Can I Get a Student Loan for Study Abroad?

Student next to a map

Hola! Bonjour! Guten tag! N ho! If you’re thinking of studying abroad, you may be brushing up on your foreign language skills and planning sightseeing trips. But have you thought about how you’ll pay for it?

For many students, the price can be a shock. The average cost to study abroad is about $15,000 per semester, but you also have to consider other expenses like travel and visas.

Studying in another country can be expensive, so you may wonder, “can I get a student loan for study abroad programs?” Luckily, there are student loans and scholarships available, so you can get an international education experience and still take advantage of financial aid.

Factors That Affect the Cost of a Study Abroad Program

When it comes to studying in another country, you have many options. The number of U.S. students studying abroad is usually about 300,000 per year, and the majority of students study in Europe. In fact, the United Kingdom, Italy, and Spain have been the three top study abroad destinations since 2000.

But you can choose to study anywhere in the world. You could study business in Japan, agriculture in Costa Rica, or learn about marketing in Kenya.

What country you choose and the school you attend will likely impact your cost. When evaluating your study abroad options, consider the following factors:

  • Institution type: In some cases, your study abroad program may be facilitated by your college in the U.S. If that’s the case, the school is likely one of the international schools that participates in the federal loan program and would be eligible for other forms of financial aid too. If you are enrolling in an international school on your own, that may not be the case.
  • Distance: Consider how far the study abroad location is from home and what you’ll have to pay to travel to and from the university. International airfare can be very expensive, so factor the cost of flights into your plans.
  • Duration: Some study abroad programs are relatively short, lasting for a few weeks. Others can last for a semester or an entire academic year. The longer you’ll be abroad, the more you’ll have to pay in tuition, room and board, and other expenses.
  • Cost of living: The cost of living in your desired country can affect your total cost. Countries and cities with high costs of living, such as London or Stockholm, mean you’ll have to pay more for everyday expenses. Other locations may actually be cheaper to live in than where you normally go to school.
  • Other requirements: Some countries have strict requirements for foreign students, including vaccination rules. If you need to get additional vaccines or medical paperwork, that can be an additional cost. And student visas can cost hundreds of dollars.

Student Loans for Study Abroad & Other Financial Aid Options

In general, the average price of studying abroad is more than the average cost of a semester at a U.S. university. But there are scholarships, grants and student loans that can make the cost more manageable.

Scholarships and Grants

There are scholarships and grants that are specifically for students studying in other countries to further their education. As forms of gift aid, you don’t have to repay grants or scholarships, and they can reduce the need for student loans.

Scholarships and grants can come from your school, non-profit organizations, government agencies and private companies. Some examples include:

  • The Bridging Scholarship: Offered by the American Association of Teachers of Japanese, the Bridging Scholarship gives eligible students up to $4,500 to study abroad in Japan.
  • The Boren Award for International Study: The Boren Award is an initiative of the National Security Education Program. It provides funding for U.S. undergraduate students to study less commonly taught languages in other countries. Eligible recipients can get up to $25,000 toward their education.
  • The South India Term Abroad (SITA) Scholarship: The SITA scholarship provides up to $5,000 to undergraduate students studying abroad, with preference given to students that wish to study abroad in India.

We compiled a list of fast and easy scholarships that you can apply for to make scholarship searching easy. You can also ask your school’s financial aid office for more information about scholarships.

Tip: You can enter College Ave Student Loan’s scholarship monthly sweepstakes and win to $1,000 to pay for school.

Federal Student Loans

After researching your gift aid options, you may be looking for student loans for study abroad programs. A common misconception is that federal financial aid isn’t available for international study, but that’s not the case. You can use federal student loans to pay for your program as long as the selected school participates in the federal student loan program. To find out if your selected school does, search for your university on the Office of Federal Student Aid’s database.

Federal student loans for studying abroad include:

  • Direct Subsidized: For undergraduate students with significant financial needs.
  • Direct Unsubsidized: For undergraduate students and graduate students.
  • Grad PLUS: For graduate students.
  • Parent PLUS: For parents borrowing on a child’s behalf.

Fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to get the maximum amount of federal financial aid, and contact your school’s financial aid office to discuss your options and eligibility for aid.

Private Student Loans

If you reach the annual or lifetime maximum for federal aid or if your selected school or program isn’t eligible for federal aid another option is to take out private student loans. Many private lenders will issue loans to pay for programs in other countries, so you can borrow up to 100% of the school-certified cost of attendance.

College Ave offers loan options for undergraduates, graduate students, and parent borrowers. You can choose from multiple repayment plans, and you can have up to 15 years to repay your loan.

You can use a College Ave loan to pay for your study abroad program as long as you’re enrolled at an accredited institution in the U.S. that offers a study abroad program with international schools.

Financing Your Study Abroad Experience

Can I get a student loan for study abroad? Now that you know the answer to that question, you can start planning your study abroad experience.

Studying abroad can be a transformative opportunity, but it can also be expensive. But by researching scholarships and grants, you can reduce your out-of-pocket expenses, and student loans can cover the remaining cost. So don’t let the price tag keep you from pursuing your dream destination – there are plenty of financial aid options available to help make studying abroad more affordable.

If you’re ready to apply, you can fill out an application for a College Ave student loan online.


Which product best suits you?

Interested in building your credit?

Set sights on a brighter financial future by establishing a positive credit history easily and safely with Ambition Card.

Ambition Card by College Ave
Find My Application