Financial Aid for Study Abroad
If you are eligible for federal, state, university, and/or departmental financial aid awards, then in many cases you can use the same awards when you study abroad. However, financial aid is generally not available during the summer or winter breaks. If not already, you should submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) — even if you do not believe you are eligible for additional aid. We encourage you to apply early in the calendar year for assistance in the upcoming academic year.
For most study abroad programs, you are eligible to be considered for financial aid for no more than one academic year (two semesters) as an undergraduate student and no more than one semester as a graduate student. Generally, financial aid is not available in the summer, but you should speak with a study abroad advisor about strategies to make a summer program affordable.
The Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships (OFAS) will take into consideration expenses such as airfare, increased living expenses, health insurance, and loss of employment while abroad as part of your aid package. We encourage you to speak with a Financial Aid counselor to discuss how your awards apply to the program you have identified.
Using your Financial Aid to Study Abroad
Your financial aid is generally processed as it normally is for resident credit programs (you pay tuition to SDSU). Using financial aid for transfer credit programs (where you pay tuition directly to a study abroad program) requires additional steps.
You may have to pay certain costs, such as application/placement fees, passport/visa fees, airfare, and insurance before disbursement of financial aid occurs.
SDSU Exchange program, CSU International Program, and ISEP Exchange program participants have their financial aid released normally as the term begins at SDSU.
ISEP Direct, Partner program and Direct Enroll program participants are required to submit additional documents, so federal financial aid can be disbursed. California State aid is not applicable on these program types.
For all Faculty-Led programs, consult a Financial Aid counselor to determine eligibility for aid during summer, winter break, or spring break.
Costs and Resources for Study Abroad
The Office of Financial Aid must examine the accurate costs in studying abroad as well as all financial resources available to you.
- Expenses that you incur by studying abroad may be higher than the standard cost of attendance at SDSU that includes tuition, housing, meals, and local transportation. Check with a Financial Aid counselor to determine if other expenses qualify to be added to your study abroad cost of attendance.
- You may be able to submit a Request for Budget Increase (usually only loans)
- All resources you receive must be taken into account when determining your eligibility; this includes scholarships or other resources you receive from SDSU or from an external entity.
- Notify OFAS of any assistance you anticipate receiving such as outside scholarships, private education loans (alternative loans), a fellowship, a stipend, or a research or teaching assistantship. OFAS needs to know about other sources of assistance you may receive to determine that you have the right amount of financial aid. A Financial Aid counselor can explain the interaction between costs and resources, so you can maximize your financial aid.
Extra costs of study abroad
For most semester study abroad programs, the amount of your aid eligibility is based on SDSU's standard cost of attendance for living off campus. However, you may be able to increase the amount of funds you receive. In some circumstances, your education abroad advisor can provide OFAS with documented proof of higher expected costs for your specific program abroad. This could possibly increase your loan eligibility if you weren't originally awarded your yearly maximum. If your income will decrease from the past tax year due to not being able to work while studying abroad, you may file a Students Request for Review with OFAS. They may consider you for higher need based aid or possibly increase the amount of aid you've already been awarded. See Extra Costs of Study Abroad on the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships website for more details on how to apply for a budget increase.