Financing Your Study Abroad

Financial planning is a crucial step in ensuring a successful study abroad experience. Financial planning begins the moment you begin thinking about studying abroad, and continues until after you return from your experience. We've provided a wealth of resources and suggestions to provide assistance as you work through the financial planning process.

The U.S. Department of Education advises that the Perkins Loans, SSIG Grant Program, Pell Grants, FSEOG Grants, Stafford Loans, SLS Loans, PLUS Loans and Consolidation Loans can be used for study abroad. Your financial aid will continue to funnel through UNK, so you should meet with the Financial Aid Office (865-8520) to discuss your options for using financial aid for study abroad.

Study Abroad & Financial Aid:

You may be able to use your financial aid to help fund your study abroad experience; however, it is dependent on which study abroad program you choose to participate in. After you have met with the Office of Study Abroad to discuss your participation in a program, it is suggested that you contact the Office of Financial Aid to review your financial aid options.

Scholarships and Grants:

You may be able to use your scholarships and grants to assist with the cost of your study abroad program; however, it is dependent on the details of the specific scholarship or grant. Often the issuer has a set of parameters defining how the fund can be used. It is suggested that you contact the Office of Financial Aid to discuss your options, and you may also need to contact the issuer of the scholarship or grant to understand how it can be used. It is possible to earn a scholarship or grant to assist with the costs of your study abroad program. However, this requires planning as it often takes time and detail to apply. There is very little "free money" just sitting around, as earning a scholarship often requires work more than 12 months prior to engaging in your international experience!

Money Management Tips:

When using currency abroad, it is very important to take precautions. Because you will be far from home, contacting your financial institutions or receiving emergency funds will be increasingly difficult. Be sure that you have a money management plan developed before you go arrive at your destination country.

  • Prepare a budget. 
    • While it is impossible to know every cost that you will encounter during your study abroad experience, you can plan ahead to better manage your money. Make sure you understand what the program fees will pay for and what fees you are personally responsible for throughout the trip. (Things to consider: Do fees cover ALL travel expenses, ALL food expenses, or the cost of textbooks, Internet fees, etc.? How much are you willing to spend on extra day trips or souvenirs? Do you understand the exchange rate so that you can manage money throughout your trip?)
    • The Cost Estimate Worksheet by NAFSA
  • Notify your bank and credit card company when and where you will be traveling to. Identify any daily spending limits, and service charges for international usages. Know what form of payment will is preferred in your host country. Often the exchange rate is less when using an ATM rather than exchanging cash or travelers checks, but bank charges may be attached. It may also be helpful to convert a small amount of money ($50) into the local currency of your destination before leaving the US. Many banks have an international division and can help address questions about money.