Financial Aid Guide

Understanding how financial aid can be used for study abroad can be confusing. Find answers to the most common questions and understand the overall process by reviewing the information on this page. If you have additional questions related to financial aid after reviewing this page, you may email a Financial Aid Advisor for additional help. 

The staff in PIC are highly trained to respond to general financial aid questions, but each individual has unique circumstances that may require additional attention. We do our best to provide students with general information and estimated costs and we rely on each person to provide us with a complete and accurate picture of their situation.

Students with unique circumstances (i.e. out-of-state, international students, or special scholarship recipients, etc.) should contact Financial Aid at finaid@gvsu.edu

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How to Use This Guide

Throughout this guide we will use the terms "exchange" and "external" to refer to different program types. If you are participating in one of the following "partner" programs, there may be differences in the way your program fees and tuition are charged that are not specifically outlined in this guide:

  • CIDE
  • CIDEF
  • Edge Hill University
  • HISA - Hellenic International Studies in the Arts
  • JCMU - Japan Center for Michigan Universities
  • John Cabot University

Please contact our office if you have questions about how financial aid will apply to your particular program.

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What Every Student Needs to Know

  • Degree-seeking students who have been accepted by PIC to study abroad are eligible for financial aid through GVSU.
  • International students should carefully review the International Student section for details on limitations that may exist.
  • FAFSA is open for applications starting October 1. Early application is recommended.
  • Many grants and scholarships have deadlines much earlier than study abroad application deadlines.
  • Semester/Year participants must maintain full-time status (12 credit minimum) while studying abroad to be eligible for a complete financial aid package. There may be consequences for students who fail to register or fail to maintain full time status while abroad
  • Summer study abroad participants should discuss their funding options with the Financial Aid Office. 
  • Most students who study abroad have access to some personal funds that will be used towards the cost of their study abroad program.
  • Students will need to complete the Financial Aid Agreement and the Expense Form in the OASIS application BEFORE the financial aid office will be able to review eligibility for aid and release aid. It can take two weeks to process these forms after they have been completed by the student.

Financial Aid Award Verification

PIC staff members are trained to help you find information on your current financial aid award. PIC cannot verify funding that a student will receive for their study abroad. Many students look at the current year's financial aid award to determine what aid may be available during the next academic year when they plan to be abroad. Please be advised that changes may occur from year to year with regards to your financial aid eligibility. You will not receive a final confirmation until a financial aid award is created in MyBanner for the semester/year they will be abroad.

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Study Abroad Expense Form

Before you meet with a Financial Aid Counselor to discuss your specific questions, you MUST submit your Study Abroad Expense Form through OASIS. If you do not complete this form, your study abroad costs will not be considered when your financial aid award is processed.

The Study Abroad Expense Form serves as an estimated cost of attendance for your study abroad program. The total amount listed is the maximum amount of aid you can receive from GVSU. This estimated cost of attendance does not reflect the amount of aid you will qualify for, simply the cap on how much could be awarded to you.

What costs can be included in the Expense Form?

  • Tuition
  • Program Fees
  • Housing
  • Meals
  • Airfare to and from host country
  • In-country transportation
  • Misc. living expenses (i.e. laundry, basic necessities)
  • Passport/visa fees
  • Course-related Fees

Financial Aid Agreement

All students who will use financial aid (grants, loans, scholarships) for their study abroad program will need to complete the Financial Aid Agreement for each semester they will be abroad. Your expense form will not be sent to the financial aid office until we have your Financial Aid Agreement on file. Do not delay in completing this document as it could impact the release of your financial aid.

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Information about Estimated Program Costs

PIC can help a student create an estimated budget for a study abroad program. PIC cannot give students an exact dollar amount for every expense associated with a study abroad program. Most travelers run into unexpected expenses while abroad. In addition, a great deal of a person's budget is based on personal spending habits. Students who intend to travel independently, regularly go out for entertainment purposes, purchase special equipment, etc. will have to budget additional funds to cover these types of expenses. At a minimum, students should expect to have $700 set aside for unexpected expenses.

You are also advised to monitor the fluctuation of the currency exchange rate. The currency exchange rate ca significantly impact estimated costs. You can use the following links to review this information.

https://www.xe.com/currencyconverter/

https://www1.oanda.com/currency/converter/

Additional costs you may need to consider:

  • How often do you go to social events?
  • How much do you plan to travel while abroad?
  • Will you eat out often or cook for yourself?
  • What is the cost of a SIM card or international phone plan? 
  • Do you have other habits (luxuries or personal habits) that you know you will maintain abroad?
  • Do you plan to purchase souvenirs for yourself, family, and friends?
  • Do you need to purchase special items for an apartment or room? (i.e. pans, dishes, iron, sheets, hair dryer, etc.)
  • Do you plan to take a taxi or public transit to your housing? Will someone from your program meet you at the airport?
  • Are you requesting a single room or other housing that costs more than the typical student residence?
  • Do you have emergency funds available?
  • Are you building in a cushion to account for the fluctuation in exchange rates?
  • Are you considering the fees that your bank will charge for international transactions?
  • Are you building in a cushion for unexpected expenses?

