Yes! If you compare various study abroad programs and what is included with each, you will find that ours are some of the most affordable programs available. When you're comparing prices, just be sure you're comparing apples to apples - it's essential to compare what is included with that price rather than simply the price itself.
Project Travel is a crowd sourcing website for study abroad students. If you're afraid that financial aid and scholarships won't be enough, consider crowd sourcing to fund your summer or semester abroad. Check out Project Travel to learn more.
Financial Aid Overview
Many of our students already receive federal financial aid at their home school and can use that to help pay for the ASA program. ASA will accept any type of financial aid, grants, scholarships, or loans that you receive to help pay for our programs. However, it is ultimately up to the aid provider to decide if they will allow you to use it to go abroad. For example, most colleges/universities will allow you to apply your federal grants or loans to go abroad, but not your scholarships or university grants. Students may defer the portion of the program fees that is going to be covered by their financial aid and pay it within 10 days of receiving their disbursement. Any portion of the fees NOT covered by financial aid is due by the regular payment deadline. (ASA's payment deadline is the same as the application deadline. So, if the application deadline for your program is June 1, the payment deadline is also June 1.) To find the deadline and price for your program, click here.
If you plan to pay for the program using financial aid, ASA must receive the following items by the published deadline for your program:
Consortium Agreement from your home institution's financial aid or study abroad office
Written verification of your financial aid award and disbursement date (We provide 2 verification forms that you and your university's financial aid office will complete)
Please remember that you will need to plan ahead in order to provide ASA with verification of your financial aid by the payment deadline. See below for a list of the steps you'll need to take in order to arrange your financial aid. Any portion of the program fees not covered by financial aid is due to ASA by the published payment deadline.
What if studying abroad is more expensive than my current school? Can I apply for additional funding for study abroad?
Yes, many of our students have been able to apply for additional funding. If the Costs of Attendance of your study abroad program are greater than the Costs of Attendance for a semester at your current school, you may be eligible to apply for additional student loans, Parent Plus loans, etc. through your financial aid office.
Your financial aid office will need a "Costs of Attendance" list in order to determine your eligibility. This list estimates the total cost for you to go abroad, including expenses that are not included in the ASA program fee, such as airfare, books, personal expenses, etc. For a list of what is and is not included with the ASA program fee, simply click on the price of your program. If you need a Costs of Attendance list in order to determine your financial aid eligibility for one of our programs, please email chelsea(at)academicstudies.com.
How do I go about getting my financial aid applied to the ASA program?
In most cases, getting your federal financial aid transferred to us is a fairly easy process. The first step is to visit your school's study abroad office. Many times the study abroad office is already aware of the steps you will need to take. If not, visit your school's financial aid office. Tell them that you are going to study abroad, that you want to apply your federal financial aid to the study abroad program, and you want to know the necessary steps. Each school generally has its own procedure and paperwork, so make sure you find out what needs to be done.
In particular, you need to ask your financial aid office if they will sign a "Consortium Agreement" with ASA. If yes, simply have them fax the Consortium Agreement to us at 617-327-9390 and we will fill it out, sign it, and fax it back to them.
The only way you'll be able to receive federal grants and/or loans to study abroad is if your home school approves the ASA program for credit and is willing to sign a Consortium Agreement with ASA.
There are some colleges/universities that simply do not arrange Consortium Agreements. If your financial aid office tells you that your school does not do Consortium Agreements, then unfortunately, you will not be able to use your federal financial aid to study abroad. If your school won't do a Consortium Agreement, you will need to look for outside loans or apply for a private loan (more on this below).
What is a Consortium Agreement?
A Consortium Agreement is a contract that both ASA and your school's financial aid office have to sign, in order to make it possible for you to use your federal aid to study abroad. By signing the Consortium Agreement, your school agrees to process your federal aid so that you may use it to go abroad. On the Consortium Agreement, we verify your enrollment dates, the number of credits you will take, and the Costs of Attendance. We also verify that the money we receive will be used for you to go to school full-time. Finally, ASA agrees to notify your home school of any change in your enrollment while abroad, such dropping below full-time status or withdrawing from the program, as this will affect the amount of financial aid you're eligible to receive.
What do you mean by "Federal Financial Aid"?
Pell Grants, Parent Plus Loans, and Stafford Loans are the most common types of federal financial aid that our students have used. Once again, the processing of the aid MUST be done by your home school's financial aid office, via a Consortium Agreement, in order for you to use it. Federal financial aid, such as Pell Grants, Parent Plus Loans, and Stafford Loans, are approved by the government to be used for study abroad.
