How to Study Abroad for Free

by Dannelle F. Walker
Funds are available to help students study abroad for free.

Studying abroad can be a memorable experience for students seeking to expand their horizons beyond their local campuses. It can also cost a good deal of money. Between room and board, flights, meals and courses, expenses can quickly add up. Several sources are available help pick up the costs for those wishing to study abroad.

University Support

Many colleges and universities provide financial assistance for students studying abroad in a variety of ways. If a university sponsors a study abroad program and the student is already attending the university on a scholarship, those scholarship funds may be applied to the semester spent abroad. However, students should check with their financial aid offices to determine if funds can be applied in that manner. Universities may also offer specific study abroad scholarships. For example, at the University of Kansas, at the time of publication, students can receive up to $5,000 from the university to study abroad. Scholarships are awarded based on academic merit and financial need.

Outside Organizations

Private organizations are also great sources of study abroad funds. Phi Kappa Phi, an international collegiate honor society, offers $1,000 scholarships to select students studying abroad. To be eligible, the student must attend a college or university that has an active Phi Kappa Phi chapter. The applicant must also have a 3.75 GPA and have already applied and been accepted into a study abroad program before the application deadline. In addition, applicants must submit transcripts and two letters of recommendation.

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Government Exchange Programs

In addition to direct aid, some government exchange programs sponsor students to study abroad at no cost. The U.S. Department of State sponsors the Critical Language Scholarship Program, a fully-funded cultural and language-immersion program for American graduate and undergraduate students. The program, geared toward students studying and mastering critical foreign languages, provides formal classroom instruction for a minimum of 20 hours per week. Students receive room and board, academic credit and domestic and international airfare at no cost to them as well as a stipend to cover meals and incidentals. Applicants must be enrolled in an accredited college or university and have had at least two years of college-level study of a critical foreign language.

Become an International Student

Attending university in another country is another way to study abroad for free. Many universities in other countries offer scholarships to international students in the same way that American universities offer scholarships to international students. Other countries may sponsor exchange programs for American students to attend their universities. For example, the Marshall Scholarship Programme, funded by the British government, provides scholarships for American students to obtain graduate degrees in the United Kingdom. Those selected for the scholarship can study in any field of their choice at any school as long as they are working toward a graduate degree. To be eligible, applicants must be American citizens, have obtained a bachelor's degree from an accredited four-year college or university and have graduated with a at least a 3.7 GPA.

About the Author

A native of Nashville, Tenn., Dannelle F. Walker is an education lawyer and policy maker. Her areas of expertise include teacher liability, educator ethics, and school operations. She holds a JD from the University of Arkansas School of Law.

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