Study Abroad

Financial Aid for Study Abroad

Scholarship Information
Academic Initiatives Stipend

Many students considering a study abroad or exchange program ask the question, "Will I be able to use my financial aid?" The answer is YES! Federal, state, and most institutional financial aid may be applied directly to the cost of your program as long as you are a degree-seeking student at UW-L. Students from other colleges or universities may be able to transfer aid through a consortium agreement (see below). However, it is your responsibility to make all arrangements for this. The information below outlines the steps you need to take and hopefully, will answer most of your questions.

The Financial Aid Office has prepared a useful reference brochure to answer many of your questions about applying financial aid to study abroad programs.  Their brochure is available here!

To be considered for financial aid you must complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Even if you have not received financial aid in the past you should consider applying for aid for your study abroad program. The form should be completed by you or your parents and sent to the federal processor. The FAFSA is available from the Financial Aid Office, 215 Graff Main Hall or online with the Department of Education. Once you have completed the FAFSA for the year in which you want to study abroad, you do not need to submit a revised application.

All UW-L students must also complete the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Financial Aid Information Form available from the Financial Aid Office and submit signed copies of your and your parents' (if a dependent) previous year's Federal Income Tax forms to the UW-L Financial Aid Office. Item number 21 asks you to indicate whether you will be studying abroad during the upcoming fall or spring semester. Again, you do not need to submit a revised form if you decide to study abroad after it has been submitted.

Summer study abroad participants on either a UW-L or NON UW-L program must complete a separate UW-L Summer Application for Financial Aid available from the Financial Aid Office.

Financial Aid for Students from other Universities Participating in a UW-L Study Abroad Program
Only students who are degree candidates at UW-L can receive financial aid from the UW-L Financial Aid Office. If you are a participant from another institution, you must ask your home campus' financial aid office to transfer your aid to La Crosse for the term(s) of your program. A formal, signed document between the two financial aid offices, called a "consortium agreement," must be completed. Procedures vary, so meet with your financial aid advisor at your home institution for more information on the steps to take.

Financial Aid Procedures for UW-L Students Participating in a NON UW-L program
It is possible to transfer financial aid through an optional agreement between eligible institutions called a "consortium agreement." Approval of the non UW-L program must be obtained from the Office of International Education before a consortium agreement can be processed. Federal financial aid is transferable to U.S. higher education institutions and Title IV schools only. A handout in the Financial Aid Office, Consortium Agreement Information, explains the procedures in detail.

FAO will process Consortium Agreements for UWL students attending programs offered by other UW System campuses, Viterbo University, Western Technical College and Winona State.  They will NOT initiate a Consortium Agreement for University of Minnesota or St. Mary's programs.  You will have to make an appointment with a representative in the UW-L FAO.   Bring with you the approval letter provided you by OIE.

Upon acceptance to your study abroad program and availability of program fee information, the Study Abroad Coordinator will forward a Foreign Study Financial Aid Budget Sheet to the UW-L Financial Aid Office if you indicated on your application that you intend to apply for financial aid. You do not need to initiate this process; it will be handled automatically. The budget form will include the program fee and estimated costs for transportation, housing and meals if not included in the program fee, and personal expenses for visa fees, books, materials, etc.

The Financial Aid Office will recalculate your need based on the figures provided on the budget form. If you have already received a financial aid proposal for the academic year you will receive a revised aid award only if your award amounts have changed. Stafford Loans received in the summer or Winter Intersession will reduce your eligibility for loans in the subsequent school year or semester.

A need-based study abroad grant of up to $2,000 is available from the State of Wisconsin for students who are 1) Wisconsin residents, 2) degree-seeking students at a UW System institution, and 3) participating in a UW System sponsored study abroad program (first priority will be given to UW-L programs). If you have applied for financial aid you will be automatically considered for this award; there is no separate application.

The Stafford Student Loans are federal aid that does not need to be paid back until six months after continuous enrollment at an institution of higher education ends or six months after enrolled less than ½ time. The subsidized Stafford Loan is need-based and does not accrue interest until the beginning of the repayment period. The unsubsidized Stafford Loan is NOT need-based, however interest accrues immediately but repayment may be deferred until enrollment ends or if your enrollment is less than half time. Regardless of the cost of your study abroad programs there is a limit on how much you can borrow on the Stafford Student Loans:

Yearly Loan Limit
Classification Amount

Freshmen (1-29 credits)


Sophomore (30-59 credits)   


Junior (60+ credits)




These yearly maximums may be less depending on the eligibility of other financial aid programs.

