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Scholarships, Grants, and Financial Aid

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We do more to put study abroad within reach.

IFSA is deeply committed to making study abroad accessible to as many students as possible. We believe that cost should never be a barrier: that’s why we offer financial support to a larger proportion of our students than any other organization.

That concept of inclusive excellence—embracing and empowering all students regardless of background—is central to our mission of making studying abroad available to all those who choose to pursue it. Together, we can find a way to make it happen for you.

More than one in three IFSA applicants receives funding through a scholarship.

Opportunities for students who want to study abroad with IFSA:

  • Scholarships – IFSA offers need-based and location-specific scholarships, ranging from $500 to $2,500
  • Grants – Automatic, application-free funding for up to $2,000 for eligible groups
  • IFSA student marketing correspondents – A special offering open to all, enabling you to earn a stipend by documenting your study abroad experience, and even get the funds as an advance to offset up-front costs
  • Affordable program offerings – We also offer IFSA-designed programs created specifically to be more accessible and less expensive than direct enrollment at host universities—a great option for those who don’t qualify for many scholarships or grants, or who are looking for a more affordable option.
  • Financial advising – Many students don’t know that the financial aid they already receive from government programs can be applied to study abroad. We’ll show you how.

Grants

IFSA State School Grant

All state school students (regardless of in-state or out-of-state status) will automatically receive a $2,000 grant for any IFSA semester program. The grant will be applied to the overall tuition/housing costs during billing. There is no application process; state school (including community college) students automatically receive the discount.

The IFSA State School Grant may not be combined with the IFSA Minority Serving Institution Grant. This grant cannot be applied to January Term or Summer Term programs.

IFSA Minority Serving Institution Grant

All minority serving institution (MSI) school students will automatically receive a $2,000 grant for any IFSA semester program. The grant will be applied to the overall tuition/housing costs during billing. There is no application process; students who attend a minority serving institution automatically receive the discount.

The IFSA Minority Serving Institution Grant may not be combined with the IFSA State School Grant. This grant cannot be applied to January Term or Summer Term programs.


IFSA Scholarships

IFSA General Scholarship Application Deadlines

Program TermPriority DeadlineFinal Deadline
Fall Term / Academic YearMarch 1April 1
Spring Term / Calendar YearOctober 1November 1
Summer TermMarch 1April 1
January TermOctober 1November 1

IFSA First-Generation Scholarship

Designed to: Give first-generation college students a chance to benefit from the life-changing experience of studying abroad.

Awards: Up to $1,500 for January Term and Summer Term programs, $2,500 for Semester and Academic/Calendar Year programs.

This achievement-based scholarship program offers first-generation college students significant financial, academic, and pre-professional support for study abroad on a January Term, Summer Term, Semester, or Academic/Calendar Year IFSA program.

Recipients receive up to $2,500 to help them cover the cost of airfare, visas and passports, and housing.

Deadlines:

  • Summer Term, Fall Term, and Academic Year Programs: March 1
  • January Term, Spring Term, and Calendar Year Programs: October 1

IFSA Diversity Scholarship

Designed to: Make study abroad accessible to students of high financial need and/or students from traditionally underrepresented groups, such as first-generation college students, minority students, current or former community college students

Awards: Up to $1,250 for Summer Term, $5,000 for Semester, $10,000 for Academic/Calendar Year programs.

This need-based scholarship program, offered in collaboration with the Fund for Education Abroad (FEA), provides significant funding for minority and/or high financial need students seeking to experience study abroad. To apply, visit the FEA application website.

Deadlines:

  • Fall Term and Academic Year Programs: Due in January
  • Spring Term and Calendar Year Programs: Due in September
  • Even if you have not yet finalized your application with IFSA, you can still apply for this scholarship! If you make it past the first round, the scholarship panel will reach out to confirm your study abroad plans.

IFSA Student Marketing Correspondents

Opportunities for Fall and Spring Terms

Are you a creative content curator with the potential to inspire others to study abroad? As an IFSA Student Marketing Correspondent, you can earn a stipend to document your IFSA experience through a variety of photography, videography, and digital storytelling (journalistic writing or vlogging) while abroad. These positions are a wonderful opportunity to develop professional skills and build your resume.

