Financial Aid and Study Away/Abroad
All students who study abroad or on a domestic exchange (other than listed exchange programs) will be charged Amherst College tuition, tuition insurance, and health insurance (by semester) by Amherst College. Students can waive the tuition insurance or the health insurance (online), but must do so by dates specified by the Office of the Controller. Whether or not a student receives financial aid from Amherst College, the Office for Global Education (GEO) will advance the full amount of the tuition charged by the study abroad/away program to your program. They will also advance program deposits (where necessary) and transcript fees.
When participating in a study abroad or educational exchange, your family contribution remains the same as if you were studying at Amherst College. A lower-cost program does not reduce the expected family contribution nor does a higher-cost program increase the expected family contribution. The amount of aid you receive from Amherst College will be determined based on the Amherst College tuition in addition to other costs related to the program you will attend including housing, meals, fees, transportation, books and personal expenses. If the total cost of your semester or year away is lower than your costs at Amherst, your Amherst College grant will be reduced. If the total cost is higher, your Amherst grant will be increased accordingly.
For study abroad, the term-time student employment expectation for the semester(s) you are away will be eliminated. If you attend a domestic study program, you will continue to have a student employment expectation. If you have Federal Work-Study eligibility, it may be transferable to a domestic study program. You will want to be in touch with the Student Employment Coordinator to establish an off-campus work-study contract, if applicable.
Conditions for Transferring Financial Aid Away or Abroad:
Students who are in good academic standing and who qualify for financial aid at Amherst College may apply their aid to study at another institution within the United States or abroad, subject to the following conditions:
- Proposed coursework must be approved, considered full-time and equal to a full semester's worth of credit toward your degree at Amherst College as determined by the Registrar of Amherst College.
- Students are fully responsible for all financial aid funds dispersed on their behalf or refunded directly to them. Voluntary withdrawals will result in the full cancellation of all Amherst financial aid funds paid on the student's behalf. Federal funds will be subject to federal regulations that might require the student to repay federal aid funds. Cancellation of financial aid funds, both institutional and federal, will appear as a charge to the Amherst student account. The balance on your student account must be paid before you can return to Amherst College.
- The family contribution remains the same for the year/semester that a student studies away from the College.
Documentation and Forms Required
All students who study abroad or on domestic study with an approved program will be charged Amherst College tuition for the semester or year they are away from Amherst. Students who participate in the recognized consortium programs will have charges (and sometimes credits) specified by each program. The documentation required for domestic study programs may vary by program.
To receive funding to study away, in addition to the standard application materials (Amherst Renewal Form, FAFSA, PROFILE, tax documentation), students will need to provide the following materials:
Official Documentation of Program/Institution Expenses:
This can be a printout from your program’s website or printed material from a brochure or letter from the program/school. Documentation must clearly state required fees, housing costs when charged by the program, estimated housing and meal costs (when not charged by the program), book expenses, local commuting costs (where necessary to go to and from classes), visa expenses and/or residency permit costs. Please note a billing statement is not sufficient documentation of program costs as there are a number of expenses incurred that are not billed by a program.
(available on our website under Forms and Helpful Links): You must provide: (a) the name, phone number and e-mail address of the contact person at the program or institution where you will be studying. The personal expense allowance for all students is $1,800 for a semester abroad. As indicated earlier, the GEO will advance tuition payments directly to your program. Please note financial aid cannot cover the cost of shipping (or storing) personal belongings, the cost for more than one checked bag, optional field trips, or personal travel beyond getting you to and from your program.
