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Financial Aid and GSE Scholarship Information

Global Student Experience understands that not every student has the means to directly pay program fees and welcomes students to explore financial aid and scholarship opportunities. Financial aid may be allocated to cover all reasonable expenses of your study abroad trip.  These include program tuition and fees, passport and visa fees, round-trip airfare, and other costs of living that may be incurred while abroad.

GSE also offers its own scholarships!  See section below (GSE Scholarships) for more information.

Applying for Financial Aid

In order to receive financial aid a student generally must carry a full-time load at the host institution abroad and receive transferable credit for the program toward his or her degree. Credit received on a study abroad program does not have to fulfill major requirements, but can be recognized as elective credits that advance the student toward a degree (i.e. language credits). 

If you are currently receiving or are planning on using financial aid to pay for all or part of your expenses while abroad, go to the financial aid office on your campus in order to determine whether aid will transfer to your GSE program.  Apply early to ensure the procedures are carried out correctly.  This will enable you to receive notification of your award and help you plan for other financial arrangements that you may need to make in order to go on a GSE program.  Apply through the Financial Aid Office at your home university.  Although procedures differ from university to university, the first step will be to fill out a FAFSA form available at  Make sure you follow all of your institution’s requirements and regulations. 

What information do your financial aid and study abroad offices need?

Once your home institution approves the program, Global Student Experience will sign a “Consortium" or "Contractual” agreement with your home University. As part of this agreement, GSE will provide your school’s financial aid office with an approximate budget for your study abroad program in order to help determine how much aid you will receive.

How to use financial aid for your GSE study abroad program
(Please note that it is ultimately the discretion of the student's U.S. college or university whether federal and/or state financial aid is transferable to a GSE study abroad program):

1. Visit your university study abroad and financial aid offices to inform them of your plans to use financial aid to pay for a GSE study abroad program.

2. Inform GSE of your intent to use financial aid to pay for part or all of your program fees.

3. You must make your Confirmation Payment 14 days after you are accepted to your GSE program, regardless of whether you are receiving financial aid.  The Confirmation Payment is $500 for summer programs or $750 for quarter, trimester, semester, or year programs.  This payment reserves your spot on the program and enables GSE to make arrangements on your behalf before receiving your final payment.

4. Your financial aid advisor should contact GSE directly if a Consortium Agreement or Contractual Agreement needs to be completed.

5. Complete the GSE Financial Aid Forms (supplied in the Acceptance Packet if you indicate that you plan to use financial aid)

6. Have your financial aid advisor complete the Financial Aid Disbursement Form supplied by GSE in order to document the amount of financial aid you will be receiving, as well as the disbursement dates of that financial aid.

7. It is ultimately your responsibility to ensure that GSE receives your final payment.  If your financial aid is being disbursed after the GSE final payment deadline for your program, you will either pay the full final payment on or before the deadline, or demonstrate a guarantee of full final payment by completing all GSE and home university financial aid paperwork.  When all financial aid paperwork has been completed and disbursement dates are verified, you will send GSE a check for your balance, post-dated for one week after your financial aid is disbursed.  The post-dated check MUST be received on or before the final payment deadline for the student's program to avoid late fees or jeopardizing participation in the program.

What is a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and why you should fill one out?

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, is used to apply for federal student financial aid, including grants, loans, and work-study. In addition, it is used by most states and schools to award non-federal student financial aid. You can use your federal student financial aid to fund your study abroad experience on the condition that your home institution approves use of this financial aid and provides pre-approval for the credit you can earn abroad.

How do you complete your FAFSA?

For more complete information on how to complete a FAFSA visit It is important to keep in mind that each state has its own individual deadline dates by which the FAFSA form should be completed for the next academic year. Contact your financial aid office to see if you are close to a deadline date for your FAFSA application. Bring all information that you received after completing the FAFSA to your financial aid office. Your FAFSA information will help your home institution guide you through possible financial aid options.

What other types of aid are available?

Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program

Established by the International Academic Opportunity Act of 2000, this congressionally-funded program provides awards for U.S. undergraduate students to study abroad who are receiving federal Pell Grant funding at their college or university. Through a competitive selection process, awards of up to $5,000 are given to U.S. undergraduate students to study abroad for up to one academic year. The award may be used for tuition and fees, room and board, books, local transportation, health insurance, and international airfare. Candidates must be undergraduate students at a U.S. two-year or four-year college or university and currently receiving the Federal Pell Grant at the time of application. Approximately 15% of applicants are selected to receive the Gilman Scholarship with a total of 360 awards made in two cycles each year. The deadline for the fall application cycle is April 15 and the deadline for the spring application cycle is September 26. For more information and full eligibility criteria, visit To apply online, go to You may also contact the Gilman office directly by writing to Gilman International Scholarship Program, Institute of International Education - Houston, 520 Post Oak Blvd., Ste. 740, Houston, TX 77027, calling 1-888-887-5939 x25 or 1-713-621-6300 x25, sending a fax to 1-713-621-0876, or sending an e-mail to

Federal Pell Grants

A Federal Pell Grant is not a loan and does not have to be repaid. Pell Grants are usually a foundation of financial aid, to which aid from other federal and nonfederal sources might be added. For more information, visit

(Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants)

An FSEOG is given to undergraduate students with exceptional financial needs and the lowest Expected Family Contributions (EFC) number. Those students who receive Federal Pell Grants are given priority. An FSEOG is not a loan and does not have to be paid off. You can learn more about the FSEOG by visiting the website:

Federal Perkins Loans

A Federal Perkins Loan is a low-interest (five percent) loan for both undergraduate and graduate students with exceptional financial needs. Your school acts as the lender and the loan is backed by government funds. You must repay this loan to your home institution. Your award amount depends on when you apply, your level of need, your Expected Family Contributions (EFC), and the school’s funding level. Ask the financial aid office at your home institution for more information; you can also learn more at

Stafford Loans

Stafford Loans, also known as a Direct Loan or a Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL), come as subsidized or unsubsidized loans. A subsidized loan is awarded based on financial need and the recipient does not pay interest until the repayment period, usually arranged after graduation. An unsubsidized loan is not awarded based on financial need and the recipient will be charged interest from the time the loan is disbursed until it is paid in full. Completing your FAFSA form is the first step in applying for a Stafford Loan. More information about direct loans can be found at or by visiting your financial aid office.

Federal PLUS Loans

These are loans taken out by your parents to pay for your educational expenses. Types include Direct PLUS Loans and FFEL PLUS Loans. Your parents may apply if you are a dependent and if they pass a credit check. Your parents must complete and submit a PLUS Loan application, available from your school or lender. After the school completes its portion of the application, it must be sent to a lender for evaluation. For more information visit your school’s financial aid office.

Additional Resources

Don't limit yourself in your search for study abroad financial assistance, as there is a wide variety of opportunities to obtain funding for your GSE study abroad program!  Please note that GSE is not affiliated with the following lenders or scholarship funds.
Study Abroad Funding (, sponsored by IIE Passport, provides links to a variety of study abroad scholarships and grants based on your host country and/or academic subject(s) of study while abroad.

Fast Web ( provides a scholarship search as well as advice on searching for and using loans, grants, and other types of financial aid.

College Board (, along with resources for researching and applying for college, offers a database of more than 2,300 sources of college funding, totaling nearly $3 billion in financial aid opportunities.  Do a Quick Search for "study abroad" or "international," or fill out a profile (it's free) for more advanced search options and scholarship matches that are right for you.

Phi Kappa Phi Study Abroad Grants ( are designed to help support undergraduates as they seek knowledge and experience in their academic fields by studying abroad. Forty-five $1,000 grants are awarded each year.

The Department of Education ( is the official resource for federal financial aid and can provide the most comprehensive and up-to-date information for Pell grants, Stafford loans, FSEOG, and more.

