Study Abroad

Financial aid is available to assist in financing the cost of approved study abroad programs. You may receive assistance for GVSU and non-GVSU spring/summer programs, semester as well as academic-year programs. There are more than 3,900 study abroad programs available to you.

Studying abroad is an investment in your future. Like any other type of investment, it requires planning, careful management, creativity, perseverance, and commitment. The personal, academic, and professional rewards will last a lifetime.

Planning Ahead for your Study Abroad

Calculate Current Costs: Calculate all of your current on-campus costs. To determine your annual budget, add up your rent, meals, tuition and fees, travel expenses, entertainment, books, supplies, etc. The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships has determined that the average in-state Grand Valley student spends approximately $22,124 per year on tuition and fees, housing & dining, transportation, books, and personal expenses. Use this as a baseline for comparison of costs abroad. Don't plan with the idea that you will find work while abroad.

Check Program Information: Check the program information sheet and Barbara H. Padnos International Center (PIC) website for program expenses. Items included in the program fee are listed in each program's information sheet as well as on PIC's website. If you are participating in a non-GVSU program, you will need to contact your study abroad provider for a breakdown of your expenses. It will be helpful to plan for these primary costs:

  • $100 Padnos International Center application deposit plus $5 processing fee*
  • GVSU Tuition (if applicable)
  • Program fee
  • Airfare
  • Housing
  • Meals (if not included in the program fee)
  • Passport and/or visa
  • Immunizations
  • Essential spending money

If program costs are unclear, contact the Padnos International Center for a breakdown of expenses.

*Nonrefundable if you choose to withdraw.

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 taken
  • Local cost of living
  • Timing and length of program
  • International and on-site transportation
  • The type of program

Prioritize: Set priorities. Choose to work longer hours or get a part-time job for additional funds towards study abroad. Consider postponing the purchase of that "perfect" car and use the funds for your program.

Receiving Financial Aid

Financial assistance is available when you make appropriate arrangements with the Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships and the Padnos International Center. When participating in a study abroad program you are still eligible to receive financial aid, including scholarships and grants. To discuss specific aid eligibility for your program please contact us at [email protected] or sign up for a study abroad financial aid appointment

If you are not currently receiving financial aid, you may apply for aid by completing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). All students are eligible for either need-based or non-need based aid programs.

If you currently receive financial aid, you must first apply to a study abroad program through the Padnos International Center. Once you have been accepted to study abroad, you will be required to complete a number of post-acceptance forms. The expense form is one that must be completed. Once you submit the expense form, PIC will forward an approved budget to our office for processing. This budget will list the approximate amount of money needed (including airfare and essential spending money) to finance that particular study abroad program. You must have an up-to-date FAFSA for the period you wish to study abroad. Summer programs are included in the previous academic year.

While the amount of your aid can be increased due to the additional costs involved in studying abroad, do not assume you will be awarded 100% of the money needed to cover the costs of your program. Always seek additional sources of funding. A listing of alternative student loans is available on our website. You should apply at least two months prior to your departure date.

Additionally, you may use the Michigan Education Trust (MET) for study abroad.


Contact the Padnos International Center for more information about study abroad programs and to research scholarships for your study abroad. In addition, you can visit their website to see specific scholarship opportunities for study abroad. 

Page last modified November 5, 2018