Financial Aid

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 during a semester or summer term. 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. 

In most cases, you are eligible to be considered for financial aid for no more than one academic year (two semesters) of study abroad as an undergraduate student and no more than one semester as a graduate student.  

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.

If you use any type of Veterans Benefits to cover your tuition at SDSU and your are planning to study abroad, notify your Global Education Advisor early in the process.  You will work directly with the Joan and Art Barron Veterans Center for any questions regarding whether these benefits can be used for the program you have selected.

Using your Financial Aid to Study Abroad

Regardless of the program you choose, you will need to be prepared to pay certain costs, such as application/placement fees, passport/visa fees, airfare, and insurance before disbursement of financial aid occurs.

SDSU Exchange programs, CSU International Programs, and ISEP Exchange programs

  • Tuition is due to SDSU for these programs, and you will receive SDSU resident credit, so financial aid is generally processed as it normally is.
  • Financial aid is released normally and according to SDSU's regular disbursement dates (e.g. disbursement will not occur until the term begins at SDSU even if the term abroad has already begun).

ISEP Direct, Partner program and Direct Enroll

  • Tuition is paid directly to an external organization or institution for these programs, and you will receive transfer credit.  Using financial aid for these programs requires additional steps prior to departure and once you arrive abroad. 
  • In order to aid to released, you must have completed the required pre-departure paperwork, and you must have completed the verification of enrollment in your course abroad in order for any applicable financial aid to be disbursed.  Note that not all California State aid is applicable to these program types.
    • Once you are accepted, check your Aztecs Abroad post-decision checklist for specific instructions to let the Global Education Office know you will use financial aid for your program, and then complete the required pre-departure agreement for your program.

Custom programs (Global Seminars, Course-Embedded Programs)

  • Consult a Financial Aid counselor to determine eligibility for aid during summer
  • Unfortunately, financial aid is not available for winter break or spring break programs.  Please consult the SDSU Student Financial Center with any questions about your specific situation.

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.