Scholarships and Funding
Study abroad students often use a combination of financial aid and scholarships. Exploring all of the resources available to you will be very helpful as you plan your finances for study abroad.
Valparaiso University financial aid and scholarships apply to affiliated programs abroad, with the exception of some music/athletic performance scholarships, so your payment plan remains the same. It is important to consult with your financial aid advisor before applying to study abroad so that you know what the cost will be and that you will be covered.
It is important to pay attention to disbursement dates for financial aid. Financial aid generally disburses shortly before the Valpo semester. Most scholarships will go through the Financial Aid Office and will be disbursed during the normal time. Therefore, it is very important that students prepare and have plans in place for any expenses that may come up prior to that disbursement, such as airfare, visa, or passport. Study Abroad staff can offer some support in brainstorming potential alternatives and methods. (As an example, STA Travel offers a deposit program for booking airfare where the traveler pays a deposit up front and the rest of the fare seven days prior to travel, which usually allows for students to receive and pay the rest with financial aid funds).
Endowed scholarships are set up through the generosity of donors with the goal of assisting our students. In the case of these specific scholarships, they are given to provide assistance to students planning to study abroad. Students are able to apply online through the universal endowed scholarships application and will be considered for any awards they are eligible for.
It is absolutely possible for students to receive national scholarships, regardless of how competitive they are. Many Valpo students have received these awards in the past. While an award is never guaranteed, spending time working on putting together a strong application will make you a more competitive applicant. It is strongly recommended that you work with someone on your application, and some of them may require the university to sponsor you. Start early, and get feedback as often as you can. Your study abroad program advisor would be happy to help, or you may know a faculty member or academic advisor, or another contact on campus who could review your essay, help you brainstorm, or generally guide you as you’re working on these. Review those listed below, and continue your independent search for others that may apply to you as well.
This national scholarship program awards Pell Grant recipients up to $3,000 per summer, $4,000 per semester, or up to $5,000 per year to study or intern abroad. For students studying a Critical Need Language (Arabic, Chinese, Bahasa Indonesia, Japanese, Turkic, Persian, Indic, Korean, Russian, or Swahili), additional funding is available. It is also important to work with Study Abroad staff when applying, as they will need to certify your application. Please visit the Gilman website for more information on the scholarship.
- Jewan Attallah, Spring 2017, IESabroad in Nantes, France Affiliate Program, History Major
- Erin Brown, Spring 2017, Costa Rica Study Center Program, Spanish Major
- Maia Moore, Fall 2016, Hangzou, China Study Center Program, Chinese and Japanese Studies Major
- Jared Joseph, Fall 2014, Kansai Gaidai University in Japan Exchange Program, Psychology Major
- Michele Helen Reyes, Summer 2014
- Alex Grask, Spring 2014, La Rochelle, France Exchange Program, International Business Major
- Carly Tolle, Spring 2014, Anglia Ruskin University Exchange Program in England, Biology Major
- Daniella Tripodis, Spring 2014, Cambridge, England Study Center Program, Art Major
- Jon Bicanic, Spring 2014, Cambridge, England Study Center Program, Mechanical Engineering Major
- Tyler Clark, Spring 2014, Zaragoza, Spain Exchange Program, Spanish Major
- Michael Schrag, Year 2014/15, Zaragoza, Spain Exchange Program, Electrical & Computer Engineering Major
- Loren Schmidt, Fall 2013, Hangzhou, China Study Center Program, International Economics & Cultural Affairs & Chinese & Japanese Studies Double Major
- Sterling Summerville, Spring 2013, Windhoek, Namibia Cooperative Program, International Service Major
- Amelia Vivens, Spring 2011, Windhoek, Namibia Cooperative Program, Political Science & Theatre Double Major
- Jasmine Glab, Spring 2011, Japan Exchange Program, Psychology Major
- Claire Simonpietri, Spring 2011, Windhoek, Namibia Cooperative Program, Nursing Major
- Austin Hook, Fall 2009, Reutlingen, Germany Study Center Program, Finance & International Business Double Major
- Kari Rogers, Spring 2009, Puebla, Mexico Exchange Program, Spanish Major
Boren Scholarships provide up to $20,000 to U.S. undergraduate students studying abroad in areas of the world that are critical to U.S. interests and underrepresented in study abroad, including Africa, Asia, Central & Eastern Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East. Western Europe, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand are not included. Broadly defined, Boren applicants must identify how their study abroad program, as well as their future academic and career goals, will contribute to U.S. national security. NSEP uses a broad definition of national security because the scope of national security has expanded to include not only the traditional concerns of protecting and promoting American well-being but also the challenges of global society. Such challenges include sustainable development, environmental degradation, global disease and hunger, population growth and migration, and economic competitiveness. Students selected to receive a Boren Scholarship must commit to working for the U.S. government for at least a year following the completion of their education. This is a very competitive scholarship. Serious applicants should begin the process early. Please visit the NSEP Boren Awards website for more information and work with your study abroad advisor if you have any questions.
The U. S. Department of State is pleased to announce the scholarship competition for the Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program in 13 critical-need foreign languages. The CLS Program provides fully funded, group-based intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment experiences for seven to 10 weeks for undergraduate and graduate students. Languages offered: Arabic, Azerbaijani, Bangla, Chinese, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Punjabi, Russian, Turkish, and Urdu. U.S. citizenship is required. Students from all academic disciplines, including business, engineering, law, medicine, sciences, and humanities are encouraged to apply. While there is no service requirement attached to the CLS awards, participants are expected to continue their language study beyond the scholarship period and later apply their skills in their professional careers. Please find the application along with more information on the CLS Scholarship website.
