Students in China.

Education Abroad

Federal Financial Aid and Loans

VCU Education Abroad works together with the Office of Financial Aid to provide as much financial assistance to you as is allowable by law. All need-based and merit-based aid, with the exception of work study, can be applied towards the cost of your approved study abroad program.

VCU faculty-led programs

If you are participating in VCU summer faculty-led programs you should:

  • File a Free Application for Federal Student Aid for the academic year in which the summer falls (note: summer is the last term in the academic year)
  • Visit your financial aid counselor so that he or she can complete the Financing and Payment form that you can download from the online application.
  • Complete the online application and be sure to indicate that you will be using financial aid.
  • Once you are accepted into the summer study abroad program, you will receive an Email requesting that you to come to the Education Abroad office to complete the Summer Financial Aid Application form. We will submit this form to the Financial Aid Office on your behalf
  • Please note, in regards to financial aid disbursement:
    • It is possible that financial aid may not be disbursed until after your program starts. Students will then have to use financial aid as a reimbursement and be prepared to pay program costs and tuition prior to travel (please note that for most students it is necessary to have available funds to pay for airfare, visa costs and other expenses such as the application fee/deposit months prior to departure).
    • Financial aid does not disburse until you have reached the course start date of at least 6 credits in the summer. If you are enrolling in less than 6 credits on your study abroad program, and in order to reach the 6 credit minimum needed for financial aid, you are taking additional on-campus summer courses at VCU, please note that financial aid will not be disbursed until you have begun your on-campus course.
    • Summer students must be enrolled in a minimum of 6 credits for Undergraduate Students, and 5 credits for Graduate students (half-time status) to receive financial aid. (Some alternative lenders will supply funds to students receiving less than 6 credits during the summer. Please contact the lender directly with questions.)
    • For summer, study abroad participants must file a FAFSA before June 30.

Exchange programs

If you are participating in an Exchange Program (ISEP, Partnership and Departmental) then you should:

  • File a FAFSA for the academic year in which you will be studying abroad (please note that the FAFSA should be filed according to the cost of study at VCU and not according to the cost of your study abroad program).
  • Apply to your study abroad program through the Education Abroad Office. The office will send a budget to the Financial Aid Office on your behalf that indicates your total estimated expenses (including tuition, housing, meals, international airfare, immigration costs, passport fees, local expenses, etc.)
  • Education Abroad registers you for the study abroad (STUA) placeholder course for the semester in which you will be abroad. This 12-credit placeholder (6 credits in the summer) indicates that you are still a full-time student at VCU who is studying abroad. Enrollment in the placeholder course allows you to meet the requirement to be enrolled full time in order to receive your financial aid funds.
  • Financial aid and institutional aid (i.e. dean’s, provost’s, or presidential scholarships) will be disbursed at the start of the semester and will pay for charges posted to your VCU student account equal to the amount that the scholarship would normally cover if you were studying on-campus (please note that these scholarships are typically unavailable during the summer).
  • If you receive financial aid in excess of your program fee that has been billed to your VCU student account, your financial aid and/or scholarship funds will be sent to you via check or direct deposit (in order to receive direct deposit, you must complete a direct deposit form).
  • Summer students must be enrolled in a minimum of 6 credits (full-time status) to receive financial aid. (Some alternative lenders will supply funds to students receiving less than 6 credits during the summer. Please contact the lender directly with questions.)
  • Semester students must be enrolled in a minimum of 12 credits (full-time status) to receive financial aid. For semester study abroad participants, in order to receive financial aid, students must file a FAFSA before the last day of the semester.
  • For summer, study abroad participants must file a FAFSA before June 30.
  • Summer study abroad participants may be awarded more funds if it is their first time submitting a FASFA for the academic school year. Please contact your financial aid counselor for more information.
  • Some alternative lenders will give funds directly to the student and some disburse payments through the Financial Aid Office. Please contact the lender directly with questions relating to disbursement.

Affiliate and Alternative Programs

If you are participating in an alternative study abroad program, then you should:

  • File a FAFSA for the academic year in which you will be studying abroad (please note that the FAFSA should be filed according to the cost of study at VCU, and not according to the cost of your study abroad program).
  • Complete the Alternative Program Registration Packet and submit to Education Abroad.
  • Education Abroad will draft an agreement between your study abroad program and VCU. Your program provider/host institution will sign the agreement and return it to Education Abroad attached with a budget for your program.
  • Upon receiving the signed agreement and the program budget, Education Abroad will send a budget to the Financial Aid Office that indicates the total estimated expenses of your program (including tuition, housing, meals, international airfare, immigration costs, passport fees, local expenses, etc.)
  • Financial aid will be dispersed at the start of the semester.
  • If you receive financial aid in excess of your program fee that has been billed to your VCU student account, your financial aid and/or scholarship funds will be sent to you via check or direct deposit (in order to receive direct deposit, you must complete a direct deposit form).
  • Summer students must be enrolled in a minimum of 6 credits (full-time status) to receive financial aid. (Some alternative lenders will supply funds to students receiving less than 6 credits during the summer. Please contact the lender directly with questions.)
  • Semester students must be enrolled in a minimum of 12 credits (full-time status) to receive financial aid. For semester study abroad participants, in order to receive financial aid, students must file a FAFSA before the last day of the semester.
  • For summer study abroad participants, students must file a FAFSA before June 30.
  • Summer study abroad participants may be awarded more funds if it is their first time submitting a FASFA for the academic school year. Please contact your financial aid counselor for more information.
  • Some alternative lenders will give funds directly to the student and some disburse payments through the Financial Aid Office. Please contact the lender directly with questions relating to disbursement.

Many alternative study abroad programs will require advance payment before departure. Students will then have two options:

1. Pay the program fee up front and use financial aid as a reimbursement to yourself.
2. Find out if your study abroad program will provide you with a financial aid disbursement or certification form that your financial aid counselor can complete stating the amount of funds you will receive for the semester/year.

  • Please note that the Financial Aid Office will not be able to complete these forms until after the award letter is issued in June. The Financial Aid Office will not be able to complete these forms unless you have properly registered with the Education Abroad office, and the Financial Aid Office has received your budget from Education Abroad.

Please note: These steps are provided so that you can better understand the financial aid process as it relates to study abroad. If you have further questions regarding the financial aid process or your financial aid award, please contact the Office of Financial Aid directly.

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