Cumulative Loan Limit
Classification Amount





Alternative loan programs are also available such as the Federal Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) and those through private lenders.  Upon receipt of your financial aid proposal, if you have any questions on alternative sources of aid, you should schedule an appointment with a Financial Aid Counselor in the Financial Aid Office, 215 Graff Main Hall or the financial aid advisor at your home campus, if you are completing a consortium agreement between your university and UW-L.

By Federal law, financial aid cannot be disbursed prior to the first day of each term at UW-L regardless of the beginning date of your study abroad program. Grants will be applied to your balance automatically. If you will be receiving a Perkins Loan you must sign the promissory note in the UW-L Cashier's Office prior to departure. Many banks now offer electronic transfer for student loans. If your bank still issues paper checks or you expect to receive a change check, you must file a UW-L Authorization to Mail Financial Aid form with the Cashier's Office to indicate where the check should be sent in your absence. The UW-L Financial Aid Office recommends that you and a parent or other designate complete a legal power of attorney with a Notary Public concerning the processing of all of your financial aid.

Federal Law mandates that post-secondary institutions participating in Federal Title IV Student Financial Aid Programs, including educational loans, must monitor credits attempted and credits earned by a student to ensure that students are progressing toward a degree or certificate. This creates a problem for study abroad students for the academic year and spring semester because transcripts from abroad are often not processed until the beginning of the fall semester, "red-flagging" study abroad students. You will receive a letter from the financial aid office over the summer telling you that financial aid cannot be processed. DO NOT PANIC! You MUST complete the Appeal Form and return it with a copy of your current UW-L academic transcript. State on the appeal form that you studied abroad. Your financial aid will be processed, however, you will be placed on "Financial Aid Probation" until your study abroad credits have been processed.


Study Abroad Scholarship Search Engines and Databases

Links to a number of scholarship and grants for study abroad is available on the FinAid website.

The University of Minnesota’s External Scholarship Database allows you to search for funding and scholarship opportunities for study abroad.

International Education Financial Aid

With hundreds of scholarship and grant listings, the Institute of International Education's (IIE) online directory Study Abroad Funding is among the most comprehensive directories for U.S. students to find funding for studying abroad.  The website features detailed descriptions of study abroad scholarships, fellowships, grants, and paid internships for U.S. undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate students.  These are searchable by name, field of study, continent, and country. All listings are free of charge and provide an excellent opportunity to publicize your institution's programs. 


The Fund for Education Abroad (FEA) was founded in 2008 to provide advice on the needs of students in education abroad and how best offer them more opportunities. The FEA is committed to increasing the opportunities for dedicated American students to participate in high-quality, rigorous education abroad programs by reducing financial restrictions through the provision of grants and scholarships.

Fund for Education Abroad: This is a resource for all kinds of aid to study abroad.

Country or Program Specific Scholarships:

Abroad 101 Scholarships
Abroad 101 believes in making international opportunities both accessible and affordable. So they have expanded beyond the review process by partnering with amazing organizations to offer unique scholarship opportunities for students going abroad. They are excited that they have been able to award $54,000 in scholarships so far, and they're not done yet!

If you are a thoughtful scholar who wants to become a more engaged global citizen, and you can creatively use social media to express this goal, apply today!

Abroad101's scholarships combine the two things they love: global citizenship and social media savvy. What that means is that scholarships are earned by students who compose a thoughtful and well-written essay, acquire a significant amount of Facebook "Likes" from people who vote for their entry, and have the academic credentials to gain admission to the program.

The American-Scandinavian Foundation (ASF) offers fellowships (up to $23,000) and grants (up to $5,000) to individuals to pursue research or study in one or more Scandinavian country for up to one year. The number of awards varies each year according to total funds available. Over $300,000 is available for the 2013-14 competition. Awards are made in all fields.

