Study Abroad Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use financial aid for study abroad?
Yes. It is possible to use financial aid for virtually every study abroad option. Even if you have not received aid in the past, you should consider applying for financial aid for the period of your study abroad. You must be enrolled in a degree-seeking program to be eligible for financial aid.
Where do I find more specific information on financial aid for study abroad?
After you have chosen a study abroad program contact the Study Abroad Coordinator to discuss financial aid study abroad procedures.
What kind of aid is available and what can be applied?
There are six basic types of financial aid:
- Need-based financial aid: This type of aid depends on an evaluation of your financial need and is processed by the Viterbo Financial Aid Office. It includes, but is not limited to, Wisconsin state grants, Federal Pell Grant, and Federal Direct Loans. This aid can be used for study abroad.
- Alternative/Private Education Loans: These loans are not need-based and are designed to supplement the parent/student contribution to your educational costs. They can be used alone or in conjunction with other financial aid to finance your study abroad costs. Alternative loans require a separate application directly through the lender. More information is available on the Viterbo webpage or from your specific lender (i.e., Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank, etc.). This aid can be used for study abroad.
- The Viterbo Study Abroad Scholarship: This replaces any and all other Viterbo Scholarships or the Viterbo Need Grant that you might normally receive for the semester. It also requires a special application due Feb. 1 the year before you plan to study abroad. Applications are available in the Study Abroad Office.
- Private Scholarships: Funds from a source other than Viterbo. You will need to check with the donor to see what can be used. Many private grantors are glad to see students gain international experience and allow their funds to be used.
- Other Sources of Scholarships and Grants: Often particular study abroad programs will offer specific scholarships for their own program. Read carefully to see what funds are available and apply.
- Gilman Study Abroad Scholarship: This program is offered through the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State and is administered by the Institute of International Education. Selected recipients are awarded up to $5,000. For more information visit their website: www.iie.org/programs/gilman.
How do I apply for financial aid?
For need-based aid you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the Viterbo Institutional Data Form (IDF), which is available from the Financial Aid Office.
When should I start applying for financial aid?
It is never too early. The FAFSA packet is available in January for the following academic year. Scholarship application deadlines vary. Keep in mind that financial aid procedures for study abroad will take additional time and planning. Applications for the Viterbo Study Abroad Scholarship are due Feb. 1 the year before you plan to travel.
Are there special procedures involved in using financial aid to study abroad?
Yes. In order for you to use your financial aid for your study abroad program, you must work with the Study Abroad Coordinator to select and approve your program as well as to develop a cost budget for use by the Financial Aid Office. Your Viterbo financial aid is not pplicable unless these procedures are completed prior to departure.
How much of my costs will financial aid cover?
It depends on the following variables: your study abroad program cost, your financial need, and the amount of any alternative loans to which you will have access. In reviewing your options, you should also consider how much loan debt you are willing to incur.
Will the number of credits I take affect my financial aid?
Yes. The credit load requirements are the same as those for on-campus study. For specific details refer to the financial aid application instructions, included in your FAFSA packet. In general, the Viterbo Study Abroad Scholarship requires a minimum of 12 credits per semester. Most government-funded grants require a minimum of 6 credits per semester of enrollment. Loans also require 6 credits per semester.
Do my grades affect my future financial aid?
Yes. Failure to successfully complete your program will impact your financial aid status in the same as if you studied on campus. If you do not successfully complete the program, you may have to repay some or all of the aid you received for the term.
Can I defer past loans while studying abroad?
Yes. Loans should automatically be deferred when you take a “Leave of Absence” from Viterbo. However, should you receive a letter from your Loan Agency that repayment must begin, check with the Study Abroad Coordinator to gain assistance on deferment.
Who is responsible for taking care of my financial aid while I’m overseas?
You are responsible. The Viterbo Study Abroad Coordinator and the Financial Aid office will assist you in making the necessary arrangements to ensure that all funds are sent to the appropriate places. Keep in mind that you must make these arrangements prior to your departure or your aid may not be released and/or delayed.
What happens if I drop out of a program before completion?
You must be aware of withdrawal procedures for the program that you choose. Make immediate contact with the Study Abroad Coordinator if you withdraw. It is very unlikely, however, that you will receive any refund. Financial Aid refund policies will be applied according to federal guidelines. You will be notified if you are required to repay any or all of the financial aid you received.