Need to Know more about Financing Study Abroad?
Schedule an appointment with Leslie Thomas, the director in charge of Study Abroad in the Financial Aid Office.
Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment.
Complete study abroad Budget Form.
Talk with parents (if applicable) about alternative/ additional loans: Plus Loans, Private Education Loans (see IUP Financial website for details)
Research scholarship opportunities
What is financial aid?
Financial aid for IUP purposes is money given to you either by the state or federal government in order to assist you with your education. It can come in the form of grants, which is free money, scholarships, which is usually donor money, or student loans, which is the most unpopular because they are loans that you have to pay back.
How do I receive financial aid?
The first step for applying for financial aid is completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, commonly known as the FAFSA. It needs to be done once every year, and we usually try to have students complete it by IUP's deadline which is April 15th.
How do I use financial aid for study abroad?
Financial Aid is used for any educational endeavors; studying abroad is one of those endeavors, so our goal is to help you use your financial aid to the fullest.
Are there stipulations to use financial aid?
In order to get financial aid and use it for study abroad, it has to be an approved program. So, your program has to be approved and finalized to the Office of International Education. They're responsible for making sure that it's an approved program, you have the number of credits, that your credits will transfer back; and so when we know all those things are in place, then we know that you are eligible for financial aid.
Will my financial aid cover my entire program?
In most cases it can, and what usually happens is students have to take out private education loans or loans through an alternative lending facility. So, all your state or federal aid may not cover your program. There are other options between either a Parent PLUS Loan or a Private Education Loan, again "loan" being the operative word. But, you can use those funds towards the funding of 100% of your study abroad.
What can I use my financial aid for on study abroad?
You can use them for pretty much anything: you can use it for your travel to and from, your travel while you're there. You can use it obviously for your tuition and books and fees while you're there. We even allow a personal expense, so if you're doing excursions or site seeing, or if you have a break while you're there, we can also work that into your financial aid.
Is there summer financial aid available?
Summer financial aid is a little more difficult, because summer is basically using whatever you haven't used during the fall and spring. So, if you're looking for a lot of free money, you may not actually have it. You may find yourself relying more on those Private Education Loans or a Parent PLUS Loan during the summer.
When do I receive my aid? Why is this important?
Funds are dispersed regular IUP time, so even if you are studying abroad and are departing early, your funds still won't come to IUP until after the drop/add date of that term. So, for example: If you're going away spring, your funds won't come until the spring term begins. So it's very important that you save some money, have some money on hand when you travel, because your financial aid is not promised to be immediately available to you.
What is important for parents to know?
That they're responsible for helping their student do the FAFSA, because again, that's the first step. Two: that the student needs to have some money saved. It may have to come from the parents upfront, but when the financial aid does come in, they can be reimbursed for their expenses. Finally, that if the student lists the parent as an authorized user on URSA, or they allow them access to their information, they [the parents] can call us at any time with any kind of questions.
How do I receive a refund?
We always urge students to sign up for what's called direct deposit. This way they can have quicker access to their funds. What usually happens if you're expecting a refund is that your funds come to IUP while you're in Spain; so then you don't necessarily have your money sent to Spain, it'll be sent home in a paper check, and sometimes that takes longer to process. So, if you have direct deposit, which is available through the bursar's office, those funds go immediately into an account and then you can access that money using an ATM or debit or however you want to. So it's important that students all take advantage of the direct deposit features that IUP offers.
How much money will I need while abroad?
Actually, the budget's the responsibility of the student. We have a budget form that I send the students who want to meet with me, and it's their responsibility to come up with their budget, what they believe that their cost is. We do that for two reasons. One, that students should never go abroad without knowing what it's going to cost them; and two, can we have access to enough money that we can assist them? So we tell students to do their own budget, and then we review it when we meet. And we make sure it's realistic, you know, we talk about: how many trips do you think you're going to do, or excursions that you're going to do while you're away? What is the actual tuition and fees, and what does that include? Does that include room and board and those kinds of things? So it's a collaboration; students come to me with a budget, we work through the budget and make sure in the end that they have enough financial aid to meet that budget.
When can I meet with Leslie in financial aid?
Timing is tricky, because in the spring when they are planning for fall, we don't necessarily know [our expected funding] till summer. So, we're doing a lot of guesswork when they come in the spring. Sometimes we can even meet via phone or email to try to tighten those up as the students get awarded in the summer. The easiest time is when they travel, obviously, in the spring because we can meet in the fall, and we know exactly what their aid package looks like. So, I tell students, if it's too early and I have no information, for example, and they have no FAFSA on file, I can't even do guesswork with them. So it's important to get the FAFSA done. Keep in mind that students aren't awarded for the upcoming year until later in summer, so I won't have final answers for them; but, we can always meet and discuss what's needed.