CEA Scholarships
Students who have applied and been accepted to a CEA program are eligible candidates for this award.
The CEA Scholarship program has been specially designed to meet the needs and qualifications for a wide range of students. CEA values the different backgrounds and experiences that a diverse student body brings to the study abroad experience, and we have a wide variety of scholarship options to provide funding to as many students as possible.

Applying is easy! Just have your students review the application procedure and fill out our Scholarship Application form for the study abroad scholarship best suited to your qualifications.


CEA Scholarship web page:


CIEE Scholarship
CIEE is excited to announce the launch of its Global Access Initiative (GAIN), which is designed to overcome the main barriers to study abroad, namely, challenges of cost and curriculum requirements. GAIN will expand the opportunities for students from all backgrounds and all majors to participate in study abroad programs.

Through GAIN, CIEE is committing one million dollars each year to students who are economically challenged, are pursuing intensive international experiences, or are otherwise limited by their major or student activities. CIEE will provide grants and scholarships to students for full-year, semester, and summer programs.

GAIN will launch in summer 2012 and provide access to study abroad programs for students unable to attend due to financial constraints. Grants and scholarships will be available for the 36 CIEE summer programs offered in 21 countries. GAIN will also provide grants and scholarships to students who are selected as awardees by the highly respected Benjamin A. Gilman and David L. Boren Scholarship programs.

Research shows that students who participate in study abroad programs graduate faster, experience benefits in career development, and find their overall experience to be the single most positive element of their time in college. GAIN was created to ensure that study abroad is available to all students.

For nearly 65 years, CIEE has been the leader in providing access to high quality study abroad programs around the world. Today, with 136 programs in 41 countries, CIEE offers more summer, semester, and year-long academic programs in more cities than any other international education organization and is committed to offering high quality programs that are available to every student, regardless of economic means or academic major.

For more information on GAIN, contact CIEE at or call 1.800.40.STUDY.

ISEP Scholarships
Students participating in the ISEP program are eligible to apply for the several ISEP-sponsored scholarships.

British Council USA lists funding and scholarship information for study in the United Kingdom.

BUTEX North American Scholarships are open to all undergraduate students currently registered at an institution in the USA or Canada. To be eligible to apply you must have been offered a study abroad or exchange place at a UK university which is BUTEX affiliated. Your study abroad or exchange place must be for the academic year and your place must be for a minimum of one semester.  If you are not sure whether your host institution is BUTEX affiliated, link to our list of members.  The value of each scholarship is £500 and will be paid to the winners once they have arrived and registered at their host university.

The Marshall Scholarship awards up to forty scholarships each year to study either at graduate or occasionally undergraduate level at an UK institution in any field of study.

The National Science Foundation promotes and advances scientific progress in the United States by competitively awarding grants and cooperative agreements for research and education in the sciences, mathematics, and engineering.

  • Marshall Scholarships finance young Americans of high ability to study for a degree in the United Kingdom. They are funded by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and administered by the Marshall Aid Commemoration Commission (MACC) in the UK, for which the ACU provides the Secretariat. For full information on applying for a scholarship and the MACC please visit

The National Science Foundation promotes and advances scientific progress in the United States by competitively awarding grants and cooperative agreements for research and education in the sciences, mathematics, and engineering.

The mission of the Truman Scholarship Foundation is:

  • to find and recognize college juniors with exceptional leadership potential who are committed to careers in government, the nonprofit or advocacy sectors, education or elsewhere in the public service; and
  • to provide them with financial support for graduate study, leadership training, and fellowship with other students who are committed to making a difference through public service.

DAAD, German Academic Exchange Service, offers undergraduate scholarships to highly qualified undergraduate students for semester, year or short-term study, university language or summer courses, senior thesis research and/or internships in the Federal Republic of Germany.

  • UAS7, a consortium of seven leading German Universities of Applied Sciences, promotes an innovative scholarship program SIP (Study & Internship in Germany). In cooperation with the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), they grant prestigious SIP Scholarships for one academic year starting in the fall each year.  SIP is a unique opportunity for students to accelerate their personal and intellectual growth and to add invaluable academic and professional credentials to their resume. The program consists of a full academic semester at one of the UAS7 universities in Germany and a 6-month internship with a German company or research institute.

The Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals (CBYX), a yearlong fellowship to study and intern in Germany.  CBYX is open to applicants in all career fields, though preference is given to students in vocational, technical, engineering, business, agricultural, and scientific fields. Students traditionally underrepresented in study abroad opportunities are especially encouraged to apply. The fellowship is funded by the U.S. and German governments through a grant provided by the US Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, under the authority of the Fulbright-Hays Act of 1961, as amended. The CBYX program covers the costs of and annually provides 75 participants with:

  • 2 months intensive German language training in Cologne, Bremen, Radolfzell, and Saarbrücken

  • Semester of study at a German university or university of applied sciences

  • 5-month internship with a German company in the participant's career field

  • Homestays with German host families, in shared apartments, and student dorms

  • Transatlantic airfare, health insurance, and monthly living expense stipends

  • Various seminars in the US and Germany

  • Local in-country support throughout the program

Prior German language knowledge is not required, though it is preferred. Applicants should have clear career goals and some relevant work experience in their career field, which may include summer, part-time, or internship work. Participants must be between the ages of 18-24, possess a high school diploma or equivalent, and be US citizens or permanent residents. Interested applicants can apply online at prior to the deadline.


Institute of International Education (IIE): Scholarships in China

Bridging Scholarships, sponsored by the Association of Teachers of Japanese, to assist with travel and living expenses for study abroad in Japan.

The Spanish-American Association of the Midwest offers scholarships to outstanding students who are going to study Spanish language, or literature, a combination of both, or other disciplines in the humanities at an accredited university in Spain.  For further information, call Klaus Müller-Bergh (847) 835-3351 or (312) 996-3241.

The Institute of International Education administers a number of programs for international students, scholars, and study abroad students including the Fulbright program, NSEP, and Freeman-ASIA Program.

  • Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program is sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State. Awards up to $5,000 for study abroad for U.S. students who are also receiving federal Pell Grant funding.
  • NSEP scholarships assist US undergraduates to acquire skills and experience in less-commonly studied languages and cultures.
  • The Freeman-Asia Program, will increase the number of American undergraduates who study in East and Southeast Asia, by providing students with information and financial assistance.
  • The Midwest Regional Center of the Institute of International Education has available awards of one $4,000, three $2,000, and several $1,000 study abroad scholarships for students attending a Midwest college or university which is a member of IIE's Educational Associates program.

Fulbright Scholarships
The Fulbright Program provides grants for Graduate Students, Scholars and Professionals, and Teachers and Administrators from the U.S. and other countries.  Check out our PowerPoint presentation!

Rotary Foundation Scholarships
The Ambassadorial Scholarships Program of The Rotary Foundation is the world's largest privately funded international scholarships program.

LIVFund - Learn, Intern & Volunteer in Latin America
The LIVFund Scholarship has been designed for anyone who wants to learn, intern or volunteer abroad in Latin America and is seeking financial assistance to offset program or living abroad expenses. Two [2] scholarships are awarded per month in the amount of $500 each for studying, interning or volunteering abroad in the following Latin American countries: Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, and Venezuela.  Candidates coming to Latin America with an organized program, designing their own program or waiting to be accepted to an abroad program are eligible to apply.  Students, interns and volunteers who are already abroad are also eligible to receive funding.  Candidates may apply for the LIVFund Scholarship up to six [6] months in advance of their program start date.  Applications are accepted year-round.  For more information, please visit the LIVFund website or e-mail

Spanish-American Institute of International Education (SAIIE), Seville, Spain
 Has established SAIIE Athletic Scholarships for participants of their rowing, soccer, and volleyball programs.  Five (5) $200 scholarships will be available for summer programs and five (5) $500 scholarships will be available each semester.  If awarded, the scholarship amount will be deducted from the awardee’s athletic program cost.  Learn more here:

Turkish Coalition of America
The Turkish Coalition of America (TCA) has established a diverse array of scholarship programs that support its educational mission.  In line with its mission to engage and cultivate a new generation of young Turkish American Leaders.  TCA offers the TCAdvance Scholarship program for Turkish American students.  A wide range of scholarships are available for American minority students wishing to study in Turkey and support TCA's mission to build bridges between the U.S. and Turkey.

The UW-L Foundation administers a large number of scholarships established over the years by alumni and special friends of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Eligibility varies but all scholarships are applicable only to UW-L students participating on UW-L sponsored study abroad programs.  Applications for these scholarships are due by February 15th for programs taking place during the following academic year.  For example, participation in a spring 2014 program means that the application would be due February 15, 2014.