Designed to: Help students fund and gain valuable work experience from their study abroad program and enhance their experience. Open to all students who participate in a Fall Term or Spring Term program.

Awards: Stipend of $750 is awarded via PayPal or direct deposit.

To Apply: All students who have submitted their Fall Term or Spring Term applications to study abroad will receive an email invitation to apply from IFSA. This is a competitive award with limited appointments.


Location-Specific Scholarships

IFSA offers numerous scholarships that reflect our strong relationship with overseas partners and honor the legacy of our colleagues and students. These scholarships are specific to certain programs or countries:

Australia

The University of Technology, Sydney offers a merit-based Study Abroad Excellence Scholarship for commencing study abroad students. Selection is based on academic excellence at the tertiary institutions you have attended. When your IFSA University of Technology, Sydney application is submitted, you will automatically be considered for this scholarship. You do not need to submit a separate scholarship application or documentation in addition to what is required for the IFSA University of Technology, Sydney application.

Ireland

Queen’s University Belfast offers The Norman Houston Award for study abroad students. The award includes one semester of tuition, university accommodation, and air travel expense. You must be a U.S. citizen to qualify. Find further details regarding eligibility and application requirements on the The Norman Houston Award webpage. Please contact your IFSA Enrollment Counselor for instructions on how to submit your application. 

Trinity College Dublin offers travel grants and scholarships between €1,000 and €2,000. Awards available to IFSA students include the Study Abroad STEM Scholarship, the Global Study Abroad Excellence Scholarships, and the Trinity College Dublin Generation Study Abroad Scholarship.

New Zealand

The University of Auckland offers several scholarships (up to $7,500) to help IFSA students cover some of the upfront costs of studying abroad. All interested students should apply; however, students with high-financial need and first-generation college students (neither parent has a four-year degree) will be given preference in the selection process. You must be applying to IFSA’s University of Auckland program in order to be considered.

The Upfront Auckland Scholarship covers the following expenses: Program deposit ($500), Airfare, and Cash (any remaining funding will be disbursed directly to you at the beginning of the program).

Applications are reviewed and awarded on a rolling basis, until funding has been exhausted or until April 1 for Fall Term and Academic Year programs, and November 1 for Spring and Calendar Term programs. To apply for the Upfront Auckland Scholarship, first complete an IFSA application for the University of Auckland. The scholarship will then appears as an option within your IFSA Student Portal.

University of Canterbury: Canterbury awards multiple scholarships exclusively for IFSA students who attend the IFSA University of Canterbury Partnership program. Awards range from NZ$1,500 to NZ$2,200, and the university also gives “general awards” to select students upon arrival.

University of Otago: Otago is offering IFSA first-generation college students the exclusive opportunity to apply for one of two, full housing scholarships available for Fall Term only. Apply for the award by completing the IFSA scholarship application by April 1.

Education New Zealand has partnered with the U.S. Department of State to provide additional funds for the Gilman New Zealand Scholarship. Applicants must be receiving a Federal Pell Grant to be considered. Learn more about the eligibility requirements and application processes.

The Victoria University of Wellington Study Abroad Scholarship is open to international students who plan to experience New Zealand culture through a study abroad program at Victoria University of Wellington. The value of the scholarship is up to NZ$1,000 to each successful applicant as a one-off payment towards the student’s study abroad tuition fee.

United Kingdom

University of St. Andrews: The University of St. Andrews offers several scholarships up to £4,000 each semester, which can be used toward either housing or tuition. The university also offers one tuition scholarship up to £9,000. This scholarship, usually awarded for the Fall Term, requires applicants to provide a letter of support from their home institution.

You must already be accepted to the University of St. Andrews program to be eligible for these scholarships. University of St. Andrews emails all eligible students with further information once the scholarship application period opens. Accepted students can find information regarding St. Andrews scholarships and submit applications via St. Andrews student portal, MySaint. Contact your IFSA Enrollment Counselor for further application details.

