Overcome Financial Barrriers to Study Abroad

By Jennifer Bailey, Tom Opitz

Overcome Financial Barrriers to Study Abroad

A common misconception among UW-Eau Claire students is that studying abroad is too expensive. But with help from the Financial Aid Office on campus, studying abroad can become a reality for anyone, including Laura Napier, a senior management major.

“I talked to a combination of the business cashier office and the international studies office, which actually directed me to the financial aid office.” she said.

Of the 276 students enrolled in Study Abroad for the 2008-2009 academic school year, 75% of those students apply for financial aid.

Financial Options

Financial options for students may include loans, grants, scholarships, and student employment. Some options are based on financial need, while some are not. For students looking to apply for financial aid, they should do so by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA determines a student’s eligibility for financial aid. If the amount of financial aid rewarded does not meet the total amount of money a student needs to study abroad, he or she should look into supplementary loans. These loans include private, parental, and alternative federal loans. For more information about supplementary loans, go to www.simpletuition.com.

Students should not eliminate their desire to study abroad simply because it appears to be unaffordable. “This as an investment for a one shot opportunity,” said Dale Johnson, study abroad financial aid counselor through the Financial Aid Office in Schofield 115.

However, for most college students, the opportunity of a lifetime gets passed over due to a lack of financial opportunities. Napier encourages all students to take advantage of the study abroad programs here at the university.

“Obviously, it’s something [money] you stress about," she said. "But once you are there and come back you never think about it. It’s worth every penny.”

When it came to methods to manage her finances, Napier said, “I prioritized trips that I wanted to go on and picked two. I had my dad transfer money when I needed it. It was good to have my dad approve my funds.”

Business students like Napier are already taking advantage of this experience due to the high interest of globalization.

“I think in every company you’ll have international contact. It’s good to have an open perspective to other cultures,” she said.

The priority dealine for financial aid for the 2009-2010 academic school year is April 15, 2009. The application deadlines for Study Abroad programs are listed on the Center for International Education Web site.

Jennifer Bailey

Jennifer Bailey, is a senior operations/material management major from New Lisbon, Wis; Tom Opitz, not pictured, is a senior marketing major from White Bear Lake, Min. They wrote this article for their BCOM Advanced Writing class.

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