When you study abroad, financial aid for which you are eligible and have accepted will be applied to your CU Bursar’s account. However, there are costs that need to be covered before financial aid becomes available. Your airfare is one of these costs. Below are some ideas to help you mitigate this expense.
If you plan to use financial aid and still have aid left for the current term:
- Use your financial aid refund for the educational expense of study abroad airfare.
- Consider using miles. Join airline loyalty or frequent flier programs to accrue credit toward free flights and upgrades.
- If you have miles of your own, you may be able to book your travel using miles in lieu of a credit card. If you lack enough points to book your flight, airlines often allow you to purchase additional points to get to the number you need. These points might be sold at a higher rate, but your overall savings could be significant.
- If you don’t have miles of your own, someone else may be able to transfer miles to you. You will need to contact your airline regarding this. Sometimes a small fee is charged for such a transaction, but it could save you a lot of money overall.
A note about payment methods: Most flight purchases are made using a credit/debit card. If you or a family member does not have access to a credit/debit card:
- Consider purchasing a Visa Gift Card and using it to purchase your ticket.
- Consider using a PayPal account to purchase your ticket.
- Certain airlines allow purchases to be made via Western Union cash transfer.
Pro Tip: Most airlines allow customers to cancel without penalty within 24 hours of booking. Check if your price drops within 24 hours of booking. If so, you can cancel and rebook the lower fare.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has strict identification procedures for airline travelers. The name on a traveler’s ID (such as a passport) must match that on the travel documents. Travelers whose reservations do not contain full information will not be permitted to check in online or at airport kiosks but must instead stand in line to see a ticket agent. Additional airport security screening and/or denied boarding may result.
Be sure to stay up to date with the most current TSA and international security regulations, as international checkpoints may have different regulations.
If you recently changed your legal name, all identifying documentation should match your updated legal name. This includes, but is not limited to, your passport, program documents, all visa documents (if applicable), and flight tickets. If a visa is required for your program, you will need to have your identification updated prior to applying for your visa.
For further information regarding the process to change your name on your passport, review the U.S. State Department Change or Correct a Passport webpage.
If you recently changed your gender and/or the gender marker on your passport does not match your gender identity, you can update your gender marker on your U.S. passport. This process does not require documentation of sex reassignment surgery nor is any specific medical treatment required. A transgendered person can obtain a passport reflecting their current gender by submitting certification from a physician confirming that they have had appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition.
For further information regarding the process of updating your passport gender marker, review the National Center for Transgender Equality Know Your Rights: Passports webpage.
You will also need to make sure the gender markers on all your identifying documentation match. This includes, but is not limited to, your passport, program documents, all visa documents (if applicable), and flight tickets. If a visa is required for your program, you may need to have your gender updated prior to applying for your visa.
If you are a minor traveling abroad, you may be able to travel to another country without either one of your parents. You may be required to provide a notarized written consent letter from both parents. Minors interested in traveling without their parents should contact the embassy to address admissibility questions.
A list of embassies and entry requirements can be obtained at the Department of State website, or call the particular embassy by phone. Read more on the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol website.
Depending on your age, minors must follow different policies when applying for a passport. View the Department of State's requirements for 16-17 year old's and for minors under the age of 16 to learn about your requirements.
Disclaimer: The following is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute an endorsement by the University of Colorado Boulder or Education Abroad. CU Boulder Education Abroad is not an agent for these organizations.
Photo by Philip Myrtorp courtesy of Unsplash