Making Study Abroad Affordable

Study abroad is an investment in your future, a unique experience that comes with education, support, and opportunities that just being a tourist in a country wouldn't provide. This means that study abroad can seem expensive: in addition to paying tuition for the academic credit you will receive, you will pay for your travel expenses (including flights to your destination country, and local transportation once you arrive), room and board, and the general costs of living while you are abroad (everything from meals to laundry). The key to affording study abroad is careful planning and creativity, combining multiple different financial resources together to cover the costs.


Salem Scholarships & Financial Aid

Semester and Academic Year. Salem grants, scholarships, and financial aid are Salem-specific and do not transfer to study abroad programs (except for the Elberson and Chatham scholarships). However, your government financial aid, including Pell Grant, Federal Student Loans, PLUS Loans, and NC Need Based Grant, will transfer to our partner organizations. Consult with the Financial Aid office to learn which parts of your financial package will transfer to a study abroad program.

Summer study abroad programs are separate from any Salem tuition and fees. The individual programs set the tuition, room and board, and other fees. Generally, international airfare is not included in summer study abroad programs.

Summer Study Abroad. If you have any government financial aid “left over” (aid you were eligible for but that was not used during the previous academic year), it can be applied to summer study abroad programs. Most often, however, you will need to seek out other sources of funding for study abroad. Many programs offer scholarships for students, and some government and private foundations do as well. Salem College offers limited funds from the Ivy Hixson Foreign Study Scholarship for students participating in study abroad at Harlaxton College or St. Peter's Academic Summer School, described on our Summer Study Abroad page.

January Term. Salem has several endowed scholarships for students studying abroad during January Term, which typically provide awards of $300 to $600 per student. These include the Ivy Hixson Foreign Study Scholarship, awarded to students who are studying abroad in a faculty-led international travel program based on class standing and cumulative GPA; and the Shore Student Travel Fund, awarded to students who are studying abroad based on financial need and class standing.


External Scholarships

To help make study abroad affordable, there are many scholarships and grants that are specifically designed for students preparing to study abroad. Some scholarships involve an intensive application processes, including essays and certification from the Financial Aid office; some have deadlines as much as a year before you would begin your study abroad. Explore scholarships early, and take care with your application.

Sometimes, scholarship programs state that they have a preference for students are “underrepresented in study abroad” is a broad category; it can include student characteristics such as race or ethnicity, financial need, LGBTQI identity, veteran status or disability; it can be about student major, such as STEM disciplines; or it can be about the study abroad destination.

Most of these scholarships are intended for semester or academic year study abroad, but some may apply to longer summer study abroad programs, usually those at least 4 weeks long.

Gilman Scholarship. The Gilman International Scholarship is offered by the U.S. State Department in conjunction with the Institute of International Education, with a goal of changing the face of study abroad by enabling students who are underrepresented in study abroad. Students who are U.S. citizens eligible for a Pell Grant, who will be staying in a single country for 28 days to 1 year, may apply for a $5,000 award.

Fund for Education AbroadThe Fund for Education Abroad is a 501(c)(3) organization that is an independent study abroad scholarship provider. Preference is given to students participating in an academically rigorous program, who have financial need, and who are under-represented in study abroad. Applications will also be considered for specific scholarships for student athletes, travel to specific countries, or who are LGBTQI. Students who are U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or DACA who will be participating in a study abroad program at least 30 days long may apply for a $5,000 award for a semester or $1,250 for a summer.

Freeman AsiaFreeman Awards for Study in Asia provides funds of up to $5,000 for a semester or $3,000 for a summer for U.S. citizens and permanent residents with financial need who will be studying for at least 8 weeks in Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Laos, Macao, Malaysia, Mongolia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, or Vietnam.

Tortuga Scholarship. The creators of the tortuga travel backpack offer a scholarship that provides $1,000 for a semester abroad, and one of their backpacks.

Ashley Soule Conray FoundationA non-profit foundation established to honor a young woman who studied abroad in India. The foundation provides $4,000 scholarships for a semester abroad "based on merit, personal qualities and/or financial need."

Study Abroad Scholarships Search Engines. Several search engines dedicated to study abroad scholarships are available to help you find funding opportunities for your particular situation. They often have options to filer by destination, field of study, term abroad (summer, semester, or other), financial need or merit. As you conduct a search, pay attention to who sponsors/funds the scholarship. Many study abroad organizations (which have acronyms including SIT, AIFS, SAS, CEA) offer scholarships only to students traveling on their programs. Consider which students and programs are eligible as you add potential scholarships to your list.

University of Minnesota Study Abroad Scholarship Search Note: Select Non-U of M students before you search!

Diversity Abroad Scholarships

Go Abroad

IIE Passport Study Abroad Funding

International Scholarships


Other Affordability Resources

AIFS Study Abroad has published a booklet on affording study abroad (.pdf) that identifies some specific scholarships and also some creative fundraising ideas, such as crowdfunding and lifestyle changes that can help you save money.

 STA Travel ( has a “Book Now, Pay Later” program that allows you to pay a deposit of $50 to $300 to hold your ticket, and pay the full balance 60 days before your departure. This can allow you to choose a flight while the airfare is relatively inexpensive, without having to pay upfront for those tickets. Read the terms and conditions carefully, and compare flight prices through other agencies and sites before your book.