Financing Study Abroad
You should begin the study abroad process by outlining and ensuring that expected funding streams can be used for study abroad. This includes determining financial aid eligibility, scholarship eligibility, any available personal funding, or tuition remission (if applicable). As the cost of most study abroad programs are considerably higher than a normal semester on Pitt's campus, you may submit a Cost of Attendance Increase Form as an appeal to maximize borrowing capacity for that particular term. You are encouraged to search for scholarship opportunities from a variety of resources.
As you begin planning for study abroad, the SAO encourages you to carefully select programs that fall within your budget. Often, budgeting a study abroad program is a team effort, requiring communication between the student, your parent(s) or guardian(s), and the SAO. As you research programs, you are encouraged to select programs that suit your academic needs, but also consider facets such as housing, meals, and excursions. In some programs, some combination of housing, meals, and excursions are built into the program cost. In other programs, they are not and you should pay particular attention to what a program includes prior to applying. Most programs will have a set program fee and will specifically state what that fee includes. If they do not, you are encouraged to contact the program and inquire so as to be perfectly clear on how much additional money you will need to budget.
You are also strongly encouraged to plan for flights, any visas required for their program, personal expenses, additional fees, and other costs that are usually not included in the program fee. These costs will vary from student to student and location to location and should be an integral part in a your budgeting for your program.
Prior to departure, you should plan to contact your banking and credit institutions to confirm that you will be overseas. You should ask your banks credit card companies if they will be able to use ATM and credit cards overseas. Also, most banks and credit card companies will automatically freeze an account if there are any suspicious charges or if it appears that a card or account number has been stolen. You should plan to provide the name of the country in which you are studying as well as the dates that you will be overseas. Additional tips on preparing to depart have been developed by IES, one of the largest providers of study abroad programs in the world. These tips can be found at: www.iesabroad.org/IES/Students/Financing/beforeYouGo.html.
Once you are abroad, you are encouraged to establish and maintain a personal budget that is in line with your available finances. Although credit cards may be used in many locations, the SAO recommends that you resort to them for emergencies. Students should maintain regular contact with your parents and financial institutions (many of which will be accessible online). IES has also developed a set of recommendations for students while they are overseas. These tips can be found at: www.iesabroad.org/IES/Students/Financing/afterYouArrive.html.