Financing your Study Abroad
Different program fees and payment methods apply for various programs at UNC. In general, four payment plans exist:
- UNC Exchange Program, you will pay normal tuition and fees to UNC while paying for room and board upon arrival to the host institution.
- ISEP Exchange Program, you will pay all tuition, fees, and room and board charges to UNC.
- ISEP Direct Program, you will receive an invoice from the UNC study abroad coordinator and then pay fees directly to ISEP. Some programs include tuition and room and board, thus they will be included on the invoice and paid directly to ISEP. Other ISEP programs only include tuition and room (to be paid to ISEP), and meal expenses will be paid in country. You should know what the program includes at time of application.
- Affiliated Study Abroad Program, you will pay all charges to the program provider. Most program providers require all charges be paid in advance, but payment plans can be established to work around financial aid issues.
Are there scholarships available for study abroad?
Though UNC does not have many scholarships available for study abroad, there are A LOT of scholarships available through foundations, non-profits, governments, private donors, and UNC affiliated program providers. We strongly encourage you to apply to one or many of them. FOR A LIST OF SCHOLARSHIPS, CLICK HERE. Of course, this is not a comprehensive of all the opportunities available.
For a list of diversity abroad scholarships targeted for specific populations, please see our Diversity & Study Abroad webpage.
Some departments, like the MCB, have scholarships available for study abroad. Talk with your departments to see if there is any support for studying abroad. You might be surprised.
If you are studying abroad through a UNC affiliated program, we recommend looking through their scholarship opportunites and applying to those. Every year UNC students receive funding from our affiliated programs.
In fact, just as a UNC student, you will receive the following discount (no application required, but will need UNC code) from the following programs:
CEA: $250 off a semester programs
$100 off summer programs
GLOBALINKS: $500 off semester and year programs (excluding EuroScholars)
$100 discount on summer or internship programs
AIFS: $400 off semester programs
$200 off summer programs
Can I use financial aid to study abroad?
UNC students with financial aid will be able to utilize their award package for their study abroad program. YOU MUST BE ENROLLED FULL-TIME (minimum of 12 UNC credit hours) to be eligible for financial aid while abroad. All students who have completed and submitted their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to the Office of Financial Aid by the appropriate deadlines will be considered for financial assistance each year. Students CANNOT use federal work-study awards to pay for their study abroad experience.
The Financial Aid Office will determine the amount of financial aid for which you are eligible. Most financial aid you are eligible for may be used to finance your study abroad experience. Additional aid may be granted to you in the likelihood the program you are attending is more expensive than educational expenses at UNC. To receive financial aid you must complete a financial aid Study Abroad Student Budget Form. You will work with CIE to estimate your budget and will need to have the form signed by your Study Abroad Advisor before taking it to the Office of Financial Aid.
A financial aid officer will help you determine the amount of your aid package. To receive financial aid, students must adhere to all deadlines, policies, and procedures of the Financial Aid Office. Scholarships awarded outside of UNC may be used upon approval of the scholarship donor. Contact individual scholarship donors for verification of this. For scholarships supported by the UNC foundation, pre-approval from financial aid must be granted. Do not count on scholarships as a funding source until you have written approval from the donor.
How do I receive financial aid while abroad?
For your financial aid to be dispersed you must complete an Enrollment Verification Form. In most cases, this form can only be completed once you have arrived at your intended study site and have enrolled in courses. The form requires you to list the course names and number of credits for each course. LIST THE COURSE CREDITS IN THE CREDIT SYSTEM OF YOUR HOST INSTITUTION. If you are studying for an entire academic year, please complete an enrollment verification form for each semester you are abroad. The onsite international coordinator will need to sign this form before you email it to your Study Abroad Advisor at CIE.
If you are on financial aid, this form must be received by your advisor or your financial aid will not be released.