The National Security Education Program's Boren Awards ( provide funding opportunities for U.S. undergraduate and graduate students to add an important international and language component to their educations. Boren Scholarships and Fellowships focus on geographic areas, languages, and fields of study that are critical to U.S. interests.

International Education and Financial Aid ( boasts a list of nearly 2,000 scholarships designed specifically for the international education student.  Students can customize searches by award type, study abroad destination, and area(s) of study.

Sallie Mae ( provides information on Stafford and Parent PLUS loans in addition to the Sallie Mae Smart Option Student Loan -- an ideal option for students who still need funds after they have maximized federal loans. With this loan, students can borrow up to the full cost of their education, less other aid received. Students who plan to study abroad are eligible for Sallie Mae as long as they are enrolled full-time at a college or university abroad and are expecting to earn a degree abroad, or who are studying abroad for a short time and expecting to earn a degree from a U.S. institution.

The British Universities Transatlantic Exchange Association (BUTEX, awards sixteen scholarships to U.S. and Canadian students studying abroad for either a semester or an academic year at one of its member institutions; GSE's UK partner for semester and year programs, London Metropolitan University, is a BUTEX member. Students must submit an application and either a short essay or a poster promoting study abroad to be considered for this scholarship.

GSE Scholarship Information

GSE provides a number of different scholarships to help assist GSE participants pay for their program tuition costs abroad.  Applying for a GSE Scholarship is easy.  Adhere to the listed Scholarship Application Requirements or call GSE at (866) 756-2443 to get started today!


Scholarship Application Requirements:


-          Be currently enrolled in a college or university in the U.S. or Canada

-          Send GSE an official college or university transcript

-          Must be accepted into a GSE program

-          Meet the GPA  and other listed requirement assigned to each scholarship

-          Complete an essay of at least 400 words answering the Scholarship Question

-          Follow all of the GSE Policies; GSE reserves the right to revoke any scholarship if a GSE participant does not adhere to the GSE policies.

-          Students may only apply for one GSE scholarship

-          Deadlines:
-    Summer 2013 Program: March 15, 2013
-    Fall 2013 Program or Year 2013-2014:  May 15, 2013
-    Spring 2014 Program: September 1, 2013


Please send all Scholarship Essays and information to:


Global Student Experience Scholarships

17752 Skypark Circle, Suite 235

Irvine, CA 92614


Below is a complete list of available GSE Scholarships:


GSE Language Development Scholarship

Amount:  $500

Minimum GPA:  2.7

For any student who will be studying on a GSE quarter, semester, or year long foreign language program to any location.


Scholarship Question

Why is it important for Americans to acquire a second language?  What is the main benefit you expect to gain from the GSE language development program you will be participating in?


GSE Business Studies Scholarship

Amount:  $1000

Minimum GPA:  3.0

Open to any GSE student studying Business courses in London, Sydney, Paris, or Barcelona for a semester or year.


Scholarship Question

International business and globalization are growing trends.  How do these factors influence your life everyday in America?  How do you expect them to influence your daily life abroad?

GSE Liberal and Studio Arts Scholarship
Amount:  $1000
Minimum GPA:  3.0
For any student who will be studying on a GSE semester or year program to Lorenzo de' Medici in Florence, London Metropolitan University, or Macquarie University (Sydney) with academic studies focused on courses in studio arts, liberal arts, fine arts, or performing arts.
Scholarship Question
Florence, London, and Sydney each have their own distinct historical and contemporary climates for artistic expression.  Describe how the artistic heritage of your chosen study abroad destination will influence your personal growth.

GSE Academic Scholarship

Amount:  $1000

Minimum GPA:  3.0

For any student who will be studying on any GSE trimester, semester, or year long academic program to any location.


Scholarship Question

Research a major political, scientific, social or economic issue surfacing in Europe, South America, or Australia today.  Explain and support your point of view on the topic.


GSE Summer Scholarship

Amount:  $250

Minimum GPA:  3.0

For any student who will be attending a GSE summer program in any location.


Scholarship Question

What do you believe will be the most important thing you are going to take away from the GSE summer program?

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