The Fund for Education Abroad (FEA) received a gift of $50,000 from The Cyril Taylor Charitable Foundation (CTCF) to fund scholarships for students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents to study in the United Kingdom. Named the Cyril Taylor Memorial Scholarship and typically available for Summer Term, Semester, and Academic/Calendar Year programs, the gift funds multiple scholarships and is administered by FEA. The named scholarship will fund Academic/Calendar Year scholarships of up to $10,000, Semester scholarships of $5,000, and Summer Term scholarships of up to $3,750 for deserving undergraduates to study in the United Kingdom on programs that best meet their educational objectives.


Other Scholarships

Scholarships such as the IFSA Diversity Scholarship, Boren Award, Freeman Asia Scholarship, and the Gilman Scholarship are a competitive process—as they could include writing personal statements, having your Financial Aid Advisor and Study Abroad Advisor complete online sections, and possibly a professor’s recommendation letter. Many students with high financial need apply for these scholarships, so you are encouraged to coordinate with your study abroad office for support with these scholarship applications in advance of the deadlines.

Gilman Scholarship

Designed to: Assist students with Pell Grants to make their dreams of studying abroad become a reality. Students who identify with a minority group, disability, first-generation, community college, and/or are STEM focused are especially encouraged to apply.

Awards: Up to $5,000 for Semester program students, although eligible for an additional $3,000 if you are studying a Critical Needs Language while abroad or $,1000 for doing STEM research while abroad.

This need-based scholarship program is offered to U.S. citizens to help them learn more about the world firsthand. As a part of receiving the funds, students are to complete a project after they return to their home institution, that would encourage other students to explore the possibility of studying abroad as well. This competitive application includes writing two essays. To learn more about it, visit the Gilman application website.

Deadlines: There are two deadlines each year. Note that Summer Term, Fall Term, and Spring Term programs could apply for either deadline, but most students end up applying for the deadline closest to their program’s start date.

  • January Term, Spring Term, Summer Term, and Fall Term programs apply with the October deadline.
  • Summer Term, Fall Term, and Spring Term programs apply with the May deadline.

Boren Scholarship Award

Designed to: Provide U.S. undergraduate students to study abroad in areas of the world that are critical to U.S. interests and are underrepresented in typical study abroad.

Awards: Up to $8,000 for Summer Term programs at least eight weeks in length (STEM students only); up to $12,500 for one Semester programs; or up to $25,000 for Academic or Calendar Tear programs at the same location.

This award is focused on long-term linguistic and cultural immersion. Students who study abroad in the same location year round will have a higher chance of being selected but students can apply for the scholarship for one semester, as long as there is an emphasis on local immersion and language studies. To learn more about the award, please visit the Boren Awards website.

Deadline: Late January for upcoming Summer Term and Academic Year programs.

Freeman Asia Scholarship

Designed to: Assist students with demonstrated financial need study abroad in East or Southeast Asia.

Awards: Up to $3,000 for Summer Term programs; up to $5,000 for one Semester program; and up to $7,000 for an Academic or Calendar Year program.

This award is regional specific and will require a follow-up service project after returning home to help encourage other students to study abroad in the same region. For more information on how to apply, please visit the Freeman Asia website.

Deadlines: Late March for upcoming Summer Term and Academic Year programs.

Diverse International Women of Color Scholarship

The Diverse International Women of Color Scholarship (DIWC) is a $500 award designed specifically to assist women of color who are hoping to study abroad. Applications typically open around March 1 annually. Visit DIWCfund.org for more information about how to apply.

Designed to: Make study abroad accessible to women of color and have high financial need.

Award: $500, regardless of Summer Term or Semester program.

This scholarship is awarded by the DIWC. Visit DIWCfund.org for more information on how to apply.

Deadlines:

  • Mid-April for Summer Term programs
  • Mid-July for Fall Term programs
  • Mid-November for Spring Term programs

Using Your Financial Aid

You can apply most federal financial aid toward study abroad. This includes financial programs like Guaranteed Student Loans (GSL/Stafford), Pell Grants, and Parent/PLUS Loans.