If you receive any other financial awards from your school, such as scholarships or private university grants, it's up to your university or the scholarship/grant provider to decide whether you can use that money to go abroad. Normally, you can use your federal aid, but not scholarships or university grants.
Are there any loans available other than "Federal Financial Aid"?
Keep in mind, if you're not applying for a student loan through your home school, you have to make sure that the loan you're applying for does NOT require a Title IV school code in order to verify that you're enrolled. You may have heard of the Title IV school code if you have ever filed a FAFSA. If the loan company requires a Title IV school code, that loan probably won't work for study abroad because very few schools outside the U.S. have a Title IV school code. You will not have a school code to give them, because the school you will attend abroad does not have one. (ASA does not have a Title IV school code, since we are not an institution of higher learning.)
For this reason, the customary way to get financial aid to go abroad is to go through your home school's financial aid office--they must be willing to process your aid for you, using their school code, since the your host institution abroad doesn't have one.
Are there any scholarships available other than ASA's scholarships?
What do I do next? - Steps for Arranging your Financial Aid
Step 1: Visit your college/university's study abroad office. It's a good idea to get this process started several months before ASA's deadline. Your study abroad office may have its own application deadline (perhaps earlier than ours) by which you must make get everything approved. The study abroad office will most likely already have information about how to apply your financial aid to study abroad. If they don't, ask the financial aid office if you can apply your federal aid to study abroad and if yes, what are the next steps.
You will need to get the ASA program approved for credit by your college/university in order to use your federal financial aid. Normally the academic approvals take place in the study abroad office or international education office - depending on your school, you may have to get the academic approvals before you can arrange your financial aid, or you may be able to work on both simultaneously. Each college/university has its own process for approving students to study abroad. Your study abroad office can give you more information about their process.
Step 2: Have the study abroad office or financial aid office fax your Consortium Agreement to ASA before the deadline. Next, turn in your 2 Financial Aid Certification Forms before the deadline (your financial aid office will have to complete one of them. If we don't receive these items by the deadline, your space on the ASA program will not be secure
Step 3: The Financial Aid Certification Form completed by your university will tell you how much financial aid you're eligible to receive. Subtract this amount from your ASA program fees and if there is any portion NOT covered by your financial aid, make arrangements to pay that portion by the deadline. You may defer the portion of the program fees that is going to be covered by financial aid and pay it to ASA within 10 days of receiving your disbursement.
Step 4: If you are receiving funds in addition to the ASA program fee (for example, to cover your personal expenses), find out the disubrsement date ahead of time. For example, many times financial aid is not disbursed until a month or two after your program has begun, so you may have to make your own arrangements for spending money until your financial aid is disbursed.
Step 5: Find out who the funds will be sent to. Some schools send the funds to ASA in the form of a check. Others send it to you or your parents in the form of a check. Others direct deposit the funds into your student account.
In addition, sometimes your aid is disbursed in more than one installment, on different dates. It's important to know what what to expect so you can plan accordingly and let ASA know.
Step 6: When you receive your disbursement, please remember that you're required to forward your payment to ASA within 10 days of receiving the disbursement. If ASA does not receive the funds within 10 days of disbursement, you will be charged a $200 late fee and be subject to a 2% monthly surcharge until ASA is paid in full. ASA reserves the right to remove you from the program or from program activities until we have been paid. Planning ahead using these steps will help you avoid this situation.
Step 7: How do I make sure my payment gets to ASA in 10 days if I'm abroad at the time of disbursement? A simple solution is to sign a ower of Attorney form, so that your parents can handle your banking in your absence (ASA can provide one). They will be able to deposit and write checks on your behalf if you give them Power of Attorney. You may want to leave a couple of signed checks and an envelope addressed to ASA with your parents, so they can then forward your payment to ASA after your disbursement arrives. The most convenient option is probably to do an e-check, where you transfer your payment from your bank account to ours.
Step 8: Before you depart, re-confirm with your financial aid office exactly how much money is going to be disbursed, when, and to whom. It's always easier to follow up on these matters before you leave! Past students who have had problems with their disbursements have found it difficult to contact their financial aid office from abroad. Please remember that you are ultimately responsible for paying the full program fees and ensuring your funding is in place.
Step 9: Lastly, make surethat you've completed all the necessary paperwork for your financial aid office before you depart. Most financial aid offices have additional set of paperwork that the aid recipient must complete before any funds can be disbursed. If you don't complete these before you leave, your school may not release your funding.
If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact ASA!