Documentation of airfare costs should be either: a copy of an economy reservation (for flights already booked) or if the flight is not yet booked, a printout of a page from an airline travel site (such as Student Universe or Kayak) using the program dates and quotes for an economy, lowest cost, most direct round trip to your program and back from your home. The estimate should include the cost one checked bag if the ticket cost does not include one checked bag as part of the initial ticket price. The aid program cannot include the cost of two one-way tickets, higher priced ticket costs that include stopovers or that allow you to change a ticket at a later time, a second bag, sightseeing trips included with your airfare reservations or a higher cost ticket. Ticket prices can include the cost of an international student ID if the student ID is required to secure a student fare. The aid office reserves the right to verify submitted estimated costs. If you have already purchased a roundtrip ticket, please provide a copy of the receipt along with the itinerary. If you want travel insurance, you will need to pay that cost.
It is best to make plane reservations well in advance. If your level of need is very high, you may be eligible for an advance of your financial aid to pay for your round-trip ticket. Please contact the Office of Financial Aid to determine if you qualify.
Once an estimate of your airfare has been provided and your award have been determined using the estimated cost, the award is considered final and will not be revised at a later date if the actual cost of your ticket is higher than the estimate.
Students are encouraged to arrange for an appointment with a dean to review the study away and payment of costs process and discuss questions. You do not need to wait until you are accepted to a program to make an appointment.
Determination of Aid Eligibility
Upon receipt of your completed application and study away materials, your aid eligibility will be determined and you will be sent an award notification and a Resources and Aid document that will show your budget and aid for the semester. Please keep this document for your records. Aid refunds (where applicable) will be sent to students directly and if there remain billed fees at your program (such as housing and food costs for example), the student is responsible for forwarding payment to the program from the refund. If your grant (and loan if applicable) exceeds the billed tuition fee at Amherst, you will be eligible for a refund. If you are eligible for a refund, you will receive a copy of the refund request at the time your aid is determined for your records. It will indicate the amount of your refund and the intended purpose(s). If there is no refund notice sent to you, this means your family contribution will be responsible for any remaining tuition balance at Amherst College and any remaining bill at your program. In addition, your out-of-pocket costs will need to be covered by your family contribution.
Application and Visa Fees
Financial aid is not provided in advance to pay for study abroad application fees or visa costs. If there is an application cost for the program you attend, you can include this cost and the cost of your visa on your budget sheet for inclusion when your aid eligibility is determined. Students should plan to cover these costs in advance. Your passport is a private document, so students are responsible for securing and paying their own passports and any renewal costs.
If you take non-credit courses for which there will be an extra charge, the cost cannot be covered by financial aid unless the course is required by Amherst College. If a non-credit language course is required for participation in the program and your academic department or the Faculty Committee on Study Abroad has stipulated the course as a requirement, the tuition charge for the course should be sent to GEO for payment. Housing and food cost documentation should be provided along with the other budget documentation to the Office of Financial Aid at the time other study-away materials are provided.
Tuition bills for your program should be directed to the Office of Global Education. Billed fees for housing and meal costs (where relevant), if included in your program’s billed fees, should be sent by the program to you, the student, even if you anticipate your financial aid will cover these expenses.
If you attend one of the ten domestic study programs available (https://www.amherst.edu/academiclife/global-learning/study_abroad/new-resources-for-students/program_list), you will be billed by Amherst College in accordance with the domestic study agreement, and your financial aid will be credited to your student account first before any refunds (where applicable) would be available.
How Aid Is Disbursed
Financial aid is applied toward study away expenses in the following order:
- Tuition – credited directly to your student account and applied against the Amherst College tuition charge, tuition insurance (unless waived) and health insurance (unless waived).
- Housing and food: If housing and food charges are billed by your program/institution and your financial aid is more than the billed Amherst College tuition charges, the excess funds will be refunded to you and you will be responsible for making the payment to the program. If you do receive a refund but the refund does not fully cover the non-tuition billed fees at the program, your family contribution will cover the remaining billed fees. If housing or meals are not charged as part of the program fee and your financial aid amount exceeds the Amherst College tuition, the excess aid is refunded to the student prior to the beginning of the semester abroad and the student is responsible for paying the costs as the semester progresses, possibly in conjunction with the family contribution.