I am interested in traveling on weekend and breaks while I am studying abroad. Will these additional costs be considered when looking at my total cost of participation in study abroad?

No. The Financial Aid Office will only consider costs that are required for participation in your academic program. Additional funding for independent travel, gifts, or other personal spending are costs that you must budget for with personal funds. These costs will not be reflected in your Study Abroad Expense Form.

Confidentiality and FERPA

Can my family talk with the Financial Aid Office of the Padnos International Center regarding concerns or problems?

Due to confidentiality laws, there is limited information that can be provided to your family without your written consent. As part of the OASIS application process, students are asked if they would like to give PIC permission to speak with a parent or other contact person(s). If you provided a contact person, we will be happy to speak with that individual if questions arise.

If you did not give PIC permission to speak with a designated contact person, we will require written permission from you before information can be released to that individual. The Padnos International Center strongly encourages students to consider filling our a Limited Power of Attorney form giving someone you trust permission to act on your behalf while you are abroad. Alternatively, you can sign a FERPA Release Form giving GVSU permission to release information to an individual of your choosing. 

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Out-of-State Students

I am an out of state student. Is anything different for me?

If you are participating in an exchange program where tuition is paid to GVSU, you will pay the same rate you would expect to pay if you stayed here for the semester. If you qualify for the tuition differential scholarship or grant, you may still qualify for this award.

If you are participating in a external program, you will not be required to pay tuition to GVSU for the credits you earn through study abroad and, therefore, are not eligible for the tuition differential scholarship or grant. 

If you have any questions about this section, contact the Financial Aid Office at finaid@gvsu.edu.

International Students

If you are a current international student, there may be limitations on the financial aid you can receive for study abroad. International students are generally not eligible for federal or state student aid. Additionally, GVSU scholarships are awarded for students to study here and may not be used for a study abroad program.

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Veterans Benefits

Visit our Veterans Resource page for more information about accessing VA benefits while studying abroad.

MET Benefits

I receive the Michigan Education Trust (MET). Can this be used for study abroad?

EXCHANGE PROGRAMS

Yes. Students that receive the MET can use this for study abroad. When you register for IS 380, the GVSU system generates a tuition charge. GVSU Student Accounts Office uses this tuition charge to secure funds from MET. Since you are participating in a GVSU exchange program, where your tuition is paid to GVSU, you will see the MET applied as you would any other semester.

EXTERNAL PROGRAMS

Yes. Students that receive the MET can use this for study abroad. When you register for IS 380, the GVSU system generates a tuition charge. GVSU Student Accounts Office uses this tuition charge to secure funds from MET. Since you are participating in a external program and you are responsible for paying tuition to your study abroad provider, you will see a tuition charge for 12-15 credits here at GVSU, a study abroad tuition credit, and a MET tuition credit on your student account.

If you have questions, contact Paul Dillon at (616) 331-2278 in Student Accounts. 

Please note: Fall semester tuition is not posted to the GVSU system until the end of July. If you are participating in a program that departs in early July, you will not receive your MET benefits until the tuition charge has been posted to your GVSU student account. This may be well after your departure date. There may be a possibility of receiving funds early by completing an emergency loan through the Financial Aid Office. All such requests are handled on a case-by-case basis.

IMPORTANT NOTICE

The Padnos International Center does not know if you are a MET recipient. This is not considered financial aid. Financial aid is defined as scholarships, grants and loans. If you have questions, please be sure to let your advisor know that you are a recipient of this benefit so we can provide you with the most accurate information.

GVSU Employee Tuition Benefits

I am eligible for the employee tuition benefits. Does this benefit apply towards study abroad?

Yes, provided you complete all required forms necessary to receive the benefit.

Note: The benefit will reflect the GVSU tuition rate. If you are participating in a study abroad program where the tuition charge is much higher than GVSU's tuition, you will still only be receiving the tuition benefit at the GVSU tuition rates.

Also, you will not be eligible to receive your employee benefits until after the GVSU tuition has been posted to your account. This applies to dependents who are eligible for benefits as well. Once the benefit is applied to your account, you can access these funds to pay any required program expenses.

