Study Abroad Finances
Financing Study Abroad
Listed below general guidelines regarding financial aid eligibility for students on study abroad programs. However, as each student's financial situation is unique, it is your responsibility to meet with a financial aid counselor while planning your semester(s) abroad.
Financial Aid Counseling
Financial Aid Counselors are available to meet with students by appointment to discuss their specific study abroad plans and their financial aid eligibility. To set up an appointment with your counselor, please call the Financial Aid office at 275-3226, stop by our front desk, or email your counselor directly. Counselor assignments and contact information are listed online at www.enrollment.rochester.edu/financialaid.
What will I discuss about study abroad with my financial aid counselor?
Your counselor is available to answer a variety of questions concerning study abroad, including topics that touch on the types of aid that can be used for a UR approved study abroad program vs. a non-UR approved program, the availability of outside scholarships, budgeting your indirect costs while out of the country, and a few other topics related to financial aid and studying abroad.
All undergraduate students interested in applying for financial aid must complete a Free Application for Federal Students (FAFSA) online at www.fafsa.ed.gov. Select students will also need to provide additional documentation, including institutional forms and relevant tax information, to the College Board's IDOC program. Students required to send their application to IDOC will be notified via email by both the Financial Aid Office and the College Board prior to the April 15 deadline.
Students can track the status of their financial aid application by logging into their account in FAOnline.
Returning student who do not submit their financial aid application with all supporting documentation by April 15 deadline should be aware that they are not guaranteed full consideration for need-based assistance and may have their adi reduced due to limited funding.
UR Programs: All students studying on UR-sponsored programs will be charged UR tuition and room costs for their semester abroad. These charges will appear on your UR term bill. The bill will not reflect the registration for your specific study abroad program, but will show any anticipated or expected financial aid. The standard UR housing charge covers the basic housing level that the program offers, generally with one or two roommates. Some programs offer optional premium housing, but students who choose to take advantage of such optional housing are responsible for any additional costs.
Cost figures are estimated by the Center for Study Abroad in consultation with program sponsors. These figures will include UR tuition and room charges, fees, board, personal expenses, international airfare, books and other required expenses. Optional expenses, such as additional travel, restaurant dining, visa fees, and souvenirs are not considered when calculating educational costs for the semester/year. These discretionary costs are the student's responsibility.
If you are a financial aid recipient you will be eligible to receive financial aid during your semester abroad. If your total program cost is less than the cost of studying at UR for that semester, your need-based aid will be reduced proportionately. Merit awards will not be reduced. Please see your financial aid counselor to discuss your specific situation, including which awards are need-based.
Non-UR Programs: Each non-UR program has a different fee depending on what the program includes (room, board, tuition, etc.), as well as cost of living in the host country, currency exchange, and other factors. Keep in mind that studying in Paris, London, or Tokyo will prove much more costly than a semester in Jerusalem or Lima.
If you choose to study on a non-UR program, you will not be eligible to receive the same financial aid. Most importantly, you will not be eligible for any University of Rochester assistance. It is especially important to discuss your plans with your financial aid counselor to determine what types of aid you will eligible for while abroad and to ensure the continuation of your aid when you return. A small number of study abroad programs have their own financial aid available; applications are available from the sponsors.
Federal Direct Loans and Federal Pell Grants may be used while on a non-UR program, provided that you have completed a Consortium/Contractual agreement and the Financial Aid Office has verified the program sponsor's eligibility. TAP awards for NYS residents can be used if the non-UR program is sponsored by a NY college or university.
In order to be eligible for these funds (as well as for a Parent PLUS or alternative loan(s)) for the semester you are abroad, you must complete a Consortium/Contractual Agreement. This can be obtained from the Financial Aid Office, or online through FAOnline. Detailed instructions on completing the Agreement are included. A Consortium/Contractual Agreement involves multiple steps and requires several signatures, so do not delay in completing this requirement. Your coursework must be approved before the UR Dean can sign the Consortium Agreement.
Once students are admitted to programs, they are required to inform the Center for Study Abroad and the program sponsor of their plans as quickly as possible. Many programs ask for a non-refundable deposit to hold a student's place in the program. Deposits range from $100 to $1000 and are discussed in acceptance materials. The average is around $300.
For students admitted to IES programs: Upon admittance to an IES program, UR students will be asked to submit an Intent to Enroll form, rather than submitting the $500 confirmation deposit. If a student submits the Intent to Enroll form and subsequently decides not to participate in the program, they will be responsible for the $500 deposit.
In the event that you enroll in a study abroad program and are unable to complete it, refunds, if any, will be based on the UR's standard refund schedule, and on recoverable costs. The refund schedule is applied according to the calendar of the study abroad program. If you enroll in a non-UR program, no refund is possible for the UR study abroad fee ($1,398), and you would communicate directly with the program sponsor about the possiblity of any refund of the program fee.
