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Financing Study Abroad & Scholarships

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You Can't Afford NOT to Go!
How to Finance Your Study Abroad Experience

Studying abroad is an investment in your future. As with any other investment, it entails careful planning and research. This information was developed to assist you with the financial considerations associated with your study abroad program. Make your study abroad program work toward your long-term goals and it will be worth the investment!

 When researching funding options, it’s important to remember to:

  1. Start Early
  2. Ask for Help
  3. Seek Multiple Resources

Planning Ahead
Calculate Current Costs

Calculate all of your current on-campus or off- campus costs. To determine your annual budget, add up your rent, meals, tuition and fees, travel expenses (don't forget the trips you make during breaks!), entertainment, books, supplies, etc. The Student Accounts Office has determined that the average in-state SUNY Cortland student spends approximately $19,117 per year on tuition and fees, room and board, and an additional $3,517 on transportation, books, and personal expenses. Use this as a baseline for comparison of costs abroad, but keep in mind the cost of living at the study abroad location could be more or less than what you’re presently spending. Do not make plans with the idea that you will find work while abroad.

Check Program Information

Check the program website for program expenses. Items included in the program fee are listed on each program’s information sheet. They generally include the following:

Billed Expenses

Program Fee

This is the cost of instruction overseas and any inclusions. Each budget itemizes exactly what is included in the program fee. Some program fees may include housing, linens, meals, and/or excursions depending on the program. HTH Study Abroad Illness and Accident Health Insurance and Med-Ex Emergency Evacuation and Repatriation Insurance is included in your program fee.

SUNY Tuition and Fees

All SUNY Cortland study abroad programs grant academic credit, therefore you will be billed for applicable tuition and any related fees (college, technology, and transcript). 

Non-billed Expenses

These are realistic estimated costs associated with the program. They generally include expenditures that are not included in the program fee such as flight, spending money, meals, entertainment, and/or travel while abroad. Although these are not billed, students should plan to have these funds available.

If program costs are unclear, please contact the Office of International Programs for assistance.

Determine Your Needs

Determine your needs and interests. Compare the features and costs of various programs to find the best match. Various factors that influence the total cost of participating in a study abroad program include:

  • Location
  • Number of credits
  • Cost of living abroad
  • Timing (high tourist season vs. low tourist season)
  • Length of program
  • Transportation costs; overseas flight and local transportation
  • Type of program

Once you know the costs, set a budget and stick to it. If you are getting outside support, itemize your list and determine what you can pay for and where you will need help. 

Prioritize

Set priorities. Try to put aside $$ from your paycheck and deposit funds into a separate study abroad account (pay yourself for studying abroad first). Choose to work longer hours or get a part-time job for additional funds towards study abroad. Postpone the purchase of that big ticket item you were considering and use funds for your study abroad program instead.

Financial Aid

If you currently receive financial aid, you should make an appointment to meet with your financial aid advisor and bring a copy of the study abroad program cost budget with you. You must have an up-to-date FAFSA on file for the period you wish to study abroad. To access aid for summer programs you will need to submit a Summer Aid Application to the Financial Aid Office.

If you do not qualify for financial aid or wish to increase your aid, a listing of alternative loans and additional funding is available from the Financial Aid Office Private Loans/Additional Funding web page.

For more information on how to use financial aid to help fund study abroad, please visit the Financial Aid Office's Study Abroad Page.

It’s important to discuss with a financial aid adviser how your use of financial aid funds for studying abroad may (or may not) affect your financial aid needed to pay for subsequent semesters!  You don’t want to come home from studying abroad and find out you don’t have enough aid available to pay for the next semester.

Scholarships

Scholarships Available to Cortland Students

SUNY Cortland awards thousands of dollars in Study Abroad Scholarships each year. These scholarship opportunities are available to SUNY Cortland students only. Scholarships are based on academic performance or academic performance and financial need. Scholarship opportunities and applications are available on the SUNY Cortland International Programs Scholarship web page.

