Funding Study Abroad

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


  1. 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. 
  2. Fill it out based upon being at SF State. Do not mention study abroad as aid is first calculated based upon SF State. After selection, the SF State Abroad Team will notify the Financial Aid Office that you are studying abroad. 

If you have specific questions about accessing your current award or questions about the types of aid you receive (not about study abroad), please contact the Financial Aid Office directly and speak with a Financial Aid advisor. 

If you have a financial aid question about study abroad, please speak with a Study Abroad Advisor first and then contact Danielle Pattee, Financial Aid Advisor for Study Abroad, at,

It is never too early to start saving.

Every penny will make a difference while abroad. For example, if you normally purchase a coffee or bagel in the morning, prepare it at home and put the money you would have spent in a jar. You will enjoy using that money to buy a coffee or tea abroad so much more! 

Tell people!

Let your family and friends know that you are applying to study abroad. Ask them for a small contribution to your study abroad fund instead of a birthday or other holiday gifts this year. If you have an extended network, you might consider crowdsourcing like a GoFundMe site. 

Try to save as much as you can now as it is not always possible to work abroad. Some countries allow you to work on a student visa while others do not. 

Working abroad may or may not be possible.

Study abroad is often the one semester or year that SF State students do not work during their college careers. This can be fun and an opportunity to experience college life without working. Students abroad enjoy being able to relax after classes with friends or go away on the weekend instead of having to work. Other students want to work for the experience for their resume. 

When considering working abroad, you first want to see if it is legally possible. Not all countries allow you to work on a student visa. Therefore, when planning on how to fund your time abroad it is best to apply for scholarships and amass savings in advance.

Even if the country allows you to work on the student visa, you may not be able to get the same type of work unless you are fluent in the local language. 

The UK and France only allow you to work if you go abroad for the year. Semester students do not have work permissions. Year long students in France often obtain au pair work or tutor in English. 

SF State Abroad recommends that you do not plan on working. To see if it would be possible, google the student visa for your country. You cannot apply for the visa until you have accepted into the program. 

It is never too early to apply for scholarships. We know the temptation is the wait and see if you get in, but by then you will have missed some of the biggest and best scholarships. 

SF State Study Abroad students have been creative in establishing personal fundraising campaigns and applying to a multitude of scholarships. Be sure to apply to study abroad specific and non-study abroad scholarships.

Non-Study Abroad Scholarships: 

When applying to non-study abroad scholarships, you can and should still mention study abroad. Be sure to review SF State's Financial Aid Scholarship Database (Academic Works)

Study Abroad Scholarships: 

SF State Abroad maintains a database of pertinent study abroad scholarships. Please log in to your Horizons account. Then, click on the Search Scholarships tab at the top. This site is designed to help you find scholarships. For scholarship details about deadlines, requirements, and application, please visit the website page for the scholarship. 

Additional scholarship resources and databases:

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

Further scholarships can be found on the Identity pages under Resources.

Tips for Successful Scholarship Writing:

  1. Research the mission statement for 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.nHelp 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. 

Utilize the Campus Academic Resource Center! They can help with proofreading your essay draft. Your SF State Abroad advisors can also help you with essay content.