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.
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 Forms & Payment Deadline (2 weeks after your program's Application Deadline). To find the deadlines 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 Forms & Payment Deadline for your program:
Consortium Agreement from your home institution's Financial Aid Office or Study Abroad Office. (This document is issued by the Financial Aid Office. Please note that you usually must have gone through the academic credit approval process with your home institution's Study Abroad Office before they will issue a Consortium Agreement for you.)
Please remember that you will need to plan ahead in order to provide ASA with verification of your financial aid by the Forms & Payment Deadline. See below for details on 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 must be paid by the published Forms & Payment Deadline.
If you are planning to pay for your program fees with financial aid but are unable to provide ASA with verification by the Forms & Payment Deadline, we typically ask for a $1,000 down payment or a copy of your flight itinerary in order to hold your space. Once we have one of these items, we will give you additional time to submit your Financial Aid Verification Form and Consortium Agreement.
**Once again, below you can find step-by-step instructions detailing exactly what you need to do in order to arrange your financial aid with your home institution.**
What if studying abroad is more expensive than my current school? Can I apply for additional funding?
Yes. If the Costs of Attendance of your study abroad program are greater than the Costs of Attendance for a semester at your home institution, you may be eligible to apply for additional student loans, Parent Plus loans, etc. through your Financial Aid Office. You would need to ask your Financial Aid Office about these options.
Your Financial Aid Office will need a "Costs of Attendance" list in order to determine your eligibility. This is usually requested on the Consortium Agreement, and ASA will fill it in for you. 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 ahead of time, in order to determine your financial aid eligibility for one of our programs, please feel free to email chelsea(at)academicstudies.com.
What is a Consortium Agreement?
A Consortium Agreement is a contract, issued by your home institution's Financial Aid Office, that both ASA and your Financial Aid Office have to sign in order 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. ASA agrees to confirm that you have been accepted to the program and will be enrolled full time; we also provide your enrollment dates, the number of credits you will take, and the Costs of Attendance. ASA must also agree to notify your home school of any change in your enrollment, 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?
Step by Step: How do I go about arranging my financial aid?
Step 1: Visit your college/university's Study Abroad Office. It's a good idea to get this process started at least 2 months before ASA's deadline. Your Study Abroad Office may have its own application deadline (perhaps earlier than ASA's) by which they must approve you to study abroad for the coming term. VERYY IMPORTANT: Please be aware that before you make any financial aid arrangements, you will first need to get the ASA program approved for credit by your college/university's Study Abroad Office. Normally, the academic approval portion is handled by the Study Abroad Office or International Education Office. Depending on your school, you may have to get the academic approvals before you can even talk to financial aid, or some schools may allow you to work on both simultaneously. Each college/university has its own process for approving students to study abroad. Once again, your Study Abroad Office can give you more information about their requirements and deadlines.
Step 2: Once your home institution's Study Abroad Office has approved your participation and credit transfer on the ASA program, have the Study Abroad Office or Financial Aid Office fax us your Consortium Agreement (issued by your school's Financial Aid Office; to be filled out by ASA) and Financial Aid Verificaton Form (click here to download and print - must be completed by the Financial Aid Office) before the Forms & Payment Deadline. If we don't receive these items by the deadline, your space on the ASA program will not be secure unless other arrangements are made. When verification of financial aid cannot be provided by the Forms & Payment Deadline, we typically ask for a $1,000 down payment or a copy of your flight itinerary in order to secure your space.
Step 3: The Financial Aid Verification Form completed by your university will tell us 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 part of your financial aid is meant to cover your personal expenses while abroad, find out the disbursement date ahead of time because oftentimes 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. Please note that ASA's balance does need to be paid first before you may keep any part of your disbursement to use for personal expenses.
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, in which case you will need to make arrangements with them to deposit it for you while you are abroad. 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 your finances accordingly.
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 take action if payment is not received in 10 days, including but not limited to: removal fom the program, removal from housing, removal from program-related activities, denial of final transcript. Planning ahead using these steps will help you avoid these situations.
Step 7: A common question is, "How do I make sure my payment gets to ASA in 10 days if I'm abroad at the time of disbursement?" The most simple solution is to pay by e-check, where the funds are electronically transferred from your bank account to ours. Another solution is to sign a Power of Attorney form so that your parents may 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. Another option is to leave a couple of signed checks and an envelope addressed to ASA with your parents, so they can forward your payment to us after your disbursement arrives. The most convenient option is probably e-check.
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 issues 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, even in the event that your disbursement is less than you expected. Re-confirming ahead of time with your Financial Aid Office will help you prevent unforeseen issues such as this.
Step 9: Lastly, make sure that you've completed all the necessary paperwork for your Financial Aid Office before you depart. Most Financial Aid Offices have additional paperwork that the aid recipient must complete (aside from ASA's forms) before any funds can be disbursed. If you don't complete these before you leave, your school may not be able to release your funding.
If you have any questions about any part of the financial aid process, please don't hesitate to contact ASA!