If you are participating in a study abroad program in the fall, your fall semester statement will be posted online in UR ePAY in mid-July. If you are participating in a study abroad program in the spring, your spring semester statement will be posted online in UR ePay in mid-December. You will not receive a statement in November unless you have a balance from the fall semester. Students participating in a full-year program will be billed on a semester basis. *Please note that all students studying abroad will be charged the campus post office box fee, unless you close your post office box by turning in your key and providing a forwarding address*
Your balance must be paid in full from the prior semester to register for a study abroad program. If you have a past due balance, you may settle your account with the Bursar's Office, 330 Meliora Hall, 275-3931. Your registration for a study abroad program is subject to cancellation if payment is not kept current and your past due balance is $5,000 or greater, or if you submit a check that is returned by the bank, unless acceptable arrangements are promptly made.
If you are participating in a non-UR program, UR will bill you for the study abroad fee ($1,398). You will be billed directly for the program cost by the college or university that sponsors your program.
Before You Leave
Update your billing address with the Bursar's Office before departure, and again when you return, if the billing address should change.
Contact the Bursar's Office before you leave if you are receiving an outside scholarship or alternative loan that requires your endorsement. We will make arrangements with you to have the check (s) signed so that you will be credited with the funds. If someone other than you will be handling your financial affairs while you are abroad, please be sure to share this information with that individual.
If you are expecting to receive a refund of financial aid (your financial aid exceeds your charges), you need to contact the Bursar's Office before you leave to make arrangements to receive this refund. If you are participating in a UR-sponsored program, the Bursar's Office cannot issue a refund until at least ten days prior to the start of classes at UR. If you are receiving NYS TAP, which is usually certified in late September for the fall semester or in late January for the spring semester, you will not receive that portion of your refund until those funds can be credited.
If you are on a non-UR program and have completed a Consortium Agreement, the Bursar's Office will need to verify your registration before financial aid can be credited to your account and a refund check issued. Your registration cannot be verified until your program start date; you should therefore plan to cover a minimum of one month's expenses before the refund will be available.
In Section III of the Consortium/Contractual Agreement, students are required to indicate how their refund check should be made payable. If you want your refund check to be issued to your study abroad program, this must be indicated on the Consortium/Contractual Agreement. If this section is left blank, the refund will be made payable to you and sent to your billing address. Payment will not be sent to the Consortium School unless you have requested this in Section III of the Consortium/Contractual Agreement.
If your Financial Aid Application is complete, and if your anticipated aid will more than cover the study abroad charges on your account, then the Bursar's Office may be able to advance funds to cover airfare or other expenses prior to departure. Contact your Financial Aid Counselor to inquire about this possibility.
Don't spend all your money in once place! Your spending money will need to make it through the several months of your study abroad program. Although there are many exciting things to do and purchase while you are abroad, pace yourself. Devise a budget and stick to it as closely as you can to avoid any problems while you are abroad!
Managing Your Money Abroad without the swipe of a card
Study abroad usually entails a drastic shift in the way you manage your money. No longer will you have a University of Rochester "flex account," or a meal plan. Instead, you'll find yourself paying for daily expenses out of pocket with cash or credit. Many students use ATM cards to withdraw cash (in the local currency) from a money machine. Not all cards work in all machines: make sure that your ATM card has the "Cirrus" or "Plus" logo on the back. Parents or family here in the U.S. may be able to monitor (or feed, if necessary) the bank account from this end while you withdraw from abroad. Some students have found it convenient to open an account at a major international bank, such as HSBC, which has branches overseas. However, this has not proved to be effective in all countries. Check with the bank before opening an account, in order to be sure that you will be able to access your account in the country where you'll be studying. You may also wish to ask your bank about ATM fees associated with using your card while abroad. Banks sometimes charge multiple fees for a single transaction, so using ATMs frequently can be very costly. In some instances, you can speak with a Bank Representative who may waive this type of fee while abroad.
Many students find that a convenient method of managing their finances while overseas is through the use of credit cards. The acceptability of credit cards varies greatly from country to country; in order to find out which credit card is accepted in the country where you're planning to study, check with the card issuer. Also visit the Web sites for the card(s) that you carry, such as VISA or MasterCard.
Just as you would in any unfamiliar setting here in the U.S., avoid carrying large amounts of cash with you. Also, when you do carry cash on your person, divide up the money so that some is in your money belt, some in a pouch beneath your shirt, some in a front pocket and some in a back pocket. This is a safeguard against theft.
You may want to change some money into the foreign currency before you depart. However, if you're going to a smaller country, U.S. banks may not carry the currency. Some students still choose to purchase travelers' cheques (such as American Express or Thomas Cooke). These are a safe way to carry your money, but they're not universally accepted, and not necessarily the cheapest way of handling your money (there is a fee for purchasing and cashing the cheques).
Remember that credit cards can be as risky as they are convenient. Without a certain amount of discipline and budgeting, you might return from abroad with a staggering credit card debt. The Credit Education Bureau, which has an office in Rochester, can suggest smart and effective ways to keep track of your credit card expenses.