Tango Diva : Travel Stories for Women, by Women

 

by Marisa Alioto

This article was originally featured online at Savvy Miss.com. Tango Diva is so pleased to be featuring Marisa Alioto and her study abroad expertise for our Studying Divas!

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Many students don’t study abroad because they fear the cost will outweigh the benefits. But in most cases, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Don’t let bank account blues keep you from this once-in-a-lifetime experience!

There are literally hundreds of thousands of dollars in financial aid and scholarships that go unclaimed every year. With some research and a little dedication, students can find various resources to help finance their time abroad.

1. It’s All in the Timing

Students should consider applying for financial aid and/or scholarships well before their scheduled departure. Start your search at least six months before you leave for your program to ensure that you have plenty of time to research all options.

2. If Your School Has Its Own Program

If you are studying abroad on a program sponsored by your home university, there are quite a few resources available to you. If you are already receiving financial aid through your school, you may be able to maintain your eligibility for grants, loans and scholarships. And students who might not normally be eligible for financial aid may actually qualify for assistance for the period in which they are studying abroad.

Students who want to apply for financial aid need to submit a FAFSA form (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), which can be picked up at your college’s financial aid office or accessed online at the FAFSA website (www.fafsa.ed.gov). In addition to your financial need, the government takes the cost of your study abroad program into consideration when awarding aid.

3. If You’ve Outsourced Your Education

Beyond federal and state aid, students participating in a program outside of their university may be eligible for aid through the sponsoring organization or institution. It’s important that you contact the program sponsor directly to inquire about their specific financial aid procedures and forms as more aid may be available to you this way.

4. Load Up on Scholarships

All students, regardless of their eligibility for financial aid, can apply for as many scholarships as they want. Check with your university’s programs abroad office, as well as public and private organizations and the federal government for opportunities. If you are studying on a program not affiliated with your university, contact your sponsoring institution, as they may offer scholarships or fee reductions for eligible candidates.

5. Surf That Web

The Internet is a great place to search for scholarships. A couple of websites to check out are:

• Study Abroad.com (StudyAbroad.com) offers links to national scholarships

• The International Education Financial Aid site (www.iefa.org) offers links to scholarships, especially for those studying outside of North America

6. Don’t Double Dip

Be careful: You usually cannot receive financial aid from both your home institution and your sponsoring institution for the same program abroad. However, you are able to receive financial aid from one source, and then supplement that aid with scholarships. Oink Money guarantor loans are suitable for anyone without a credit history, for example a first time borrower. A friend or family member can guarantee the loan, increasing your chances of borrowing. Be aware that if the combination exceeds your tuition and room and board, you may be required to return the leftover money. Yes, return the leftover money. Seriously.

There are literally thousands of resources available to students when it comes to financial aid and scholarships. Check with your program to make sure you’re following all financial policies…and enjoy your adventures abroad!

About the Author:

When she isn’t freelancing for wonderful online publications, Marisa Alioto serves as the Outreach Coordinator and an Advisor for students studying abroad at the UCSD Programs Abroad Office. This Diva not only studied abroad in Granada, Spain, but has also traveled throughout Eastern and Western Europe, Japan and Costa Rica. Thanks to her new job, her next adventure will be to South America this spring.

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