Please note: Fall semester tuition is not posted to the GVSU system until the end of July. If you are participating in a program that departs in early July, you will not receive your benefits until the tuition charge has been posted and a credit has been applied to your account. This may be well after your departure date. There may be a possibility of receiving funds early by completing an emergency loan through the Financial Aid Office. All such requests are handled on a case-by-case basis.

Students should also understand that while the employee benefits are not considered financial aid, the benefit is still applicable.

IMPORTANT NOTICE

The Padnos International Center does not know if you are eligible for employee benefits. This is not considered financial aid. Financial aid is defined as scholarships, grants and loans. If you have questions, please be sure to let your advisor know that you are a recipient of this benefit so we can provide you with the most accurate information.

1098T Education Tax Credit

If you will be paying tuition to a university in a different country, you may not be eligible for the IRS Education Tax Credit. Your GVSU 1098T will show the amount of your tuition in Box 1 and an equal amount in Scholarship/Grants in Box 5. They will offset each other. You will need to contact the IRS or the university that is receiving your tuition payment to find out if tuition paid may qualify for the Education Tax Credit. For more information on the Education Tax Credit visit the IRS.

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Kalamazoo Promise and Indian Tuition Waiver

EXCHANGE PROGRAM

Historically, the Kalamazoo Promise scholarship and the Indian Tuition Waiver scholarship have been available to students who participate in one of GVSU's exchange programs, provided the student is paying tuition to GVSU. If you are eligible for either of these scholarships, please check with the scholarship administrators for additional details.

EXTERNAL PROGRAM

In the past, the Kalamazoo Promise and the Indian Tuition Waiver programs have not been available to students who want to participate in a external program. These scholarships have regulations that require tuition to be paid to GVSU. Students who receive these scholarships should consult the scholarship administrators on the details. Typically, GVSU exchange programs and GVSU faculty-led programs are acceptable study abroad options since tuition is paid to GVSU.

Financial Aid FAQ

Yes, study abroad students can use their student financial aid towards the cost of study abroad, provided they are registered at GVSU for the appropriate course.

Since GVSU requires students to maintain their registration status at GVSU while abroad, they are able to access financial aid. Students who are not registered at GVSU will not receive financial aid.

Yes. Fall and Winter semester participants are expected to register for and complete a minimum of 12 GVSU credits during their semester abroad.

Spring/Summer Students

Summer study abroad participants should discuss their funding options with the Financial Aid Office. Students may have access to Parent PLUS loans, alternative loans, grants, and scholarships. Additionally, students who do not take out the full amount of their annual federal loan eligibility during the fall and winter semesters may use the remaining amount to help cover summer study abroad costs. Students who receive fall or winter financial aid refunds can save as much of their refunds as possible to be used toward spring/summer expenses.

Students who plan to use alternative loans to help pay for summer study abroad expenses may have more flexibility with regards to the minimum number of summer credits they must register for. Some alternative lenders don't require students to be enrolled at least half-time.

No. The Padnos International Center will notify the Financial Aid Office of your acceptance to study abroad. You will be asked to complete a Study abroad Expense Form that outlines the costs associated with your study abroad program. The expense form can be found through your OASIS account under "Pre-Departure Forms." Once you submit estimated costs, the Padnos International Center will review the information and either approve it or make appropriate adjustments. Once your expense form is approved by the Padnos International Center, it is automatically sent to the Financial Aid Office. You do not need to notify FAFSA of your intentions to study abroad. The Financial Aid Office will put information into the system regarding your estimated cost of attendance. 

All students must complete a FAFSA in order to be eligible for Federal Student Aid. You will be notified if your application is selected for verification or if you are required to provide additional information.

Additionally, make sure to complete the following:

  • Study Abroad Expense Form (available in OASIS)
  • Financial Aid Agreement 
  • Accept your financial aid award through your GVSU MyBanner
  • Complete the Summer Application for Financial Aid (spring/summer students only)

First, you need to complete the Financial Aid Agreement. You will need to figure out your proposed course schedule to complete this form and you will need to get equivalencies for the courses you plan to take abroad. 

Second, log in to your OASIS account to submit an Expense Form, which is a breakdown of your estimated study abroad program costs. The Padnos International Center will review all expense forms and make any necessary adjustments (sometimes lower or higher amounts from what was submitted). Once the Expense Form is approved, it will automatically be sent to the Financial Aid Office for processing. The Expense Form will NOT be approved until we have a Financial Aid Agreement on file.

Third, carefully review the Pre-Departure Orientation information posted on the Padnos International Center website.

