Though fundraising is a less traditional route for funding your study abroad, it can certainly make an impact. Hometown resources may also prove to be a valuable funding source – here are some steps for seeking aid.
- Are there start-up costs for your fundraiser?
- Am I going to set prices or ask for donations?
- The sooner you start, the more money you might raise
- Consider matching gifts; will your parents/grandparents match dollars raised?
- Advertise your efforts broadly.
- Be prepared with your talking points (see below)
- Town Hall – local scholarships may be available
- Chamber of Commerce – can serve as a springboard to locally-owned businesses
- Local Newspaper – students have written articles or a series while abroad
- Local Rotary
- High School or Grade School – sometimes the guidance counselor can provide information
- Religious Organizations
- Family Employers – some companies offer aid to sons, daughters, or relatives of employees
- Employer – occasionally, scholarships are available to employees
- Meet face to face- students have a better greater chance of being considered if they can meet face-to-face with the appropriate representative
- Give details
- The location
- Academics – courses to be studied
- Integration into the student’s course of study at NC State and future career plan
- Be specific:
- Additional program fees
- Visa/passport fees
- Required field trips
- Consider ways to give back to the community
- Give a comprehensive slide show of your experience
- Share cultural insights, history, language, and/or current issues of the host country
- Consider service work on-site in the host country as well
While scholarships and grants are gifts, loans must be repaid with interest, which often makes them a last resort. Consider your anticipated future annual income before taking out a loan. Your study abroad experience is an investment in your future, like your education here at NC State is an investment, but you need to make a solid funding plan. If you haven’t done so already, talk to the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid about loan options and funding your study abroad experience.
- Is the loan private or federal? If it is federal, is it subsidized or unsubsidized?
- What is the interest rate?
- What are the eligibility requirements?
- Do I need a cosigner?
- Are there any restrictions on the funds? Can I use them for things like airfare?
- When do I start repaying my loans?
- Is there anything I need to do to defer payment of past loans while I’m abroad?
Tips for searching for loans
- Start your search early, at least six months in advance if possible.
- Shop around to get the best rates.
- While not all loans require a cosigner, it is a good idea to have one ready.
This information was adapted from Diversity Abroad where you can find additional information on study abroad.