We recognize and support those who have served in our armed forces, and we are prepared to help facilitate your study abroad experience. Generally, veterans or their dependent students can apply the Post 9/11 GI Bill toward study abroad, although the amount will depend on the benefit type and whether study abroad is required for your major (in which case Veterans Affairs may pay more).

It’s important to speak with your financial aid officer and study abroad office early on to determine which scholarships, grants, loans, and other tuition-assistance programs are transferable from your home university. Institutional aid like presidential or endowed scholarships may not apply, but you may be able to fill that gap with one of IFSA’s many scholarship and financial aid programs. As part of our scholarship determination process, please be prepared to send us your home institution award letter.

Steps for Using Financial Aid for Study Abroad

1. Make a Financial Aid Appointment
While IFSA accepts any transfer of financial aid, we are not able to process it ourselves. This must be done by your home university. Your financial aid officer will be able to explain how much and what type of aid you can transfer and how you can get that process started. When you go to your appointment, make sure to bring:

  • Your most recent financial aid information
  • Your IFSA program fees (see your IFSA program page)
  • Your IFSA program estimated costs (like airfare, visas, etc., also on your IFSA program page)

2. Ask Your Financial Aid Officer for a Contractual/Consortium Agreement
IFSA has contractual/consortium with institutions whose students participate on our programs. With this agreement, IFSA will confirm your status as a full-time student on your program and your home school will approve your financial aid to transfer to your program fees. This form is the best way to guarantee that your aid will be transferred to IFSA.

3. Submit Your Payment Deferral Form to IFSA
If your financial aid won’t be dispersed until after the payment deadline, you’ll need to complete the Payment Deferral Form. Your financial aid officer will need to complete this and return it to IFSA directly.

4. Apply for IFSA Scholarships
IFSA offers a variety of scholarships and grants with varying deadlines and application processes. For all the possibilities, visit the Scholarships section of this page.

5. Payment Plan
Decide if you’d like to enroll in our monthly payment plan (Semester or Academic/Calendar Year Programs only). See Billing, Payments, and Refunds for complete details.

6. Pay Your Program Fees
If you’re not using the payment plan option or deferring your payment to wait for financial aid, make sure to note the payment deadline for your program! You can see this when you log into the IFSA Student Portal.

Questions?
For payment questions or assistance, please contact our IFSA Finance Team


Managing Upfront Costs

Some of the most immediate costs of study abroad can be the most daunting. Processing charges like housing deposits and airfare can be the most burdensome for your budget—especially when you’re dependent on financial aid to cover program costs. In an effort to help you pay those over time, and to minimize the stress of all those out-of-pocket expenses, IFSA is pleased to offer the UpFront Advance. Inspired by our award-winning partner, the University of Minnesota’s Bridging Loan program, UpFront allows you to bill certain fees to your IFSA student account. You can then pay these expenses with financial aid or with our monthly payment option.

IFSA Upfront Advance

The IFSA Upfront Advance covers the following expenses:

  • Airfare
  • Program deposit ($500)

This program is available for any IFSA Semester and Academic/Calendar Year program. Download the Upfront Advance Request Form and complete the instructions to apply.

Upfront Auckland Scholarship

The University of Auckland offers several scholarships (up to $7,500) to help IFSA students cover some of the upfront costs of studying abroad. All interested students should apply; however, students with high-financial need and first-generation college students (neither parent has a four-year degree) will be given preference in the selection process. You must be applying to IFSA’s University of Auckland program in order to be considered.

The Upfront Auckland Scholarship covers the following expenses: Program deposit ($500), Airfare, and Cash (any remaining funding will be disbursed directly to you at the beginning of the program)

Deadlines: Applications are reviewed and awarded on a rolling basis, until funding has been exhausted or until April 1 for Fall Term and Academic Year programs, and November 1 for Spring Term and Calendar Year programs.

To Apply: To apply for the Upfront Auckland Scholarship, first complete an IFSA application for the University of Auckland. The scholarship will then appears as an option within your IFSA Student Portal.