Fourth, read and carefully review all financial aid information sent to you through your GVSU student account. In order to receive your financial aid, you must accept your financial aid award. 

Your financial aid award letter will reflect all possible aid available to you based on the GVSU cost of attendance. You need to go to MyBanner and accept the types of aid you want and decline what you do not want. This will allow the aid to apply to your account at the appropriate time.

Dependent students may be awarded a Parent PLUS loan. Please note, your parent(s) must apply for a Parent PLUS loan, it is not automatically approved. The amount of the PLUS loan can be substituted with an alternative loan if parents do not wish to apply for a PLUS loan. 

You will receive the same types and amounts of aid that you normally would receive if you were taking classes here at GVSU. Because of the additional costs of study abroad, you may qualify for additional federal loans and you can apply for an alternative loan to make up the difference between what you have been awarded and your total estimated cost listed on your Study Abroad Expense Form. Visit the Financial Aid website for additional information on alternative loan programs.

Not necessarily. In most cases, study abroad students will be eligible for the same amount of financial aid as if they were studying here at GVSU. Since studying abroad often costs more than studying here at GVSU, the Financial Aid Office will adjust the "cost of attendance" for your semester abroad provided that you complete the Study Abroad Expense Form.

Adjusting the cost of attendance means the cap on the amount of financial aid you can receive is adjusted to reflect the estimated costs associated with your academic program.

Students can apply for alternative loan programs to help finance their study abroad. Additionally, there are some grant and scholarship programs that students can apply for which could help to reduce the out-of-pocket cost to the student.

The FAFSA application is completely online. You can fill it out at any time.

You will need to turn the form in to the Financial Aid Office as soon as possible. It will take 5 to 7 days to process the form. We recommend that you keep a copy of the form for your records.

DEPOSIT

  • All study abroad applicants pay a $100 non-refundable deposit at the time of application, plus a $5 processing fee. If you withdraw your study arbroad application at any time, you will not receive a refund of this deposit. If you continue with your plans for study abroad, you will see this $100 credited to your GVSU student account at the start of the GVSU semester. PIC reserves the right to hold a refund deposit until all required pre-departure forms have been completed (excluding the expense form and course equivalencies) and the student has attended the pre-departure orientation. If a student fails to complete the required documents prior to departure, the student will forfeit the refund of this deposit.

IS 380 or IS 680 COURSE FEE

  • All students who register for IS 380 (International Studies 380) or IS 680 (for graduate students) will be required to pay a course fee.

EXCHANGE PROGRAMS

  • TUITION
    • Students participating in one of GVSU's exchange programs will be required to pay tuition to GVSU. You will not be required to pay tuition to the host institution. All semester abroad students will register here at GVSU for 12 credits of IS 380. This will allow the student to transfer back 12-15 study abroad credits.
  • IMPORTANT NOTICE FOR STUDENTS PARTICIPATING IN AN EXCHANGE PROGRAM
    • If a student completes more than 15 US credits through their host institution, tuition charges for the credits above 15 will be charged to the students' account retroactively. In order to avoid paying additional tuition charges upon return from your program, students are encouraged to stay within the 12-15 US credit block.
  • PROGRAM FEES
    • The Padnos International Center collects program fees for several study abroad programs. NOTE: some programs are charged GVSU tuition and a program fee. Please reference the relevant program information sheet to determine if you are paying tuition and/or program fees to GVSU or an outside organization.

EXTERNAL PROGRAMS

  • TUITION
    • Students participating in external programs will pay tuition directly to their program provider or host institution.
  • IMPORTANT NOTICE REGARDING PROGRAM FEES
    • GVSU does not collect program fees on behalf of any external study abroad programs. Since you are participating in a external program, you will pay all fees directly to your study abroad provider.

The dates of many study abroad programs do not align perfectly with the GVSU semester. While you are studying abroad, you are registered in the IS 380/680 placeholder course and are subject to the same registration rules as if you were here on campus. If you choose to withdraw from study abroad after the start of the GVSU semester, you may be responsible for any applicable tuition charges or related fees at GVSU. 

If you are participating in an exchange program where tuition is paid to GVSU, you will receive a refund based on the standard GVSU withdrawal policies. If you have missed the refund deadlines, you will be required to submit a Tuition Refund Appeal

If you are participating in an external or partner program where tuition is not paid to GVSU, you will receive a GVSU tuition credit on your student account to cancel out the GVSU tuition charge so you are not paying tuition to two institutions for the same credits. The tuition credit will be for the exact amount of the GVSU tuition charge. If a student withdraws from study abroad after the start of the GVSU semester (after 100% tuition refund deadline), regardless of when his/her study abroad program starts, the tuition credit will immediately be removed from his/her account leaving a GVSU tuition charge. A student would then be responsible for submitting a tuition refund appeal through the Registrar's Office requesting that this tuition charge be removed from the GVSU system. This appeal is subject to approval, and is not automatic. Students are expected to supply clear and substantial evidence for why the withdrawal happened after the tuition refund deadlines.

