Scholarships & Financial Aid
In addition to the scholarships listed here, we encourage you to search in your local community for scholarships for which you could be eligible. For example, inquire with your local bank, a local hospital, your old high school, a local Kiwanis group, or your parents’ or relatives’ employers. There may be opportunities here that aren’t publicly announced but once you begin asking they could start to surface. Local scholarships tend to be less competitive as well…and remember that every little bit helps – a few awards of $100 will add up quickly!
• Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship
• Boren Awards for International Study
• Foundation for Global Scholars (includes STA Travel Scholar Award)
• Fund for Education Abroad
• Global Studies Grant for Student Travel and Study Abroad
• National Humanities Center Fellowships
• The Rotary Foundation - Ambassadorial Scholarships
• Garden Club of America Scholarships
Regional or Country-Specific
• Brazil Initiation Scholarship (Brazil)
• Bridging Scholarships (Japan)
• BUTEX (UK)
• DAAD (Germany)
• Freemen Awards for Study in Asia (Asia)
• Killam Fellowships Program (Canada)
• National Italian American Foundation
• Diversity Abroad
• Hispanic Scholarship Fund
• Point Foundation - The National LGBT Scholarship Fund
• Pride Foundation
Scholarship Search Databases
• UofM Study Abroad Scholarship Database
• IIEPassport Study Abroad Funding
• International Scholarships
• James J. Davis Memorial Scholarship for Students Studying Abroad
• NAFSA: Association for International Educators
Hints for Finding Funding (courtesy of the University of Minnesota website)
Search for a Scholarship
Start Searching Early
The earlier you start researching, the better your chances of getting really significant funding. For best results, start researching possible scholarships one to two years prior to when you plan to go abroad. Most scholarship deadlines are well before your program deadline, often a year or more prior to the actual award year.
Look for All Sorts of Scholarships
Remember that you may be able to apply general scholarships toward international experiences, so extend your search beyond study abroad scholarships. Also check with the program sponsor about scholarships designated specifically for their program participants.
Program Selection Affects Your Scholarship Options
More scholarships are available to students going to non-traditional sites, i.e. outside of Europe and Australia. By going off the beaten path, you may be able to find less expensive opportunities with more scholarship money available. In addition, many scholarships or program fee reductions are available for students who choose to stay for a year versus a semester.
Tips for Writing Scholarship Essays
If a scholarship application requires an essay, answer all questions completely and thoughtfully. Proofread your essay carefully—review spelling, grammar, and structure as well as content—then revise your essay. If the scholarship application allows, ask someone to read your essay and give feedback. You are strongly encouraged to obtain feedback on your essay for scholarships awarded through the Learning Abroad Center; use campus resources, such as one of the writing centers or a tutor, to assist you. Save a copy of your essay to use as a
template for future essays. Chances are, other scholarships will require a similar essay, and you would only need to make minor revisions to your existing one.
Creative Suggestions for Raising and Saving Money
Be creative and diligent in finding ways to fund your experience abroad. Community organizations or your neighbors may be willing to help fund you. When asking for contributions, explain how you intend to use the money or donated items. Let them know what this experience will mean to you, and share something about yourself. In return for financial assistance, offer to contribute your services or knowledge once you return. This can include sharing your photos or stories, making a presentation, cooking a meal, promoting an educational or business exchange, or writing a newsletter article for a high school, church, or library program. You may also offer to update your donors with a monthly email newsletter while you are abroad.
More Suggestions for Funding & Saving
- Find work or pick up extra hours during breaks to save up. Plan early and spend carefully now so you have enough time to save.
- Check local libraries, high schools, alumni associations, religious organizations, chambers of commerce, city halls, Lions Clubs, travel agents, media (TV, newspapers, radio stations), country clubs (some will offer scholarships to students who worked there as caddies!), etc. for scholarships, or ask them to sponsor a pancake breakfast or raffle on your behalf.
- Contact local heritage organizations for funding, especially if you are a member of that community or if you are planning on studying abroad in a country relevant to the organization's members. Examples include the Swedish-American Society and the Japan American Society.
- Seek professional organizations in the area in which you plan to work, or are working, and inquire about grants or scholarships.
- Ask credit unions, banks, or major corporations for donations or scholarships.
- Have your parents ask their employers about scholarships for children of employees.
- Ask a relative for a low- or no-interest loan.
- Forego birthday and holiday gifts in exchange for financial assistance (gifts or loans).
- Ask your friends and neighbors to help contribute money or used items, such as a backpack or travel gear. Also ask local stores to contribute supplies.
- Sell your non-essential items at a garage sale.
- If you have a talent, do artwork, bake cookies, or build crafts or similar items and sell them.
- Ask your fraternity or sorority to sponsor you.
- Organize a car wash in your neighborhood.
- Arrange for someone to sublet your apartment while you are gone. You will not be able to receive financial aid to maintain an apartment, car payments, or other expenses at home while you are away.
- Offer to let a relative or friend use your car while you are gone in exchange for helping you make your car payments. Or, if your car is paid off, ask for a small amount of money.
- Shop around early for your international airline tickets. The internet does not always give the best prices. Try the newspaper, local travel agents, or look into group flight options offered by the program provider. Ask for a student discount whenever possible.
- Look into alternative student loans if you do not qualify for need-based financial aid.