Study abroad provides students a unique opportunity to travel and immerse themselves in another culture. More importantly, proper advising and timely use of UC resources can ensure that coursework taken while abroad will not only enhance your overall academic experience but also ensure you remain on track for degree completion and graduation.
Students can often utilize their scholarship, grant and loan aid sources from their award offer when they study abroad. You may even be eligible for additional UC funding sources to assist with travel costs. The key is to plan your study abroad experience both academically and financially.
Study Abroad Programs & Academic Approval
The UC International Programs Office is set up to help students select study abroad options. They can identify options available as well as provide students with necessary travel advice to make the experience less stressful. Even if you decide to travel through an opportunity shared with you by a faculty member, your college office, or your academic advisor, you will need to work closely with the UC International Programs Office before, during and after your trip.
Key to using financial aid for your study abroad experience is ensuring that the classes you take while abroad can apply to your academic degree program. A degree audit will be performed to ensure you still have untapped elective hours or the coursework meets your specific, remaining major degree course requirements that give you eligibility for your aid.
Your academic advisor will help to identify the in-class experiences when studying abroad that can meet requirements for your UC academic program. Studying abroad provides a unique cultural experience. But it is important that you maintain academic progression with the experience in order to use your financial aid as it was intended.
Additional Financial Aid Paperwork
You want to begin the planning process early with UC International Programs. As part of the process, they will help you understand if you will be completing a consortium or a contractual agreement. These agreements allow use of your scholarships, grants or loans when on study abroad.
- Consortium Agreement – Used when the study abroad experience is already set up as a UC exchange or is hosted by another U.S. educational institution approved to disburse federal Title IV funds
- Contractual Agreement – Needed in cases of attending a foreign educational institution where the UC student is not enrolled through the UC exchange or an abroad program sponsored by UC or another Title IV-eligible institution
In either case, you are agreeing to follow the policies of the University of Cincinnati, the intent of aid funds you are utilizing, and the financial requirements of the host or program abroad. Segments of the agreements list the coursework to be taken through study abroad (with pre-approved alternatives) and detail costs for the experience. All costs must be in U.S. dollar equivalent.
Your cost listing will form the basis of the financial aid budget for your time abroad. Supporting materials (such as program guides or tuition fee schedules) may be necessary to document the costs you list. In turn, while you may take advantage of other sight seeing opportunities while abroad, such added travels may not always be included when determining aid eligibility.
The host institution or student must complete the appropriate sections of the agreement before it is submitted to Student Financial Aid. Student Financial Aid will make contact with the host institution, set the final budget, determine aid eligibility, and notify the student when all paperwork is finalized.
To ensure a smooth financial experience, make sure the consortium or contractual agreement is complete (with a copy of your study abroad acceptance letter) and submitted to Student Financial Aid well in advance of your departure. At the very least, you should submit agreement paperwork 2 months in advance of your term of travel to provide the lead time necessary to finalize funding before your study abroad experience begins. Failure to complete paperwork with enough advance notice may limit what the Student Financial Aid Office can do to assist you.
Your appropriate UC course registration must also be complete prior to departure.
Aid Options & Payment Arrangements
Almost all of your aid funding can be made available to you on an approved study abroad experience. However there may be some limitations. For instance, do not assume a tuition-based scholarship will simply pay UC tuition amounts at any program of study.
Also, you may not have access to funding sources when some of your study abroad expenses are due (such as deposits and plane tickets). You should keep in mind that your aid disbursement dates will be no earlier than our normal term disbursement dates, but may be later if our disbursement date is not within ten days of the beginning of your particular program. It is important to meet with UC International and consult with Student Financial Aid as you look to understand your individual expenses and the timing of fund availability.
You may also be eligible to receive targeted UC financial assistance to support your study abroad. Qualifying students can apply for a travel grant via UC International. Honors students can consult the University Honors Program on experiential learning awards available for study abroad travel.
Payment of all aid sources is done through the Student Account billing system. No payments will be made unless you are properly registered. Payments will then be made as outlined on the type of agreement that is required based on your specific study abroad experience. In all cases, you will see payments made and refunds issued via your online term bill. Refunds will be made based on the UC refund policy.
It will be your responsibility to see that any payment obligations are met at your host institution. Their due dates may not coincide with UC refund dates. Therefore, you should plan ahead so as to meet the other school's payment obligations outside of aid and use aid, when disbursed later, to reimburse yourself.
Note that rules for withdrawal and incomplete courses still apply when studying abroad. As well, changes in your courses without approval can place holds on financial aid until proper approval is gained.
After the Travel
Within 3 weeks of the end of your study abroad experience, the Student Financial Aid Office must receive a transcript of your courses. You are required to follow all necessary steps with your host institution or program to see that transcripts are submitted for both academic and financial aid evaluation. Failure to supply transcripts could result in a hold on future financial aid funds.
The University of Cincinnati may decline to give credit for courses in which a student earns a grade that is not acceptable at UC even though the host school has a policy of accepting that grade for its resident students. Grades earned through consortium or contractual agreement will be included when assessing the pace component of UC's Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy.