Funding Study Abroad

Student smiling near shrine in South Korea

Budgeting is one of the most essential steps for study abroad planning.  We recommend that you begin by making your personal budget for study abroad.

Begin by attending a Funding Workshop in the SF State Abroad Office year-round on Fridays at 2 pm (check the main page for any changes).


1) Identifying Costs

What is the estimated budget for your prospective program? Don't forget to note if it is a semester or year-long cost.

2) Assess Current Funding

Compare program costs to your current funding resources (personal savings, parental support, Financial Aid, scholarships, etc.).

 3) Plan for Shortages

Make a plan for how you will fund your study abroad experience and explore additional funding options, if your program costs more than your current resources.

Meet with a Study Abroad Advisor if you want to discuss budgeting and applying for additional funding, such as Financial Aid and Scholarships.


Financial Aid

When you participate in a SF State Abroad program, your Financial Aid goes with you! (Work-study becomes a loan.)

75% of students on study abroad programs utilize Financial Aid to completely cover or supplement the costs of their program.

Remember: It is important to always file for FAFSA each year by the deadline, even if you did not receive aid the previous year as your circumstances may have changed. 

If you have specific questions about accessing your current award or questions about the types of aid you receive, please contact the Financial Aid Office directly and speak with a Financial Aid advisor. 

If you have Study Abroad related Financial Aid questions, speak with a Study Abroad Advisor first and then contact Keina Sanchez, the Financial Aid Advisor for Study Abroad, at or 415-338-2612.



SF State Study Abroad students have been creative in establishing personal fundraising campaigns and applying to a multitude of scholarships.

The number one source of funding for SF State students abroad is the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship (for students who are U.S. citizens with Pell Grants). Information about additional scholarships can be found in the databases listed below.

Scholarship Databases:

SF State Abroad maintains a database of pertinent study abroad scholarships. Please log in to your Horizons account.

Additional scholarship resources and databases:

Each scholarship has unique requirements that may focus on financial need, academic excellence, non-traditional destinations and underrepresented groups.


Tips for Successful Scholarship Writing

1)  Research the mission of the scholarship. 

Why are they offering their scholarship? Tailor your essay to align with their mission and goals.

2)  Look at all the parts of the questions.

Be sure to fully answer all the questions and consider the order they are asked. Often the earlier or beginning questions are the most important, but the last ones still should be addressed completely.

3)  Consider your background and unique qualifications.

Think about your leadership experience, academic achievements, community involvement, and other unique aspects that make you stand out.

4)  Always include WHY you need funding. This should be at least a paragraph.

          This might because of the struggles you have from working multiple jobs while being a full-time student or your family.

          Help the reader know you and your story.

5)  Personalize! 

Your essay should not only reflect your character, personality, and experiences, it should tell the reader about you and not offer blank generalizations.

6)  Seek feedback! 

Have a friend proof for spelling and grammar. 

Bring a printed draft to the Study Abroad office during Drop In Advising Hours and visit the Campus Academic Resource Center!