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Study Abroad

Need-based financial assistance is available to students who wish to study abroad on Northwestern programs, Northwestern exchange programs, or affiliated programs.

Students attending unaffiliated programs are not eligible for any type of financial assistance or loans through Northwestern, and may not use Northwestern financing options such as the prepayment plan for the term abroad.

Application & Eligibility

The required financial aid application materials and deadlines are the same as those for on-campus study; no additional or different materials are required. For study abroad during the academic year, review the New & Returning Applicant page for detailed application instructions. For summer programs, visit the Summer Aid page.

Study abroad program costs will not change your family contribution; your is always calculated based on your family's financial circumstances, as reported on your aid application materials. In most cases, your initial financial aid award for the year will assume a full year of regular on-campus study. Your aid will be adjusted later in the year for study abroad, after program costs are available for your study abroad term.

study abroad financial aid notifications by term
Program Term Study Abroad Aid Award Notification by
Fall Quarter, Fall-Winter, or Full-Year programs June 30 (apply by May 1)
Winter Quarter or Winter-Spring programs November 30
Spring Quarter programs March 1
Summer June 1 (apply by May 15)

Study Abroad Aid Award

Your regular financial aid is based on the cost of attendance in Evanston. Study abroad program costs vary widely; your financial aid for study abroad will be based on the cost of attendance for your specific program and term, including the exchange rate and a reasonable cost of living for the area in which you will be studying.

  • For programs that cost more than Northwestern, your Northwestern Scholarship assistance will be increased to cover your higher financial need. Because you cannot participate in Federal Work-Study while abroad, your work-study allotment (if any) will be offered as a subsidized loan for your quarter(s) abroad.
  • For programs that cost less than Northwestern, your financial need will be lower than usual, so your aid will be reduced: work-study will be reduced first, and Northwestern Scholarship may be reduced if necessary. In rare cases, some students who receive financial aid for on-campus study may not be financially eligible for need-based aid on programs whose total cost of attendance is lower than at Northwestern.

Each study abroad program page includes estimated total costs, including tuition, room and board, airfare, books, living expenses, international health insurance, student visa, and the Study Abroad Administrative Fee, as applicable. Estimated living costs may be provided by each program or determined from cost of living calculators, or some combination thereof. To ensure access and equity for all students, Northwestern may adjust program cost estimates that are higher or lower than average.

Financial aid cannot cover the cost of housing in Evanston while you are studying abroad. You are responsible for canceling your on-campus housing contract or subletting your off-campus apartment for the quarter(s) you will be abroad. Financial aid also does not cover: application fees; optional orientations, course fees, or housing upgrades; excursions or personal travel while abroad; shipping or storage; bank or transaction fees; luggage, bag fees, adapters, or related costs.

International students receiving financial aid are not eligible to use their Northwestern aid to study in their home country or country of residence. Exceptions will only be granted upon receipt of a written appeal, which must include an academic rationale and a letter of support from an academic advisor. Exclusions apply. Visit the Global Learning Office (GLO) website for more information.

Please also remember that if you receive financial aid for study abroad, you are required to transfer your credits back to Northwestern, regardless of whether you "need" the credits to graduate or intend to petition for specific departmental credit. Failure to do so may result in cancelation of aid.

For additional information about study abroad billing and budgeting, visit the Money Matters section on the GLO website.

Summer Study Abroad 

Summer financial aid applies to Northwestern or affiliated summer programs. Since summer study abroad costs significantly less than a regular quarter, the dollar amount of your aid will be lower in the summer. Visit the Summer Aid & Scholarships page for additional information.

Students attending unaffiliated summer programs not eligible for any form of assistance through Northwestern financial aid, but may apply directly for other study abroad scholarships.