How do I apply for the FAFSA

FAFSA and Study Abroad: What American Students Need To Know

The decision to study abroad is both encouraging and exciting, and opens up tons of opportunities to make new friends and market yourself to future employers. Nevertheless, many prospective students do not consider studying abroad to be feasible for several reasons.

However, a common reason cited is the very real concern about cost. If you are considering a study abroad experience or have already been accepted at an international university, then you may be wondering how you would like to fund your studies.

The good news is that options exist for you as an American citizen. However, since funding options are less if you are looking to study abroad, it is important to train and plan ahead of time to ensure the application process goes smoothly.

Where should I start?

You're not the only one who thinks tracking down all of the funding opportunities that are available to you seems like a daunting task, to say the least. But once they know where to start, most students realize that there are enough resources to get them on the right track.

The best place for most American students, whether studying domestically or overseas, will be the government's Federal Student Aid website to complete the free application for State Student Aid, or FAFSA.

The FAFSA will start accepting applications for programs beginning October 1st for programs starting the following fall. Make sure you submit your application as soon as possible.

Is it possible to get help to attend an international university?

No. Unfortunately, you can only apply for a grant if the university you are applying for is participating in the federal student loan programs.

However, this only applies if you intend to study your fill degree program abroad. A comprehensive list of participating schools can be found here.

Does it matter if I am only studying at the Exchange or if I am studying a full program?

Whether you've chosen to do just one semester or an entire program abroad, American citizens are eligible for financial assistance to cover costs. However, there are minor differences that you may need to consider.

If you are doing a full degree abroad, you will need to identify the school you accepted directly on your application, provided that the school participates in the student loan program.

However, if you are studying abroad through an American university, in most cases you will only state that university on your application. The grant office at your home university can answer more specific questions about how your grant can be used to cover the cost of studying abroad.

In either case, the form you need to fill out is the same for all students.

What financing do I have?

As a student, you are eligible for funding through either a direct subsidized loan or a direct unsubsidized loan. Because international schools are unable to participate in the U.S. Department of Education's scholarship programs, students who complete full-time degrees at an international university are not eligible for a Federal Pell Grant.

If state tuition is not enough to cover the full cost, consider getting a private loan as well.

I completed my FAFSA, what now?

Once you have completed your FAFSA, you will need to contact your school. Most schools receive money directly from the US Treasury Department to cover tuition fees. If there is any money left, your school can decide whether to put it in your student account or return the remaining balance directly to you.

As a prospective graduate student, is there anything I should know?

If you look into graduate programs, you may already be able to repay after the loan. It is important to note that, like undergraduate programs, not every university that offers graduate education participates in a nationwide student loan program.

In addition, not every university gives you the opportunity to defer your former student loans while you are studying. Check ahead of time if studying at a particular university gives you the option to defer loans if you cannot make payments while studying.

Are you ready for the adventure of a lifetime?

It's important to remember that it doesn't matter where in the world you study. The important thing is that you have the information you need to prepare ahead of time and start your applications early to get the support you need.

Don't forget to consider scholarships!

To get you started, we've compiled a list of study abroad scholarships for international students in the most popular places to study abroad to give you the funding you need to have an adventure you will never forget.

Download our free scholarship guide