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 [email protected]
- How to Use This Guide
- What Every Student Needs to Know
- When a Financial Aid Award is Verified
- Study Abroad Expense Form
- Financial Aid Agreement
- Information about Estimated Program Costs
- Confidentiality and FERPA
- Out-of-State Students
- International Students
- Veterans Benefits
- MET Benefits
- GVSU Employee Tuition Benefits
- 1098T Education Tax Credit
- Kalamazoo Promise
- Indian Tuition Waiver
- Frequently Asked Questions
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:
- 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.
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.
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?
- Program Fees
- 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.
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.
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.
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 [email protected].
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.
I receive the Michigan Education Trust (MET). Can this be used for study abroad?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Kalamazoo Promise and Indian Tuition Waiver
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.
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.