Freeman Awards for Study in Asia provides scholarships for U.S. undergraduate students with demonstrated financial need to study abroad in East or Southeast Asia. Visit their website to learn more about the awards and the application process. Be sure to consult with a Study Abroad advisor, as they will need to certify your application.
Diversity Abroad was founded to ensure all students are aware of and have equal access to study and travel opportunities abroad. The mission of Diversity Abroad is to increase minority students’ participation in study and travel abroad programs. Visit their website to search through their database of possible opportunities.
The Associated Teachers of Japanese Bridging Project offers scholarships to U.S. undergraduate students participating in study abroad programs in Japan. Undergraduate students majoring in any field of study are eligible to apply for these scholarships. Japanese language study is not a prerequisite. Applicants must be U.S. citizens and must be enrolled as undergraduates in a college or university in the United States before and during the time they are studying abroad. Visit the Bridging Scholarships for Study in Japan website for more information.
The mission of the Fund for Education Abroad (FEA) is to provide scholarships and ongoing support to students who are underrepresented among the US study abroad population. FEA makes life-changing, international experiences accessible to all by supporting minority, community college, and first-generation college students before, during, and after they participate in education abroad programs.
The application is entirely online and includes an online application form, a financial aid form (completed by the Financial Aid Office), an unofficial transcript, and a recommendation letter.
- U.S. citizen or permanent resident
- Currently enrolled as an undergraduate at a college or university in the U.S.
- Study abroad program must be eligible for credit at the student’s home institution
- Study abroad program must be at least 4 weeks (28 days) in country/countries
For more information and to apply, visit the Fund for Education Abroad website.
Since 2014, Volunteer Forever has been offering a $500 – $1,000 travel scholarship to help participants defray the cost of volunteering, studying, interning, teaching, or working abroad. They run two scholarship campaigns per year and is simple to complete – just requires basic biographical information and a short essay. To learn more and to apply, visit the Volunteer Abroad website.
The Fulbright Program is administered by The Institute of International Education (IIE) and sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. It offers fellowships to U.S. students for study, research, and/or teaching assistantships abroad. Please see the Fulbright website for more information.
For 2018-2019, we had eight graduating seniors and recent alumnae receive Fulbright Program awards. Read more here.
Additional Scholarship Resources
Fastweb is a website dedicated to keeping students informed about domestic and international scholarship, grant, and internship opportunities. They maintain a searchable database of numerous opportunities that you could apply for. Visit fastweb.com to get started.
This comprehensive online database of study abroad scholarships, fellowships, and grants allows students to search by country or subject to find study abroad funding opportunities that they are eligible to apply for. Please visit the database at studyabroadfunding.org.
ScholarshipPortal is an integrated, centralized European platform providing information on all scholarships offered for studying in Europe. The database already contains more than 700 scholarship programs. Students can now find and compare relevant programs based on their nationality, background, where and what they want to study, and many other kinds of search criteria. ScholarshipPortal has been developed by StudyPortals and the Academic Cooperation Association (ACA). It is funded by the European Commission Lifelong Learning Programme. Please visit scholarshipportal.com for more information.
MORE FUNDING IDEAS
Check with campus departments, organizations, and areas on campus that you are involved in. While the list above details many scholarship and grant opportunities, these are generally specific to students who are studying abroad. There may be additional scholarships either through a department, center, or office on campus that you could use to support your Study Abroad. Below are some ideas to get you started:
- Global Education staff – they may know of newer opportunities that are not yet listed above or give you more individual guidance and ideas.
- Language departments – even if you don’t normally study language on campus, you may likely be learning, or at least be exposed to, another language while you are abroad.
- Department through which you are earning credit for your courses abroad
- Centers and other offices you may be involved with or aware of on campus
- Student organizations
While these resources may not lead to specific opportunities, they may at least be able to point you toward additional resources where you can continue your search.
Fundraising can be another great way to help fund your study abroad experience. Local, regional, and national groups, as well as individuals, could all be contributors. Here are just a few ideas:
- Church or other religious organizations
- Heritage groups that have interests in specific countries, language, and/or culture
- Civic groups (Rotary, Lions Clubs, and more)
- Agencies or foundations
- High school and/or college alumni associations
- Professional and business clubs
- Sororities and fraternities
- Charitable, ethnic, religious, or political organizations
- Previous or current employers or parents’ employers
- Local businesses with an international focus
- Family and friends (i.e. in lieu of a birthday gift)
How do you solicit funds from these groups? Talking to them in person is often the best approach. Prepare what you will say. It’s important to tell them how you intend to use their funds (i.e.: on your program fees, airfare, etc.). If you can’t talk to them in person, send a written request and include a photo of yourself to establish a personal connection. It may also help to offer to do something in return for their financial support. You could offer to share updates while you are abroad and/or offer something upon your return. Ideas include:
- Writing an article
- Making and/or showing a video
- Sharing a blog or website
- Offering to do a presentation
- Volunteering to work or do some type of service for them
- Asking them what they would be interested in
While they may say no, they can’t say yes if you don’t ask! If you do receive support, be sure to keep records so that you can be sure to thank them. Handwritten thank-you cards are a great way to show your appreciation.
Research ways other students have funded their programs. You can do this online or reach out to returned Valpo Study Abroad participants. Often, those students are very eager and willing to share, not only about their experience and what they learned, but how they made their experience possible. Your Study Abroad Advisor is always a great resource as well, as they may know what past students have done or may be able to connect you with individuals.
Remember, it is possible to fund your program! Don’t get discouraged and keep coming into the office regularly as you run into problems, if you want advice, or to find someone to help you come up with more ideas.