Study Abroad Scholarships: Everything You Need to Know

Authored By:

College Study Abroad

Funding your study abroad journey can feel like an overwhelming process before you even begin. And applying for scholarships and grants may sound like a daunting concept. But don’t let CIEE’s scholarship application process (or your school's) overwhelm you. And don’t let it stand between you and your study abroad adventure. 

Instead, check out this post, stay positive, and get motivated. Here you’ll find everything you need to know about study abroad scholarships – and then some. Read it now. Bookmark it for later. (Or do both!)  

Let’s explore what a study abroad scholarship is, the cost of study abroad, and how to get a scholarship to study abroad! 

What is a Study Abroad Scholarship?  

A study abroad scholarship is a monetary award for students to use toward the expenses of their study abroad program, such as for travel, tuition, books, and lodging. To be considered for a study abroad scholarship, students must fill out available applications for grants and scholarships that they qualify for based on the descriptions and intent of the scholarship.  

The Three Types of CIEE Scholarships to Study Abroad 

CIEE offers three types of study abroad scholarships, which are broken down into the following categories:  

Need-Based ScholarshipsOffered to students with demonstrated financial need.
Merit-Based ScholarshipsOffered to students with strong academic achievement. 
Other ScholarshipsOffered to students based on alumni status or specific program choice.

Type #1: Need-Based Scholarships 

These scholarships are specifically designed for students with demonstrated financial need. To apply, you’ll need to retrieve the Estimated Family Contribution (EFC)* from your most recent Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and Student Aid Report (SAR.)  

These scholarships are based on strong academic achievement. In order to be considered for this study abroad scholarship, you’ll need to complete the essay section of the application and provide your GPA and transcript.  

Type #3: Other Funding  

Other study abroad scholarships are based on alumni status or specific program choice. 

To qualify for any of these study abroad scholarships, fill out the Scholarships and Grants portion of your CIEE application 

And don’t forget to visit your institution's study abroad office to learn about any other scholarships or grants for which you may qualify. You may be able to combine any scholarships and grants you receive from CIEE with financial aid from your institution to help fund your study abroad program!

How Much Does Study Abroad Cost? 

The cost to study abroad is dependent on a variety of factors including program destination, length of the program, and the different types of courses. Our current study abroad programs range anywhere from about $3,650 to $20,000 or more for semester-long programs.  

CIEE offers the most comprehensive programs, and our fees typically cover quite a bit, including: 

  • Tuition 
  • Housing 
  • Pre-departure advising 
  • Orientation 
  • On-site staff and 24/7 emergency on-site support 
  • Culture and co-curricular activities 
  • Travel protection 

There are, however, other out-of-pocket expenses not part of the program fee. These expenses include things like your airfare, local transportation, books and supplies, visa fees, and other personal expenses. 

We understand these figures can be daunting at first, so make sure to reference the full list of scholarships and grants you can apply for. Based on the aid you’re eligible for, you may get anywhere from $500 to 100% of your study abroad program covered!  

Keep in mind, some of our most affordable study abroad programs are offered in Latin America and the Middle East in locations like: 

How to Get a Scholarship to Study Abroad: 4 Steps  

So, you’ve decided to study abroad but know you’ll need some financial aid to do so. What are your next steps? Follow CIEE’s easily navigable process to get started.  

Step #1Explore Study Abroad Programs
Step #2Consult Your Study Abroad Office
Step #3Determine Eligible Scholarship Opportunities
Step #4Start Your Application

Step #1: Explore Study Abroad Programs 

Begin by finding your dream program at CIEE. The possibilities are endless with our wide network of inspiring locations! Once you’ve chosen your ideal program and location, take a closer look at the cost of your new adventure and how you’ll need to budget for it.  

Step #2: Consult Your Study Abroad Office 

After determining the cost of your study abroad program, take another look at our scholarships and grants. Then, consult your study abroad office to help determine the best options for you and your chosen program. It’s important to note that individual institutions may also offer financial aid for study abroad programs. So, check with your financial aid office to see if you’re eligible.  

Keep in mind that some universities may have funding caps, or limits, on how much financial aid you can receive for a study abroad program.  

Step #3: Determine Eligible Scholarship Options  

After taking notes on our scholarship and grant offerings and consulting with your study abroad office, you’ll now be able to determine which study abroad scholarship options you’re eligible for.   

Step #4: Start Your Application   

After completing steps one, two, and three, the application process is easy! Fill out the information and make sure to note program deadlinesyou’ll want to get your applications finalized in time.  

Once you submit your application, it can take some time (anywhere from two weeks to four weeks) to receive word on which scholarships and grants you qualify for. During this wait time, make sure to stay organized and keep track of deadlines coming down the pike for your program. Be patient and get excited about this new journey!  

Get on Your Way 

It’s common for funding your study abroad program to be a daunting process but with these steps and tips in mind, we’re confident your international adventure of a lifetime is within reach.  

Get started today by researching our study abroad scholarships. And if you have any questions, reach out. We’re always happy to help. It’s why we’re here!   


*Note: EFC (Expected Family Contribution) is being replaced by SAI (Student Aid Index) for the 2024-2025 FAFSA cycle. Due to unexpected FAFSA delays during the transition, CIEE will accept the 2023-2024 FAFSA (EFC) or the 2024-2025 FAFSA (SAI) for Fall 2024. For students who provide the 2023-2024 FAFSA (EFC), we will continue to guarantee GAIN Travel Grants to those with EFCs of 10,000 or less. For students who provide the 2024-2025 FAFSA (SAI), we will guarantee GAIN Travel Grants to Pell Eligible students. Applications must received by the April 1st deadline for the guarantee. Students with high need should still apply even if they do not meet the criteria noted above.