Additional Explanation:

  • All students are to be registered at GVSU for study abroad.
  • Any time a student registers at GVSU, a GVSU tuition charge is generated.
  • Students paying tuition to GVSU will pay in accordance to all GVSU payment regulations. This includes the payment of the IS 380/IS 680 course fee. Withdrawals will be handled in the same manner as if a student was on campus.

You need to go to the Financial Aid website and select the Spring/Summer Application for Financial Aid. You MUST do this in order to receive a spring/summer award.

The Spring/Summer application for Financial Aid will be available to students on or around February 1.

In the spring/summer there is less financial aid available - students may be required to apply for alternative loans or work with their parents to apply for a Parent PLUS loan.

Students who do not take out the full amount of their annual federal loan eligibility during the fall and winter semesters may be able to use any unused portion of their federal loans for summer study abroad costs. Students who receive fall or winter financial aid refunds can save as much of their refunds as possible to be used toward spring/summer expenses. Students are advised to speak with a Financial Aid Advisor to discuss loan eligibility.

We encourage students to begin searching for grants and scholarships as early as possible (at least 12-18 months prior to your program start date). The Padnos International Center has information on a number of common scholarships and grants geared towards study abroad, however, you will be expected to do most of the research on what is available for your particular program. We have a staff of Peer Advisors that can you get started on your scholarship search.

For semester or academic year applicants, many scholarship deadlines are in February/March of the year prior to the semester you may be abroad. 

You will want to begin preparing your application several weeks prior to the deadline. Take time with your essays, in order to prepare a competitive application, you should seek at least 3 reviews from faculty advisors, the Writing Center, the Office of Fellowships, and others who can offer constructive feedback. It will take time for individuals to review your essays, be respectful and provide your drafts several weeks before your deadline.

Additional information and support is available through GVSU's Office of Fellowships.

Normally, any money left over after all charges to GVSU have been paid will be issued in one of two ways - either a check will be mailed to your permanent address, or if you have set up direct deposit, the funds will e sent to you bank account during the 2nd week of classes here at GV. To set up direct deposit go to MyBanner, go to Student, Financial Aid, then click on Student Account. You will need to know your bank account number and the routing number to complete the request. 

If you will be leaving for your study abroad program prior to the 2nd week of GV classes during the semester you are abroad, you will be eligible to receive your refund check prior to your departure. More information about financial aid release dates can be found on our pre-departure page.

IMPORTANT NOTICE

Early release of aid will be processed based on the program start date listed in your OASIS account.

If you have a financial aid award in place and you are in need of funding to purchase a flight well before the departure date, you can request an early release of financial aid

Exchange Programs

If you are going on a program that is charging you GV tuition or a program fee is paid to GVSU, these charges will be posted on to your GV account. Your financial aid award will cover these charges and any leftover funds will be available for you to use for other program expenses. If your financial aid does not cover the amount of GV tuition and the program fee, where applicable, you may have to pay any remaining balance to GVSU.

Note: Students planning to participate in an exchange program may be expected to pay tuition and, in some cases, a program fee to GVSU. Please check the program information for more details.

External Programs

If you are going on a external program, your financial aid will be applied to your student account at Grand Valley. You will receive a refund to the bank account you have set up in MyBanner or you will receive a check in the mail at your permanent address. You will not be charged tuition at Grand Valley, however you will be charged a course fee for IS 380/IS 680. Your IS 380/IS 680 course fee will be due at the regularly scheduled GVSU payment deadline. GVSU will first pay off any charges on your GVSU student account. All remaining funds will be disbursed directly to you and must be used to pay your program fees to your study abroad provider.

No. The remainder of all financial aid awards are released directly to the GVSU student. The student is responsible for paying all fees directly to the study abroad program.

If you will be out of the country for the entire academic year, we recommend you make arrangements for direct deposit. You will receive your financial aid in two disbursements. You are able to log on to MyBanner under the Student Accounts section and sign up for direct deposit into your personal bank account. For academic year students, winter semester disbursements are typically released to you in January.

IMPORTANT NOTICE

It is your responsibility to respond to any requests that the Financial Aid Office may send you in order to follow up for any missing or required documents. The Financial Aid Office is available for phone consultations Monday-Thursday 8 a.m.-6 p.m. and Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m. to answer your questions or concerns.