If you’ve been deliberating whether or not to study abroad, and one of the main questions you have is how you will survive financially, then this article should help clarify what kind of study abroad help you can expect.

What study abroad financial help you are eligible to receive will depend on if it’s included as part of your degree, or if its an Erasmus study placement. There are also grants made available for medical and dental students studying abroad.

What’s great about a grant, is that you won’t have to pay it back!

This should alleviate any concerns and misconceptions you might have had about getting further into debt with your student loans by choosing to study abroad.

You also likely won’t have to pay tuition fees at your host university, making the whole experience a lot less expensive for you. You will also have less to pay in tuition fees to your university back home, which will still be covered by the tuition fee loan.

That already puts you at a financial gain, so you’re doing well! Yet another reason why you should study abroad!

Read on to find out what other forms of student finance there are for a year abroad.

UK government grants

Big ben in London
The Government offers UK students grants for studying abroad.

The UK government provides help to study abroad programmes, given that they can be such advantageous experiences for university students. It is also something which shouldn’t be exclusively for those who have the money, that’s why such grants exist.

Depending on your household income, and other factors, you might be able to get your hands on one of these travel grants for your term studying abroad, which should help a lot with expenses.

How much will you receive?

As you can imagine, the amount of money you receive from the government is proportional to how much your household earns (this includes you, your parents, and your partner if you live with one).

The grant will cover up to 3 return flights between the UK and the country you’re studying in, as well as mandatory medical expenses for studying abroad, and daily travel costs for those doing a clinical placement as a doctor or nurse.

The first £303 of travel expenses you will have to cough up yourself, unfortunately, but following that you will be covered for future travel expenses, provided they aren’t first-class flight tickets!

Are you eligible?

To be eligible for this travel grant from the UK government you will have to satisfy the following criteria, taken from their website:

  •    Have your permanent home address in England.
  •    Attend an overseas institution for over half of each academic term, or be enrolled in an Erasmus study placement.

That’s it!

If you fulfill these basic criteria, which you likely will if you’re reading this as a native of England, then you’re all good to apply for the travel grant.

How do you apply?

Applying for this government-issued study abroad grant is simple.

All you have to do is apply for student finance for your study abroad, by logging into your student finance account and going through the process.

Once you receive a study abroad form, you will need to fill it out and return it, at which point you will have done everything you need to. Then it’s just up to the government to deem whether or not you’re eligible (which you should be), and if you are, you should receive a travel grant form.

Bear in mind that to make use of the travel grant, you will need to keep hold of all travel expense-related receipts, so that you can be adequately reimbursed.

Not from England...?

Check out this excellent article from savethestudent which outlines exactly what funding you can receive if you’re a Scottish, Irish, or Welsh national looking to study abroad.

Erasmus+ funding

European flag
If you’re studying abroad in Europe, see if you’re eligible for Erasmus+ funding

If you’re lucky enough to be studying at a university which supports the Erasmus+ scheme, then you might well be eligible for funding from them too, which will help cover the costs of living during your stay abroad in Europe.

How much will you receive?

To qualify, apart from studying at a university linked with the scheme, you’ll need to be studying in an Erasmus+ country.

The amount of money you will receive will depend on which country and university you’re heading to, and whether or not you fall under the ‘disadvantaged students’ category which includes anyone with a household income of £25,000 or less.

For study abroad students, the going rate is up to €420 a month for higher cost of living countries, such as Denmark, Ireland, Sweden and Finland.

While for lower and medium cost of living countries, you can receive up to €370 a month, plus an additional €120 if you count as a ‘disadvantaged student’ under their criteria.

Before you get too excited, and start imagining what you’re going to spend this free money on, realise that the exact sum will depend on how much funding your university has been allocated, and the number of students applying for it.

Even if you do get the full amount, it’s best not to see it as free money, since this is the kind of thinking that will hurt your bank balance in the long-run!

Check out reasons why study abroad.

How do you apply?

To apply for the Erasmus+ student finance for moving abroad, you’ll need to find the study abroad office at your home university, and fill out a form with details of your upcoming study abroad term.

This money will be delivered to you in two or three installments and will come directly from your university.

The first payment should go into your bank account around October, so if the term starts in September at your host university, it’s a good idea to plan accordingly for the expenses.

Study abroad scholarships

As well as the UK government grant, and Erasmus+ funding, there is one other form of financial help you can request for your term studying abroad: study abroad scholarships.

There are quite a number of study abroad scholarships available, providing you fulfill the criteria, so it’s worth taking a look at what’s out there.

Some are for those who are seeking to have a positive intercultural exchange in their destination country, and others are aimed at those who are looking to expand their horizons and study in another country in future.

Here are some examples of scholarships you can apply to for your year or term abroad:

  •  Global Study Awards

The Global Study Awards scholarship can be worth a whopping £10,000 to the lucky applicant, making it one of the most lucrative out there.

However, this one doesn’t come easy. To qualify, you will need to show that you will contribute to society through your studies, and have a real interest in developing intercultural understanding and communication.

If you can put together a good application, and sell your vision convincingly, then why not give it a shot?

  •  Fulbright Awards for Postgraduate study in the USA

If you’ve got your sights set on postgraduate study stateside following completion of your degree, and you hope to finish university with at least a 2:1, then you’ll definitely want to apply to the Fulbright scholarship.

  •  The John Speak Trust

Do you have a GCSE in a foreign language? If so, you can apply for an award of up to £500 through the John Speak Trust.

All you have to do is demonstrate that you are going to immerse yourself in the culture of your study abroad country, and further your language skills.

The costs of studying abroad

Cash in hand
Make sure you budget for study abroad costs

I’d like to wrap this article off with a brief guide on how to best preserve all the free money you may receive while studying abroad, given that the temptation to spend will be greater than ever.

The best piece of advice I can give you to save money while studying abroad, is to factor in all of the unavoidable expenses before calculating how much money you will have.

There are costs that you might not anticipate when you move abroad, so let’s take a look at which ones might catch you off guard.

  •  University admin fees

Tuition fees likely won’t affect you at your host university, but there might still be some admin fees.

These might take you by surprise, since you might assume that no tuition fees means no costs, so it's worth checking that there are no hidden administration or enrolment fees at your host university.

  •  Insurance

This is important information for studying abroad, but still some people don’t know that they need to contract insurance for their study abroad term.

While you may be covered for free by your university, it’s worth finding out if this is the case for you, and if not, how much you might have to pay to get insured.

  • Study visa

This one is only applicable to those studying in a country which requires a visa upon entry, so make sure you read up on your host country and see if a visa will be necessary.

Student visas can be costly, so the sooner you find out and can budget for it, the better.

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Sam is an English teaching assistant and freelance writer based in southern Spain. He enjoys exploring new places and cultures, and picking up languages along the way.