Financial Aid: Funding Your Trip Abroad

The prospect of studying abroad, exploring new cultures, and gaining new insights into the world is very exciting. The reality of paying for this invaluable experience, however, can seem quite daunting. Fortunately, numerous resources are available to help offset the cost of study abroad, including private, federal, university and American Councils scholarships.

American Councils Funding

To apply for any American Councils scholarships/fellowships, simply indicate your desire to be considered for financial aid in the appropriate section of the program application and complete all the questions and forms that follow.

AC Study Abroad Need-Based Scholarship
All applicants to American Councils summer, semester, or academic-year overseas programs are eligible for partial fellowship awards from this fund. Awards are made on the basis of financial need and academic merit and typically range from $500 to $2500.

AC Study Abroad Diversity Scholarship
The AC Study Abroad Diversity Scholarship is available to students who have traditionally been under-represented in study abroad and educational exchange programs. This includes, but is not limited to, individuals who identify with certain racial, sexual, ethnic, religious, gender, disability, age, origin, ancestry or veteran statuses. The scholarship is also available to first generation college students, students from low income families, and students with a history of overcoming adversity. Awards typically range from $500 to $2500.

Fulbright-Hays Fellowships
Provided by the U.S. Department of Education and administered by American Councils, Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad fellowships are available to advanced-level Russian and Persian language speakers who plan to participate in the American Councils Advanced Russian Language and Area Studies Program (RLASP-Moscow), and the Eurasian Regional Language Program (ERLP-Dushanbe). Eligible participants must have a strong commitment to teaching one of these critical languages in universities or in K-12 schools, or to applying their language skills in government, international development, or other professional fields. Participants must also be U.S. citizens or permanent residents, who are undergraduate students with upperclassmen standing (juniors or seniors), graduate students, or U.S. K-12 teachers in order to be eligible for Fulbright-Hays funding. At the conclusion of the semester abroad, participants who received Fulbright-Hays funding are expected to conduct outreach activities in the U.S. to promote Russian/Persian study to the larger community. Fulbright-Hays fellowships are awarded on the basis of financial need and academic merit; fellowship awards are available for semester programs only and are made in the amount of $7,000.

Title VIII Fellowships
Provided by the U.S. Department of State and administered by American Councils, Title VIII fellowships are available to participants who hold a Bachelor's degree or higher and plan to participate in the American Councils Advanced Russian Language and Area Studies Program (RLASP), the Eurasia Regional Language Program (ERLP), or the Balkan Language Initiative.

Title VIII fellowships are awarded on the basis of financial need and academic merit; past awards have been made for as much as 75% of the program cost.

Federal Sources of Funding for Study Abroad

Boren Awards for International Study
are available to both undergraduates and graduate students. Undergraduate students may receive funding to abroad in world regions critical to U.S. interests. Graduate students are eligible for awards to add an important international and language component to their graduate education. See the Boren Awards website for more details or contact your study abroad office.

The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship
The Gilman Scholarship Program offers awards for undergraduate study abroad. This scholarship provides awards for U.S. undergraduate students who are receiving Federal Pell Grant funding at a two-year or four-year college or university to participate in study and intern abroad programs worldwide. See the Gilman website for more details or contact your study abroad office.

The Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships
This program provides allocations of academic year and summer fellowships to institutions of higher education or consortia of institutions of higher education to assist meritorious undergraduate students and graduate students undergoing training in modern foreign languages and related area or international studies. Eligible students apply for fellowships directly to an institution that has received an allocation of fellowships from the U.S. Department of Education. See the FLAS website for more details or contact your study abroad office.

University Funding

Study Abroad Scholarships
Many colleges and universities, via their Study Abroad / International Education offices, provide scholarships to students for the sole purpose of studying abroad. Check with your study abroad office to find out if such scholarships are offered at your home university.

Financial Aid Packages
Are you receiving financial aid to attend your home institution? Many financial aid packages can be used to study on American Councils programs. Check with your study abroad office for more details.

Other Sources

Fund for Education Abroad (FEA)
FEA conducts scholarship and grant competitions for U.S. citizens or permanent residents enrolled in U.S. undergraduate programs. Preference is given to those seeking the study of a host country language and/or sustainable service-learning or volunteering component in non-traditional destinations. Preference is also given to applicants with demonstrated financial need and those who represent a group that is traditionally underrepresented in education abroad, such as minorities, first-generation college students, STEM majors, community college students, and students with disabilities.

Study Abroad Scholarship Repositories
Many study abroad hub sites have detailed listing for a variety of scholarship sources. Sites like and offer comprehensive study abroad scholarship listings.

Among the newer methods of funding study abroad, crowdsourcing is a popular way to create a campaign to raise money for your program abroad. Crowdsourcing campaigns often appeal to parents, family, and friends who want to support an international education experience. Sites like and many others offer the tools to start a great campaign.

The academic program was intense, informative, serious, fast-paced and relevant. Each teacher was excellent ad gave a different perspective on Russia.


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