Financial Aid, Grants and Loans Abroad

By Julie Zeitz, Editor

Interested in applying for scholarships while abroad? Are you curious as to whether your current scholarships will apply during your time abroad? If so then boy, do we have answers (and then some) for you.

First things first — set up an appointment to talk with the financial aid office, because every student’s financial aid situation is different. You should contact Gail Woods at 864-656-2280 to make an appointment, located in G-01 Sikes Hall.

Our goal from this post is to a) clear up any lingering questions you may have about financial aid, scholarships, loans and grants while abroad, b) make sure you (as a prospective study abroad student) are aware of the various scholarships you can apply for, and c) help you get the most bang for your buck!


My existing scholarships, financial aid and loans: Will they travel with me abroad?

  • Generally speaking, all federal and state financial aid will travel, regardless of the study abroad program (whether faculty-led, exchange, or third party)
  • For example: Pell Grant, Palmetto Fellows, HOPE and LIFE scholarships all travel with you abroad
  • Credit hour requirements apply — for example, with Palmetto Fellows, you must receive 30 credit hours for the entire year, so make sure you take enough credits abroad to get your 30 hours!
  • Grades that you receive abroad will affect your LIFE and Palmetto Fellows GPA (not your Clemson GPA) ONLY if your transcript is coming from a US institution (for example, the third party program USAC)
  • The only reason why your specific federal and state aid would not travel with you abroad would be if your particular scholarship specified that it is only valid on Clemson’s campus

What if I have a specific Clemson scholarship (a scholarship coming from the university, not an outside source)?

  • For Clemson scholarships, you can generally use these abroad if you’re paying tuition to Clemson (for exchange and faculty-led programs, not normally for third-party)
  • Clemson out-of-state scholarships aren’t labeled as scholarships, but a waiver, meaning you’re paying in-state-tuition; as an out-of-state student studying abroad you’ll pay in-state-tuition anyways, so this scholarship (waiver) does not apply
  • Will my Clemson scholarships apply if I study abroad in the summer? Financial aid is generally very limited for summer programs with your Clemson scholarships
  • For example, the LIFE scholarship is given for four years (8 semesters), which doesn’t include summer sessions
  • Scholarships (in general) do not normally extend to summer

What about loans?

  • Generally speaking, all student loans travel abroad
  • Direct Student Loan (formerly Stafford), Parent PLUS Loan, and/or Alternative Private Student Loan will travel with you
  • The requirements set forth by the lender must be adhered to while you are abroad (hour requirement, satisfactory progress, etc)


There are three types of scholarships you as a prospective study abroad student can apply for: Clemson specific scholarships, (third-party) program provider scholarships, or national scholarships.

Clemson Specific Scholarships

  1. Office of Global Engagement (OGE): You must be going on an academic program to apply (no mission trips) and can earn up to $1,000 for fall/spring semesters or $500 for the summer
  2. Department Scholarships: Go to your specific department head (here at Clemson) to see if they offer any scholarships

Program Specific Scholarships

  1. Scholarships from your specific third-party program; check your specific program website for more information!
  2. For example: ISA, USAC, and IES all offer scholarships, just to name a few

National Scholarships

These are the most variable of the scholarships; some are more general, while some are incredibly specific. Some of the scholarships require you to study a “critical need language,” some only apply for specific countries, and some are based on either need and/or merit. The scholarships listed below are a few examples of various national scholarships you can apply for:

Gilman International Scholarships

  • Must be receiving the Pell Grant to be eligible (a need-based scholarship)
  • Available for all semesters (spring, fall, summer, academic year)
  • Aim is to diversity the students who study abroad
  • Highlight diversity in your essays: anything to set yourself apart from your competition
  • Can earn up to $5,000 ($3,000 in additional funding can be awarded if you are studying a critical need language)
  • Must be a US citizen to apply
  • Deadlines to apply: March for fall/summer, October for spring
  • Application: One Statement of Purpose essay; one Follow-on Service Project Proposal essay; official transcript(s); online certifications from study abroad and financial aid officer
  • Find out more information on their website:

Boren Scholarship

  • Available to students studying abroad in areas that are a) critical to US security interests and b) underrepresented study abroad destinations
  • Not given to students going to Western Europe, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand
  • Can get up to $20,000 for an academic year or $10,000 for a semester
  • Very selective; issued by the National Security Education Program
  • Must be studying a critical language
  • Studying abroad for an entire academic year increases your chances of attaining the scholarship
  • Must have a commitment to government service, as one year of government service (after your study abroad experience) is required
  • A great opportunity for individuals who wish to work for the government in the future, plus you’re getting paid!
  • Application: One rationale essay; one study abroad program description essay; two recommendation letters; official transcript(s); language self-assessment
  • Find out more information on their website:

Killam Fellowship

  • Specifically for students who want to study abroad in Canada
  • Students are studying abroad on exchange in Canada (multiple universities to choose from)
  • Can get up to $5,000 for a semester or $10,000 for a year
  • A great scholarship opportunity; if you go abroad through exchange, you’re already paying in-state-tuition fees, meaning this scholarship would essentially eliminate your tuition abroad

We hope this post has informed you of the various opportunities and processes involved in understanding, acquiring, and maintaining scholarships during your time abroad. As always, if you have any additional questions, please contact the Clemson study abroad office at


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