Exchange Awards can be another opportunity for an affordable experience abroad. SUNY Cortland has partner agreements with several universities abroad. When these universities send students to study at SUNY Cortland for a semester, we are able to send a Cortland student to the partner university for a semester without incurring the overseas tuition. Depending on the partner university, this can result in significant savings for a Cortland student. Exchange awards vary from semester to semester. Please consult with a study abroad advisor to see if an exchange award is available for a particular program.

Be sure to submit all necessary scholarship application documents by published deadlines! Late scholarship and exchange award applications will not be considered.

SUNY Cortland Study Abroad Scholarship Deadlines

  • Summer: March 15
  • Fall: April 15
  • Winter: October 15
  • Spring: October 15 
     

Other Scholarship Opportunities for SUNY Cortland Students: SUNY Cortland Continuing/Graduate Scholarships
Although not specifically targeted toward study abroad, these scholarships are available to all SUNY Cortland continuing and/or graduate students and can help off-set additional costs associated with a study abroad program. Students are encouraged to apply to any/all scholarships for which they meet the criteria set forth. Students that already receive non-study abroad Cortland scholarships will still be eligible to apply for study abroad scholarships. A study abroad scholarship award will not impact other non-study abroad scholarships. Note: Deadlines for these scholarships may differ from study abroad scholarship deadlines above.

Scholarships Available to Non-Cortland and Cortland Students

Ideas for Creative Fundraising

Fundraising will help to make your trip more affordable. If you select a program that helps achieve your long-term goals, it will be easier to solicit funds from external sources. Keep in mind that local, regional and national groups, as well as individuals, are all possible contributors. They include: 

  • Family members
  • Heritage groups that have interests in specific countries (e.g. Japan-America Society)
  • Civic groups (Rotary, Kiwanis, and Lions Clubs)
  • Agencies and foundations
  • Travel agencies
  • High school alumni associations
  • Professional and business clubs
  • Media (newspapers, radio and TV)
  • Sororities and fraternities (local and national chapters)
  • Vocational rehabilitation agencies (for students with disabilities)
  • Charitable, ethnic, religious and campus organizations

Direct, informal appeals often work best. Be specific on how you intend to spend the funds (airfare, program fee, tuition, personal travel, special projects, etc.). Include a photo of yourself with your request so that the receiver will establish a personal connection with you. 

Make donating as easy as possible (cash or check) or set up a personal fundraising website like GoFundMe www.gofundme.com or Indigogo www.indiegogo.com You will be more likely to get an actual donation rather than a promise to donate, and don’t be afraid to follow up if you haven’t received a response. Enthusiasm, creativity, and perseverance on your part - and not fearing rejection in some instances - will likely take you a long way. Remember every little bit helps! 

In exchange for your financial support, you should pledge to "give something back," such as regular updates while you are abroad. 

Fundraising ideas that have worked

  • Waive holiday and birthday gifts and request financial gifts or loans instead.
  • Set up a personal fundraising website like GoFundMe www.gofundme.com or Indigogo www.indiegogo.com  
  • Write a creative letter to all your relatives, asking for financial support in exchange for monthly letters while abroad and a presentation and dinner upon return.
  • Ask friends to join you in raising money by painting, cleaning or washing cars.
  • Organize an event (Let your imagination go wild! There are hundreds of great ideas available by a quick internet search).
  • Find out if your parents' employers have a scholarship program for their children or find out if your employer will sponsor you or might be willing to make a cash advance to be paid back through payroll deduction. No harm in asking!
  • Combine fundraising opportunities: sell T-shirts at a fundraising dance marathon.
  • Organize a can drive and/or collect cans during events (be sure to identify yourself and your purpose).
  • Ask family members to donate frequent flyer miles.
  • Save all your spare change in a jar – small amounts can really add up!
  • SAVE, SAVE, SAVE!

Keys to Successful Fundraising

Confidence and perseverance! Keep careful records of who supported you and the amount. Be sure to express your appreciation for their support. Your energy and enthusiasm for an international experience will be contagious! Good luck!