  • Lloyd Meiners Fund in International Education to support students engaged in international educational exchange with significant academic achievement.
  • Max Winter Memorial Scholarship In International Education
    Established by Ken and Lynn Winter in memorial of their son, Max who was attending UW-L and was a participant in the Wisconsin-in-Scotland program. The scholarship is awarded to an outstanding student participating in the Wisconsin-in-Scotland program.
  • Harry W. Gardiner Endowment Fund in International Education
    Harry Gardiner, emeriti faculty from 1974-1999 in the psychology department established this scholarship to recognize academic achievement by psychology majors participating in study abroad programs through the International Education Program.


University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
Academic Initiatives Stipend Application Guidelines

Please note that receiving this stipend could affect your financial aid award.
You will be notified by campus e-mail if any adjustments are made to your award.

The Academic Initiatives Stipend for International Education is a student funded program to facilitate a higher quality academic experience at UW-L.  Stipends for UW-L students will be awarded in exchange for completing a service plan to promote international awareness and international education.

Stipends available to students are as follows:

  • $1500 for an academic year of study,
  • $750 for semester programs,
  • $500 for summer programs,
  • $400 for Winter Intersession programs,
  • $300 for Spring Break programs,
  • Study tour stipends may vary at the discretion of the review committee.

Submission of an application does not guarantee funding from the Academic Initiatives Stipend Fund.  The review committee will base their decisions on eligibility, financial need, and proposal.

Students may apply using one of the two options available:


  • Commit to participating in three (3) semester events conducted by the Office of International Education.  (Dates and times are available at:  THIS IS NOT AN INCLUSIVE LIST!  CHECK WITH OIE FOR ADDITIONAL EVENTS AVAILABLE THE SEMESTER OF YOUR RETURN.
    • Study Abroad Fair
    • Saturday Orientation Break-out Session with Program Alumni
    • UW-L 100 Presentations
    • Campus Close-up Break-out Sessions
    • International Awareness Week Activities
    • Freshman Registration Presentations
    • Off-Campus Recruitment Presentations
    • LIFE Program
    • Represent program to campus visitors
    • Peer Advisor
    • Study Abroad Information Session (mentoring session): “I’ve been accepted; now what?”
    • Oktoberfest Parade (fall only)
    • English-speaking Conversation Partner volunteers for the ESL (English as a Second Language) Institute


  • Commit to participating in two (2) semester events conducted by the Office of International Education AND
  • Submit a 2-page proposal on an innovative sharing experience to inform others of your international experience.
    • Include your timeline for implementation and completion.


Application Eligibility

  • Applicants must be degree-seeking undergraduate or graduate students at UW-L.
  • Applicants must be enrolled in a UW-L sponsored study abroad program.
  • Applicants must submit a detailed plan for their proposal (see application).
  • Applicants must return to UW-L for at least one semester after the study abroad program to complete their service requirement.
  • Applicants must agree to begin planning and/or fulfilling their service requirements to promote study abroad at UW-L immediately upon return to campus; implementation of the service requirement must be completed at the end of the term following the study abroad program unless stipulated in the plan.

Group Applications
Group applications may be submitted for Option #2.  Every applicant must complete the application form, but one written proposal may be submitted with the applications.  Each application must cross-reference the other members of the group.

  • Group applications are limited to no more than three (3) in size.

Selection and Awarding of Stipends
Applications will be reviewed by a committee comprised of the following members:

  • Student Association Representative
  • Academic Initiatives Oversight Committee Representative
  • At-Large Students (2)
  • Assistant Director for Study Abroad, Office of International Education

Financial need will be taken into consideration.  Feasibility and of service proposal will be ranked.  Stipend awarded will be posted to student accounts.

NOTE: One-half of the stipend will be posted prior to the study abroad program and the other half will be posted after the programming commitment has been completed and documented.

Application Deadlines

  • Spring Programs (including Winter Intersession and Spring Break): November 1st
  • Summer and Fall Programs: April 1st

Late applications may be considered, pending justification and funding available.  Retroactive requests will not be considered.

For more information, contact the AIS Committee.

To apply, click here