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Funding Study Abroad

Study abroad has a stigma for being more expensive than possible for most students. It is first important to understand that although some programs may be more expensive than studying at SUNY-ESF, not all programs are as expensive as others. Additionally, through the use of scholarships, fellowships, fundraising, and research grants, studying abroad can often be extremely affordable.

Quick Tips

  • Consider applying to a SUNY System program. As a member of SUNY, SUNY-ESF students are eligible to apply for any SUNY System program. Studying abroad on these programs can often be cheaper as students will maintain the tuition cost of ESF.
  • Don't forget about our affiliate programs! A few of our affiliate programs offer automatic scholarships for SUNY-ESF students or application fee waivers at the very least.
  • When looking at a program cost, read into what the cost fully entails. Some costs may include flights where as others may not. Some may have meals and housing included, again, others may not. Be knowledgeable about what the true cost means.
  • Not all funding sources can be found online. Don't hesitate to ask professors, staff, colleagues, high school alumni associations, parents, or others for advice on where to find scholarship money. Often the least publicized sources are also the largest and least competitive.
  • Don't forget to talk with the SUNY-ESF Financial Aid Office!

Study Abroad Scholarships

Study abroad scholarships are divided into four distinct categories:

ESF Scholarships

ESF Scholarships exist for only ESF students. Currently, ESF offers four unique opportunities that can be used to help finance education abroad opportunities:

High-Impact Scholarships

High-Impact Scholarships are often prestigious scholarships offered by separate organization or governments. They are referred to "High-Impact" because of the total value offered in scholarship money. Some of these are capable of covering full financial cost of studying abroad, while others will still pay large portions at the least. It is important that when applying to these that you check application requirements and deadlines early and often. Most of these scholarships will have specific requirements that are important to review to make sure you submit a strong and eligible application. A non-complete list includes:

    • Boren Awards for International Study
      • Boren Scholarships provide up to $20,000 to U.S. undergraduate students to study abroad in areas of the world that are critical to U.S. interests and which are underrepresented in study abroad, including Africa, Asia, Central & Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East. The countries of Western Europe, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand are excluded.
    • Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program
      • The Gilman Scholarship Program offers awards for undergraduate study abroad for those students who are receiving Federal Pell Grant funding at a two-year or four-year college or university to participate in study abroad programs worldwide.
    • Fulbright Program Grants and Scholarships
      • The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.
      Critical Language Scholarship Program
      • The Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program is a fully funded summer overseas language and cultural immersion program for American undergraduate and graduate students. With the goal of broadening the base of Americans studying and mastering critical languages and building relationships between the people of the United States and other countries, CLS provides opportunities to a diverse range of students from across the United States at every level of language learning.
    • DAAD Scholarships for Academic Year Study in Germany
      • DAAD offers many fellowships ranging from 3-week programs to entire years for study in Germany. They often cover the entire length of the program and highly STEM focused.
    • SUNY-Chinese Government Scholarship
      • The SUNY- Chinese Government Scholarship Program will continue to offer scholarships to qualified SUNY students for the 2016-2017 academic year. The duration of the scholarship is for one year. This scholarship includes tuition overseas, on-campus accommodations, a monthly living allowance, basic medical insurance in China, and a travel subsidy.

Program-Specific Scholarships

Program-Specific Scholarships are scholarships specific to the organization you are studying abroad through or even more specifically to the exact program you are applying. It is important to recognize that SUNY-ESF's affiliate programs mostly all have program-specific scholarships as well.

    • CIEE: Council on International Education Exchange
      • Every year, CIEE awards up to$5 million in scholarships and grants for study abroad. Their comprehensive approach addresses three distinct areas to ensure they reach students of diverse academic, ethnic, and economic backgrounds: Academic Excellence Scholarships, Access Grants and Scholarships, and Ambassador Grants
    • IES
      • IES holds a wide variety of scholarships including Need-Based Aid, Donor-Funded Scholarships, Diversity Scholarships, Public University Grants, Partner University Scholarships, Special Discounts, and Disability Grants.
    • School for Field Studies
      • SFS works closely with ESF to help you fund a program. Even if you don’t receive aid at ESF, you may be eligible for SFS financial aid! Their financial aid committee compares the total cost that you pay to attend your college with the total cost of studying abroad with SFS. If there is a gap between these costs, SFS tries to meet your need.When you submit your SFS Financial Aid Application, you’re automatically considered for more than 12 scholarships, grants, and loans.
    • SEA Semester
      • Sea Education Association (SEA) understands that cost is a concern when considering study abroad. Therefore, they are committed to making SEA Semester programs affordable for all qualified and motivated students. SEA awards approximately $1,000,000 per year in both need-based and merit scholarships to students participating in SEA Semester programs. Over 50% of their students receive some sort of financial assistance; out of those, 95% receive aid directly from SEA.
    • SIT
      • SIT Study Abroad is committed to increasing access to international education and to ensuring you have the information you need to successfully access funding for your study abroad program with us. They offer a broad range of scholarships and grants, including their award winning Pell Grant Match. Scholarship awards generally range from $500 to $5,000.
    • SUNY Scholarships
      • Individual SUNY schools can have a wide variety of available scholarships to other SUNY students that often are not publicized. Make sure to reach out to the Study Abroad Office at your respective SUNY school to see if there are any funding opportunities available to you. Often these are the least competitive (and also least known) scholarships!

Other Scholarships

Just because a scholarship is not deemed high-impact, does not mean that it won't make the difference in making your program possible. Keep in mind that four $500 scholarships is still equal to one $2000 scholarship. The money is just reached in a different way. Consider some of these possible scholarships too:

Scholarship Databases

In addition to these scholarships, there are numerous other scholarships available for prospective students. The best way to search for these scholarships is through the use of study abroad scholarships databases. OIE has listed a few of the more popular databases below. In using these databases try to consider aspects of your identity that can help you to target an individualized scholarship.

Creative Funding

In addition to searching online for scholarships, don't forget to search in other places too. Scholarships, fellowships, and grants can often be found in churches, rotary clubs, professional organizations or other non-governmental organizations.

Fundraising can also be a great way to increase funds for study abroad. If you select a program that helps achieve your long-term goals, it will be easier to solicit funds from external sources. Keep in mind that local, regional and national groups, as well as individuals, are all possible contributors. They include:

    • Family members
    • Heritage groups that have interests in specific countries (e.g. Japan-America Society)
    • Civic groups (Rotary, Kiwanis, and Lions Clubs)
    • Agencies and foundations
    • Travel agencies
    • High school alumni associations
    • Professional and business clubs
    • Media (newspapers, radio and TV)
    • Sororities and fraternities (local and national chapters)
    • Vocational rehabilitation agencies (for students with disabilities)
    • Charitable, ethnic, religious and campus organization