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Can you afford to study abroad?

We’re firm believers that every student who can study abroad should study abroad. That’s because studying abroad has a whole host of benefits—personally, educationally, and for your career. Studying abroad can boost your foreign language competency, give you crucial internationally-related work or internship experience, and can distinguish you from other applicants when it comes time to find a job. It’s also a humbling, humanizing experience that may make you more world-aware and compassionate—and that’s never a bad thing. The problem with studying abroad, of course, is that it can be very expensive. So the real question is: can you afford to study abroad? In pursuit of an answer to that question, here are a few things to consider:

Your financial aid office may be able to help.

Before you do anything, check whether your financial aid package at your home university can be applied to your study abroad program. You might get lucky and find that study abroad programs approved by your school can be paid for with the financial aid you’ve already been awarded.

Search for grants and scholarships.

Your next best option is to start looking for free money. That means grants and scholarships. Thankfully, most colleges and universities make grants or scholarships available specifically for the purpose of studying abroad. But where do you start looking for these opportunities? Easy! Head back to your financial aid office to see if they can offer information or leads on where to look or how to apply. Also check with your study abroad office and your major department, as they may offer their own set of scholarships and grants.

Check if you can use your federal student loans.

If you’re applying directly to your host school and it’s listed in the Federal School Code Search, you can use your federal student loans to help pay for it. When searching, select “Foreign Country” in the State box, then enter the city you’re studying in or the school name.

As a last resort, compare your private student loan options.

Private student loans may not be the ideal way to pay for a study abroad experience, but they’re a reliable last resort. However, it’s important to make a budget before you borrow. That way you’ll never borrow more than you need. Then compare your private student loan options (for free!) by lender, interest rate, and more using our student loan comparison tool. Why compare options? Because not all private student loans are created equal. Finding the right one could save you thousands.

Keep your costs down.

As previously mentioned, making a budget and keeping your costs down can help you have a more affordable study abroad experience. If you need help, here are ways to study abroad for less.


What are your financial aid options?