Once full-time has been verified by the Study Abroad and Exchange Coordinator, both the Registrar's Office and the Office of Financial Aid will be notified. Your aid will be disbursed to the bank account on file with UNC. YOU MUST BE ENROLLED FULL TIME (minimum of 12 UNC credit hours) TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR FINANCIAL AID. If you are unsure of the credit system at your school, please send an email to Lauren Bruce, check your schools international student webpage, or ask your coordinator at your host school.
ECTS credits, the credit system used in most of Europe, is double that of the US credit system. Therefore, if a course at your school is worth 6 ECTS credits, it will only transfer as 3 UNC credits.
Since your financial aid will not be dispersed before you enroll in courses, you will need to bring enough money to get by until courses begin
NOTE: Please review and be sure you understand UNC's policy on enrollment status necessary to receive financial aid. Additionally, an “F”, “W”, or “U” grade requires the submission of a last date of a student’s “academic-related activity”. “UW” grades are only submitted when the student never attended the class. As outlined by the U.S. Department of Education (34 CFR 668.22), the submission of the ‘Last Date of Attendance’ is necessary to ensure that any student receiving a failing grade actually attended the class and, therefore, is eligible for any federal financial aid they may have received.
What do program fees include?
Fees for UNC affiliated programs may cover the costs of housing, tuition, meals, books, local transportation, excursions and orientation, depending upon the site. Fees for ISEP direct enrollment programs and UNC Exchange Programs tend to cover administrative fees, pre-departure mailings,and orientation.
Costs generally not covered in the program fees include international airfare, transportation within the country, health insurance, and visa fees where applicable. Miscellaneous costs and personal expenses are the responsibility of each participant.
Do I have to pay the Study Abroad/Exchange Administration fee?
Yes. All students who study abroad pay a $300 administrative fee that directly supports the study abroad operation within the Center for International Education at UNC. In addition to funding personnel, publications, programs, and supplies, the revenue from this charge supports the following services:
- Individual and group advising on opportunities and procedures for study abroad
- Pre-departure and Re-Entry Orientations
- Assistance with UNC procedures for transfer of credit and financial aid
- Communication with host institutions, program sponsors, and serve as liaison to other UNC offices
- Assistance with registration for students going abroad
- Other study abroad programming: Marketing You International Experience to Potential Employers, Financing Study Abroad 101, What's Next: Staying International, etc.
The administrative service charge is $300 per semester for all semester programs. The charge for faculty-led programs, non-credit bearing internships, and international student teaching is $150. The Study Abroad/Exchange Administrative charge is billed to the student's UNC account for each term he or she is abroad.
UNC financial aid and many scholarships may be used to help pay for the costs of overseas study programs. In addition, many scholarship programs are available to qualifying students on a competitive basis through outside organizations.
What do I do if I want to withdraw from my study abroad program?
In the event that a student elects to withdraw from his/her study abroad program, he/she must notify the study abroad office immediately in writing. The request to withdraw from their study abroad program will be effective on the date that written notification is received by CIE. However, the student will be responsible for any expenses incurred on his/her behalf prior to the date of withdrawal from the program; these expenses are non-refundable. Tution reimbursements follow the Registrar's calendar. Please note that most affiliated programs will not offer a refund after the start of coures.
Why am I on "financial aid suspension"?
Immediately following your study abroad experience, you will receive a letter indicating you have been put on financial aid suspension. This occurs due to differences in transcript processing. Transcripts from abroad are sent to UNC after on-campus grades have been processed. Once this occurs, the computer system issues financial aid suspension letters to students who have not made adequate progress toward their degrees. The system does not recognize study abroad students when issuing these letters. Once transcripts have been received from abroad, you grades will be entered and you will be removed from financial aid suspension. Once removed from aid suspension, your financial aid will be dispersed as normal. If the financial aid suspension persists, or this provides a hardship for you, contact the Study Abroad office at 351-2396 or Lauren.Bruce@unco.edu. Students who do not receive their transcripts due to unpaid costs or fees associated with their program will not have the suspension lifted, furthermore, credits will not be approved or transferred until resolved and an official transcript is received.