Instead of forgoing the experience, it’s reasonable to get an early start on the student loan process for studying abroad. Before certain annual funding sources are depleted, an adequate review of various programs could uncover the financing for studying abroad.

Quite often, an early start is the key to receiving enough money for studying abroad. Students are urged to begin exploring a variety of financial aid options at least 12 months ahead of the desired semester start date for study abroad programs.

An early start is necessary to gain consideration for programs with limited funding opportunities. Additionally, early preparation could help a student avoid missing certain filing deadlines for student loan programs that are geared toward international learning.

The timeline for certain programs may be subject to specific deadlines at an international school as well as at a student’s American college. Starting early could enable a student to prepare for the requirements that are needed at both institutions. Additionally, a well-prepared student will have the chance to create and complete a checklist of any necessary items.

Frequently Asked Questions

Many students have similar inquiries about the opportunities to study abroad. Knowing that other students have had concerns as well could minimize the reluctance to look for helpful answers. Here are some FAQs that college students have about studying abroad:

Can the money from student loans for an American institution be used toward studying abroad?

In many cases, a student can use proceeds from financial aid they receive for a domestic school to study abroad. However, the international college must be recognized by the US Department of Education as an accredited institution for higher learning.

Will financial aid counselors at American colleges have a sufficient amount of answers about programs to study abroad?

Due to certain changes and the innovations in study abroad opportunities, many financial aid counselors are largely unaware of the specific details at various international schools. However, a financial aid counselor at an American college is a valuable resource. They can ensure that the maximum amount of money a student qualifies for will get allocated for a semester of studying abroad. 

Will financial aid revert back to the government while studying abroad?

After a financial aid package is approved, a college is required to disburse the funds on behalf of eligible students. Certain proceeds might be available for use toward studying abroad. After the completion of a study abroad program, an eligible student should be able to resume their studies and receipt of financial aid. For the greatest level of clarity, a student should consult with an academic adviser and a financial aid counselor.

Is there a lot of paperwork required to get student loans to study abroad?

A student will receive additional applications and documents to complete for overseas learning opportunities. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is a great starting point for students who are seeking funding assistance. Timely submitted documents that are thoroughly completed could avoid delays in the approval of a student’s financial aid package. Financial aid counselors may be contacted about the required documents that a student will need to obtain funding for studying abroad.

Preparing to Study Abroad

Students who plan to study abroad are encouraged to research a variety of items that may impact their travel and living arrangements. For instance, a student should inquire about obtaining a valid passport, registering with the local police, and establishing emergency contacts and medical insurance coverage for international care.  

What Does Federal Student Aid Cover?

Students may use money that is received from financial aid toward their tuition, housing, meals, books, learning materials, and other educational expenses.

Items that Federal Student Aid Does Not Cover

Distance learning and online options are not allowed for students who are enrolled in a program for studying abroad. To remain eligible for Federal Student Aid, a student must participate in classroom or campus-based instructional methods.

Federal grants are not applicable for international colleges and universities.

Federal Student Loans

Several federal loan programs that a student might be familiar with may also be used for studying abroad. A need for financial assistance must be validated to qualify for federal student loans. Students may apply for direct subsidized loans, direct unsubsidized loans, and direct plus loans.

Private Student Loans

While many lending resources are available for higher educational expenses, students should comparison-shop for the most favorable lending terms. Speaking with a financial aid counselor is highly recommended. Getting information about lending sources that offer attractive interest rates and flexible student loan repayment terms may be extremely valuable.

Studying abroad could provide a memorable academic experience that motivates a student to strive for excellence. Beyond the standard educational requirements at most American colleges, a student who decides to spend a semester abroad might have an opportunity to study in an environment that is rich in historical and cultural points of interests. With an early start, students may discover a wealth of financial aid resources that may be used to fund the cost of housing and academic credit at a popular destination for tourists. Additional information about programs for studying abroad and financial aid may be discussed with counselors at an American college.

Recommended books from about Studying Abroad and Student Loans

Prepare for Departure: A Guide to Making the Most of Your Study Abroad Experience

A Student Guide to Study Abroad

Study Abroad 101

About the Author

Christopher Manns

I was born in the UK, grew up in Canada and have lived in the USA since the 90s. I love my family, water sports, ice hockey, skiing and soccer. When I'm not helping people save money on textbooks, I'm travelling with my wonderful family and playing sports.