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Morocco by Hanna Lavassani

Financial Aid

Financial aid - including federal, state, and institutional aid - can often be used for Education Abroad programs. This will depend on the term you are going abroad and exactly what type of aid you are planning to use. For detailed information about applying financial aid to your Education Abroad program (ex. dates of disbursement, loan adjustments, considerations, and more) review the information specific to your term below. 

Two types of aid you may receive at CU that cannot be used for Education Abroad programs include:

  1. The College Opportunity Fund (COF) grant: Credit earned on Education Abroad programs will not count toward the COF 145 lifetime credit limit. A more detailed explanation about COF and education abroad is available in the FAQs on the Education Abroad Finances page.
  2. If you have work-study as part of your financial aid package, it cannot be used while you are abroad.

Note that you should be prepared to pay for some program-related expenses shortly after your acceptance and before financial aid is disbursed. These program-related expenses may include your Ed Abroad program deposit, your airline ticket, visa application fees, potential vaccinations, housing deposits, passport, and possible direct-to-program fees.

Financial aid can be used for semester Education Abroad programs. To be eligible, you must be enrolled in and successfully complete at least 12 credit hours during the semester (if you fail a course, your financial aid may be impacted). If you have received aid in the past and you plan to use it for your Education Abroad program, be sure your FAFSA form is filed for the appropriate year. Visit the Office of Financial Aid  (OFA) website if you don’t already receive financial aid and wish to apply.

Education Abroad will give the Office of Financial Aid (OFA) your name, student ID and your total education abroad program costs (in early May for fall and academic year programs and in early November for spring programs). The Office of Financial Aid will then recalculate your need, adjust your budget and send you a revised award letter via email.

Review the Billing page for further information related to when your financial aid will be applied.

You will receive a refund if you are receiving enough financial aid to cover your tuition and fees and some or all of your personal expenses, airfare and books. Otherwise, you will receive an e-bill for the balance due. 

If you are attending a fall or academic year education abroad program that starts in June or July and you are expecting a refund, please be aware that in addition to program-related expenses, you will also have living expenses that may need to be paid before your financial aid refund is available. Check your program dates and plan to have enough money to meet your needs until your financial aid refund is available. If you have concerns about program-related expenses after your acceptance, inquire with the OFA. In some cases, OFA may be able to allow an advance of your refund, if eligible. This is determined on a case-by-case basis by OFA.
A few programs offer optional pre-session courses. If you would like the cost of a pre-session course to be included in your financial aid award, please contact the Ed Abroad Finance Team.

It may be possible to use financial for summer programs. Much like during the academic year, the amount of aid you can receive is determined by the number of credits you enroll in and your aid eligibility. Typically you must be enrolled in 6 credits to be eligible for aid. You can combine credits from your education abroad program and Boulder campus summer courses, or enroll in multiple education abroad summer programs, to reach the 6 required credits.

Review the Billing webpage for the further information related to when your financial aid will be applied.

The Federal Pell grant and the CU Achieve grant are available in summer to eligible students. If not eligible for these programs, summer aid is typically limited to each student’s remaining eligibility from the previous academic year for Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized loans. Parent PLUS and Graduate PLUS loans may also be an option.

Financial aid can be used for winter programs. Since CU Boulder doesn’t offer a winter term on campus, winter programs are considered fall programs for billing purposes. Contact the Office of Financial Aid to determine if your fall aid package will be recalculated based on your participation in a winter Ed Abroad program.

Review the Billing webpage for the further information related to when your financial aid will be applied.


There are two kinds of scholarships, Education Abroad-specific scholarships, and scholarships you may already receive as a CU student (e.g. Boettcher, Chancellor’s, etc.). If you receive private scholarships from another organization, please check with that organization directly about applicability of those funds.

Education Abroad scholarships are generally applied as a credit rather than receiving a check; most scholarships are given as a reduction in the overall program fee. For the timeline of when these are applied and how it will appear on your bill, review the Billing webpage.

If you are still considering ways to fund your Education Abroad program, review the Ed Abroad Scholarships webpage for additional information and scholarships that you may be eligible to apply for. 

Additional Information

Starting Fall 2020, the VA has updated guidance for how GI Bill benefits can be used for education abroad programs. If you are thinking of using your benefits to help pay for your program please connect with the CU Boulder VMA office and with Sarah Westmoreland in the Education Abroad office to get more details on how this might work. According to the VA guidance, the GI Bill benefits can be used only under these scenarios:

  1. If the course(s) abroad are CU Boulder Instructor-led (must be a CU Boulder Global Seminar or Global Internship; Global Intensives will not qualify), or,
  2. If students attend using a Parent/Guest Letter (the abroad school must be approved by the VA in the Weams database), or
  3. If students enroll as degree-seeking at the abroad university (transfers to another VA approved school and then back to CU)
Contact prior to pursuing option 2 or 3. For option 1, the GI Bill will cover the amount of tuition and fees equivalent to taking the same number of credits on the CU Boulder campus. You will be responsible for the remainder of the Program Fee and the Estimated Costs Not Included in the Program Fee. You can look up those costs on the Program Cost webpage.

Please also note:
  • In order to use GI Bill benefits for a study abroad program in one of the three scenarios above, the courses you take must be required for your degree. If the courses are not needed in order to complete your degree, they will not be covered by the VA.
  • If you are going abroad under one of the three approved scenarios, the VA will pay the equivalent to what they would pay if you were taking the same number of credit hours on campus. Please talk to the CU Boulder VMA office to estimate what this amount will be and how your housing stipend could be affected.
For additional questions regarding finances and your education abroad program,
Reach out to the Office of Financial Aid (OFA) to discuss financial aid in regards to your education abroad program.
Last Updated January 2023
Photo, Morocco by Hanna Lavassani