Paying with Financial Aid

Generally, for your financial aid to be "portable" to a study abroad program, you must be enrolled full-time at the foreign institution and receive credit for the program toward your degree at your home institution. There may be other eligibility restrictions, depending on the financial aid program, but usually you will be able to take your Title IV funding (Pell, Stafford and PLUS) overseas with you.

Your home institution may require an agreement in order for you to use your financial aid. The first step should be checking with your study abroad advisors and financial aid administrators or bursar's office to confirm what will apply to the ISA program.

Download the "Paying with Financial Aid" document

Helpful Financial Aid Resources

Be sure to look at the financial aid information found in the Helpful Resources section of our website.

Paying for an ISA Program

(Note: These are general instructions. Please check with your financial aid office, as each U.S. institution is different.)

The following is a preliminary checklist of items that you must complete:

  • Inform your university study abroad and financial aid offices of your interest in using financial aid to pay for an ISA study abroad program and ask about their requirements.
  • Ask your financial aid office if there is a Contractual Agreement, sometimes referred to as a Consortium Agreement, that needs to be completed. If so, have that form sent to financialaid@studiesabroad.com as soon as possible so that it can be completed and returned to your university.
  • Sign the ISA Verification of Award (VOA), which accompanies the ISA acceptance forms on the ISA Student Portal (if you check the financial aid box on the ISA application). If you did not receive the VOA with your acceptance materials, please contact your ISA Program Manager to request one.
  • Ask your university financial aid office to complete the VOA and return it to ISA. That may be emailed to your program manager or you may upload it to the ISA Student Portal.
  • Let your financial aid office know about the payment due date of the ISA program that you have chosen.
  • Turn in all necessary payments and your HOLD check to ISA by your program due date.

OPTION 1: Full payment for the ISA program

You can make the full payment for your program and use your financial aid award as a reimbursement. Many students will take out a personal loan at their bank or ask their parents or a family member for the money. Keep in mind that you can pay back your parents, or the bank, as soon as you receive your financial aid.

OPTION 2: Guarantee of payment from your U.S. university to ISA directly*

The Verification Of Award (VOA), completed by your university, will state that your funds will be sent directly to ISA. If funds to ISA are equal to or in excess of your balance due, this should fulfill your financial obligation to ISA for your program cost. If your funds are less than the balance due, you will owe the difference to ISA by the payment due date. The completed VOA, indicating these details, is due to ISA by the payment due date. *This is typically not the student's choice, as many universities must release funds to the student rather than to ISA.

OPTION 3: Guarantee of full payment & your Good Faith Payment

The completed VOA will state the amount you will be receiving, which will cover your full ISA balance, and that the payment will be sent to the "student". You will be responsible for making your Good Faith Payment to ISA, in the appropriate amount, and submitting a HOLD check in the amount of your financial aid award (minus the Good Faith Payment amount) that is dated for one week after your funds are to be released. You must contact ISA as soon as your financial aid funds have been disbursed to you so that we may deposit your HOLD check. Keep in mind that the Good Faith Payment and your HOLD check must add up to your balance due to ISA. ISA will deposit your HOLD check when we have confirmation that the funds have been released.

OPTION 4: Guarantee of partial payment & your additional payment (Most common option)

The completed VOA will state the amount you will be receiving and that the payment will be sent to you. You will be responsible for sending ISA a HOLD check in the amount of your financial aid award, dated for one week after your funds are to be released, and payment for the remainder of your balance via the ISA Student Portal or a check (to be deposited immediately by ISA). If the remainder of your balance is less than the Good Faith Payment amount for your program term, you are then responsible for paying the Good Faith Payment amount. You may then reduce your HOLD check accordingly. Keep in mind that the additional payment and HOLD check must add up to your balance due to ISA. You must contact ISA as soon as your financial aid funds have been disbursed to you so that we may deposit your HOLD check. ISA will deposit your HOLD check when we have confirmation that the funds have been released.

*All required housing deposits (in addition to the Good Faith Payment) must be paid no later than the final forms and payment due date.
Good Faith Payments
  • $500 for each Summer Program or Intensive Month Program (with the exception of the specific programs listed below)
  • $1,000 for each Semester or Trimester Program or back-to-back Summer Programs (with the exception of the specific programs listed below)
  • $1,500 for a Year Program or back-to-back Semester or Trimester Program (with the exception of the specific programs listed below)
  • $1,000 for the Valencia FSU Summer, Buenos Aires Summer, Rome or Florence Summer Programs
  • $2,000 for the Valencia FSU Semester
  • $1,500 for the London Theater Studies Summer Program
  • $1,500 for the Colombia Semester programs
  • $1,500 for the Reading Trimester or Westminster, King's College, or Roehampton Summer and Semester Programs
  • $3,000 for the London Theater Studies Semester, Year, and back-to-back Summer Programs
*All required housing deposits (in addition to the Good Faith Payment) must be paid no later than the final forms and payment due date.

Good Faith Payment Amounts can be made via debit/credit card on the ISA Student Portal or via check or money order (to be deposited immediately upon receipt).

Important Note

Failure to follow through with one of the options by the payment due date could result in added fees to your ISA program cost and/or cancellation of your ISA application. If the VOA is not available by the ISA program due date, you may either submit payment in full or contact ISA so that we can assist you in setting up a payment plan, which will require an initial payment no less that the Good Faith Payment amount. As you may know, it is crucial for you to play an active role in ensuring that the process of getting your aid is carried out properly and in a timely manner. Please contact the ISA office if you feel that none of the options are applicable to your situation.

If you come across any obstacle that prevents you from meeting a financial aid deadline, please contact ISA immediately.

Please note, the financial aid process listed here does not apply to ISA Master's Degrees.

Example 1
If your program cost is: $5,000 - And you have a loan for: $3,000

You owe ISA:
one immediate payment for $2,000 AND one CLEARLY MARKED HOLD check for $3,000

Example 2
If your semester program cost is: $5,000 - And you have a loan for: $5,000

You owe ISA:
one immediate "good faith" payment for $1,000 AND one CLEARLY MARKED HOLD check for $4,000