Kelly Holland, Study Abroad Coordinator & Jenny Stout, Financial Aid Officer explain the details of Financial Aid with regard to study abroad programming.
Financial aid comes in many shapes and sizes: loans, grants, scholarships. The majority of financial aid will apply to study abroad programs, but it is mandatory that your student confirm their status with the Office of Financial Aid. A financial aid counselor will discuss all aspects of how the student's specific financial aid package can apply to a particular study abroad program, based on the program budget provided on our website.
Students who file a FAFSA with Eastern Illinois University are eligible for our financial need-based scholarships. For more information on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, please use this link.
Education Abroad Fee
For each term that a student studies abroad, he/she will be charged a $300 study abroad fee (for independent programs) and a $45/cr. hour fee (for faculty-led programs). All EIU fees will be billed to the student's account.
We have programs that start as low at $5,300 (everything budgeted in) a semester to as much at $25,000 (everything budgeted in) depending on where they decide to go. Fees payable and how they are paid depend on the program. Payment information is available on the program's budget sheet (cost breakdown), which is linked from the program's information page.
These costs will depend on the program or even the country in which students choose to live. Again, please refer to program's information page and budget sheet.
On campus: the student typically pays for the semester to the institution where they are studying. Students may also be charged monthly installments payable to the institution organizing their accommodation.
Off campus: students will pay rent monthly, along with the costs of utilities.
Host family: students are usually responsible for paying directly to their host family monthly fees for housing and meals.
All students must have a current passport with an expiration date beyond six months of their travel. If a student does not have current passport, they must apply for one as soon as possible to allow for processing. For more information on cost and applying for a passport in Charleston or at home, visit our page.
Some students must also apply for and obtain a visa for their stay abroad, particularly when traveling for more than 90 days. The Office of Study Abroad will work with the student to confirm the visa requirements if necessary.
For most programs, students are responsible for their own airfare to their study abroad location and for their return trip. The cost of the travel depends on where the student is studying and for how long. The study abroad can recommend various ways to find inexpensive flights, but will not book itineraries for students.
Payments & Billing
An electronic bill is issued to students once a month within the first week of each month. A notification is sent to each student's PantherMail letting the student know that a statement has been posted on their PAWS account. Payment is due by the due date, which is provided on the statement, in order to avoid a 1% finance charge. Students should look for their first bill for the Fall semester around August 1st, and December 1st for the Spring semester.
Based on the Program Budget that is tied to each individual program, you will see a color coded list of costs. As explained on the spreadsheet, the red indicates costs billed directly to the student account and the blue includes costs that are estimated by our partners and our office.
Making Payments to Host Institutions
Depending on the type of program that a student chooses, there will be a variety of ways to make payments. If a student is attending a faculty-led program (all fees are listed in red on the program budget), then the payments will be made directly to Eastern. In the case of an independent program (fees are listed in blue), students will be paying our partner institutions. Often times the university will include a payment process form with the certificate of enrollment; this will include details on how to make an international bank transfer from your US bank to the account abroad.
EIU is not responsible for fees paid to other institutions.
Kelly explains Study Abroad Grant & Scholarship opportunities
The Office of Study Abroad offers over $100K in scholarship funds for qualified students with a 2.5 GPA or higher. We distribute both merit-based and financial-need based awards between $500 and $2,000 per student. Additional endowed scholarships are available from our office with awards up to $500. Be sure your student consults their academic department to see if there are scholarship funds available, as well as checking the scholarship search engine provided by the Office of Financial Aid.
In exchange for scholarship funds from our office, students agree to 4 hours of service within one semester of their study abroad program as part of the Study Abroad Ambassadors initiative. There are many different ways to complete these hours: blogging, submitting photos or videos, creating flyers or posters, and participating in on-campus events. Completion of service hours is arranged by the Study Abroad Coordinator.
Students are encouraged to review local, state, national and federal scholarships in their pursuit for funds. By planning ahead for deadlines, many students can access enough funds to pay for a significant amount of their program.
Click here to learn more about eligibility and evaluation criteria for scholarships administered by the Office of Study Abroad.
Students wishing to withdrawal from their program should contact the Office of Study Abroad to learn the consequences of withdrawing. The EIU refund policy is outlined in his/her application packet. Read this carefully to avoid financial penalties. At most foreign universities, students will not be refunded any fees paid.
- For Faculty-led and specific customized programs, students have up until the application date to withdraw and only be charged a $50 processing fee. If they decide to withdraw after this date however they will be charged the whole cost of the program.
- For most other Independent Programs, students will have until 30 days before their program starts to withdraw and will only be charged the $50 processing fee. If they decide within 29 days or fewer, they will be charged the whole cost of the program.
The best source of obtaining money while studying abroad is an ATM card, which allows you to use or obtain cash from an account in the US. Credit cards are also useful and should be kept in case of emergency. Have your student leave their credit card numbers with you in case they are lost or stolen. A student should also provide you with bank account numbers in the event that a transfer of funds is necessary. Bear in mind that sending money via wire transfer can be costly.
- Tip: Remind your student to inform their bank/credit card companies about his or her plans to study abroad, including dates and location of travel. This will ensure that the card and it's associated accounts will not be frozen due to security precautions against identity theft.
- Tip: All study abroad students attend a mandatory departure orientation. They receive important information at this meeting regarding budgeting for their time abroad and financing their program. They also receive a student handbook to study abroad. You may want to look over it with your student before he or she departs.