Using Financial Aid and Other Funding Sources

Many students who study abroad do so with the assistance of various forms of financial aid. Students who qualify for federal, state or institutional aid in the form of grants, loans, or scholarships through the University of Kansas may apply these awards toward study abroad costs provided that they are enrolled in a study abroad program through Study Abroad & Global Engagement (SAGE) at the University of Kansas. Students are urged to educate themselves about their own particular situation and their eligibility for minimum/maximum awards while choosing a study abroad program.

Federal Financial Aid

Students can use their existing federal financial aid toward their study abroad program cost if they are awarded aid for the term they plan to study abroad. Any student who wishes to receive or use their existing financial aid to study abroad is encouraged to make an appointment with their Financial Aid Counselor to discuss financial aid options.  

KU Scholarships

Students can use existing KU renewable institutional scholarships they received upon admissions to KU toward study abroad program costs if they were awarded a KU scholarship for the term they plan to study abroad.

Kansas Resident Scholarships

For semester and academic year programs, students can use their existing KU Scholarships toward their study abroad program fees.  Summer scholarships are not awarded.

Out-of-State Scholarships

These scholarships are awarded as partial tuition waivers. For semester and academic year programs, students can use their partial tuition waivers towards study abroad cost; however the scholarship amounts will be adjusted depending on the study abroad program type. KU Exchange Programs are already billed at KS-Resident tuition, therefore the Out-of-State Scholarship will be converted to the equivalent Kansas Resident Scholarship. Tuition for direct enroll and Student Initiated Programs are not billed by KU, but directly by the host institution, so students are billed the host institution rate. Therefore the Out-of-State Scholarship that the student normally receives will be converted from a partial tuition waiver to a scholarship (in the dollar amount of the tuition waiver).    Summer Out-of-State Scholarships cannot be applied to summer study abroad.  If you have questions on how KU out-of-state scholarships can be applied towards study abroad costs, contact your Financial Aid Counselor.

International Student Scholarships

These are usually awarded as tuition waivers and can not be used towards most study abroad programs.  International Student Scholarships can be used towards faculty-led study abroad programs where students are enrolled in KU study abroad courses taught by KU faculty which charge KU tuition.

KU Endowment Loans

KU Endowment Loans can be up to $4,000 and is a low interest loan perfect for students who need funds to cover upfront costs such as passport, visa or airfare.  This loan is disbursed typically 2 weeks after application.

Private/Alternative Loans

Private/Alternative Loans are also an option for students who are not awarded enough federal financial aid to cover the entire program cost.

Steps for Using Financial Aid for Study Abroad

If you have not done so already, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) available online. You must also complete an online study abroad program application by program deadlines. If you wish to be considered for a KU SAGE Scholarship you must complete the Scholarship Application by the deadline.

In your program application checklist in the JayhawksAbroad portal you will see an item called “Using Financial Aid & Scholarships?” If you intend to use scholarships, loans, VA benefits, and/or any other form of financial aid or scholarships to pay for your study abroad program, you must answer ‘YES’.  Once you have done this, SAGE will submit your study abroad budget to the Financial Aid and Scholarships office (FAS) after you are accepted into the study abroad program. This budget will provide the total estimated program cost to FAS, which will be used to calculate your financial aid for study abroad.

After the Financial Aid and Scholarships office (FAS) receives your budget, you must contact their office and complete any materials needed to request additional financial aid. You are not guaranteed to be eligible for enough federal financial aid to pay all costs associated with your study abroad program so it is important to look into alternate funding sources with FAS ScholarshipsKU Endowment LoansPrivate/Alternative Loans.  NOTE: DO NOT commit to a study abroad program until you have secured enough financial aid and know that you can cover all costs associated with the program.

Once your aid is posted on your KU Enroll & Pay account, accept it and complete any promissory notes for loans. When you’ve secured enough aid to cover all costs of the program, you can commit to your study abroad program by signing the Financial Contract with SAGE. After committing to your KU study abroad program fees will be posted to your KU Enroll & Pay account according to the billing cycle. See Billing for more information.  In order for your aid to transfer, you must also enroll in the designated course(s) for your study abroad program on Enroll & Pay.


We highly recommend setting up Direct Deposit so that excess financial aid is disbursed directly into your bank account.  

When is Financial Aid Disbursed?

Federal Grants, Federal Loans, and KU Scholarships are typically disbursed and available on the first day of on-campus classes, and cannot be disbursed earlier, regardless of the study abroad program dates. Students who depart before aid is disbursed, will need to plan on having funds available to cover expenses until their financial aid is disbursed.

Using Veterans Benefits for Study Abroad

Many veterans and veteran dependents are able to use their benefits to help fund their study abroad experience.  If you are interested in using your VA benefits to assist in payment of a study abroad program, you will need to work closely with Study Abroad & Global Engagement and your KU Veterans Benefits Coordinator to find a program that meets the VA requirements of the VA and your study abroad goals.  KU Study Abroad provides program budgets for all KU study abroad programs on the program page.

In general, these conditions must be met:

  • Study abroad programs must be approved by the VA (all KU faculty-led programs and universities listed on the VA WEAMS database are approved).
  • Students must be enrolled in courses that will apply to their degree program.
  • The courses at the "host" school in the foreign country must be approved and apply towards degree.

VA cannot pay any fees specific to studying abroad (study abroad program fees) unless the student is required to study abroad as part of their degree (only KU Architecture students).

VA benefits cannot pay third-party/study abroad program providers/companies

The BAH (Basic Allowance for Housing) is available if the program is an approved study abroad program through VA.

If you are a veteran or dependent of a veteran and you are interested in using your funding, be sure to let the KU VA office know and complete all the necessary paperwork through office.


Using 529 Plans for Study Abroad

Many students who use 529 plans (college savings accounts) to fund their education at KU can also use their 529 plan for study abroad. Study abroad expenses such as tuition and fees, program fees, room and board, and required textbooks are eligible to be funded with a 529 plan, just like they are in the United States.

Study abroad expenses that are not able to be covered with 529 plans include transportation, international health insurance, medical costs not covered by U.S. health insurance, basic living expenses, and any costs associated with an international cell phone.

KU study abroad program budgets will detail which payments, if any, are made through KU Enroll & Pay. Depending on the program, some fees will be paid directly to the host institution or program provider and not billed through KU. Using 529 plans to pay for study abroad expenses follow the same process as paying for on-campus courses. 


The information on this page is directed towards students at the University of Kansas. Non-KU students should contact the study abroad personnel or financial aid offices on their home campus for their school's policies concerning financial planning for study abroad.