5 Tips for Using Financial Aid to Pay for Your Study Abroad Program

Katie Reed is the Student Services and Financial Aid Coordinator at ISA. Katie works with students to pay for their study abroad program.

Applying for financial aid can be a daunting process, but you’ll be thanking yourself later when you are paying for your study abroad program after landing a sweet job you scored based on your international experience. That’s how it worked for me anyways! These are my top 5 tips for making the financial aid process as painless as possible:

  • Talk to the experts Talk to your study abroad office and let them know that you plan on studying abroad and want to use financial aid. They are a great resource and they will ultimately be able to give you the best personalized advice, so utilize them!
  • Fill out the right forms Find the Verification of Award form on your student portal and turn it into your school’s financial aid office. This is the cardinal rule of financial aid;  once you’ve completed these first two steps, it’s all downhill from there.
  • Estimate your out-of-pocket expenses Find out how much of your program is being paid for by financial aid by reviewing the completed Verification of Award on your Student Portal. You will owe ISA the portion not covered by the final forms and payment due date—two weeks after the application deadline. Pro tip: Use the ISA FACT tool to estimate how much you will owe out of pocket, that’s what it’s there for!
  • Send in your hold check on time The amount you receive in financial aid needs to be mailed to ISA in the form of a hold check—a fancy term for a regular check with a piece of paper stapled to it that says “hold until xx/xx/2012 for financial aid”.
  • Prepare for expenses There is no magic solution for coming up with the amount of money not covered by financial aid, but a part-time job, a PowerPoint to your family explaining why you would be an excellent candidate for a personal loan and applying for scholarships are a great place to start.