Take Down the Financial Barrier to Studying Abroad
Education Leadership

Take Down the Financial Barrier to Studying Abroad

financial barrier
(Image: iStock/designer491)

Last week I attended part of an awesome conference for diverse college students, Discover EY, which I wrote about here.

One of the conference speakers urged the nearly 180 student attendees to develop not only skill sets but mind-sets—and one he emphasized is the global mindset.

One way to begin cultivating a global mindset is by studying abroad—which I’ve written about several times before.

Unfortunately, for many students of color, finances are a barrier. A guide from Diversity Abroad, an organization that connects diverse college students with international educational and career opportunities, explains how to take down the financial barrier.

Here’s an excerpt:

Going abroad can be expensive, but that shouldn’t stop you from pursuing opportunities overseas. There are many ways for you to make study abroad affordable, including scholarships, financial aid, and of course saving up. If you are concerned with how to finance a study abroad experience, this guide will help you understand the many ways you can afford to study abroad.


Start with Your Financial Aid Package

Did you know that you may be able to apply your financial aid funds toward a study abroad program? This varies by institution, but because financial aid is provided for you as a student, it is possible to apply some, if not all, of those funds toward your study abroad experience. It’s important to meet with your financial aid office to understand how much money can be used to go abroad. Knowing this will determine how much you are expected to pay out of pocket.


In general, financial aid is based on need, merit, or sometimes both. Other requirements include your citizenship and enrollment in a certain number of credits. Talk with your study abroad or financial aid adviser to discuss what kinds of aid are available to you. Be sure to ask:


  1. How and when should I apply for financial aid for study abroad?
  2. What kinds of aid are transferable to education abroad (federal, state, institutional)?
  3. How do the costs compare to studying at my home campus?
  4. Is aid available for intersession or summer session programs?

It is important to confirm whether any existing financial aid is transferable, which is usually the case if you go on a program offered directly through your institution. If funding is a major concern for you, choosing a program at your school may be the most cost-effective option.


If you are participating in another school’s program, or are directly enrolling with a foreign university, your school will need to have a written agreement with the other institution in order for your federal aid to transfer.

Read more at Diversity Abroad.