- Airfare, Books, supplies, course fees, commuting, visa, required immunizations and personal expenses: For most students, these expenses are paid from your family contribution. If you are a very high-need student and there is grant (or loan, if applicable) in excess of the tuition, or charged housing and meal costs, excess aid will be refunded to the student prior to the beginning of the semester to assist in covering these expenses.
Additional considerations and costs to think about:
Program Deposits, Tuition Payments and Transcript Fees
The Office for Global Education is responsible for payment of tuition, program deposits (not housing deposits), transcript fees and other program charges (supplies charged by the program to the student’s account). Please contact GEO for payment of these bills.
You must have health insurance coverage while you are away. Amherst College charges all students for health insurance, including those who study abroad or on domestic study. The Amherst College Student Health Insurance Plan provides coverage for students abroad (other than in their home countries). If your family has health insurance and it provides adequate coverage for you while you are abroad, or if your program includes health insurance, you should waive the College’s health insurance charge by completing the petition to waive health insurance (online). Aided spring study-away students who are not already on the College’s health insurance (from the fall semester) should determine if their study abroad program includes health insurance as part of their billed fees. If it does not, you do not need to request Amherst College Health insurance as you will be billed automatically. If you waived the College’s health insurance for the fall semester, but need the College’s health insurance for a semester abroad (your existing insurance from your parents does not cover you abroad) and you receive need-based grant assistance from Amherst, you should submit the Health Scholarship Request form to receive a grant to cover the required billed insurance costs at Amherst.
Please note the Office of Financial Aid does not provide prescription co-pay assistance, coverage for eye exams, glasses or emergency dental care when students study abroad/away from Amherst College. Students should address medical issues before they leave for their study away program including arranging for prescriptions.
Outside (External) Scholarships
If you have an outside scholarship or employer tuition benefit as part of your award at Amherst College, the College will consider the funds as available towards your semester abroad/away costs. If your outside scholarship is paid directly to you, you are responsible for using the funds towards paying for your study away costs. If the outside scholarship is paid to Amherst College, it will be credited toward your billed fees at Amherst first and if your total grant aid exceeds your billed tuition at Amherst, the aid office will advance the anticipated outside scholarship funds in accordance with the How Aid is Disbursed. Amherst students should not apply for program/college sponsored scholarships or grants from any term-time study abroad program and are reminded you are required to report the receipt of such funds to the Office of Financial Aid. Outside scholarships, including those offered from a study abroad program must be included in your financial aid award. Funds received from the study away programs will reduce your Amherst College grant funding, not your family contribution.
If you have an outside scholarship as part of your initial financial aid, please be sure to complete any required paperwork to secure your funds. If an outside scholarship is lost due to your failure to complete paperwork (enrollment certification, transcript submission, etc.), the outstanding amount will be due to Amherst College in full prior to your next period of enrollment at Amherst and cannot be made up with Amherst College funds.
Currency Conversion and Wiring Fees
Financial aid is not available to cover the cost of converting foreign currency or transferring funds fees.
Currency exchange rates are verified at the time of your initial award. Your award can be reviewed, at your request, if currency rates change in excess of 10% from the initial amount used when your award was determined. You must request a review during the academic year (prior to mid-February) that you are away. Retroactive adjustments will not be made in the following academic year or after mid-February of the academic year you are abroad.
You should notify your personal bank several weeks in advance of your departure that you will be out of the country, for how long you will be gone, and where you will be so they do not place a hold on your credit/debit card activity.
Monthly Payment Plans, Prepaid Tuition Programs, Tuition Benefit Programs
Your family can enroll in the five-month payment program, available through Nelnet, for the tuition* portion of your semester/year abroad. Please be reminded that Amherst College will charge for tuition, tuition insurance and health insurance. If your program requires payment for costs such as housing and meals, you should contact them directly if you are interested to know if they offer an installment plan for billed fees other than tuition. Many programs do offer a payment plan if they charge for housing and possibly meals. Some study away programs offered through US institutions have payment plans available; your family should contact the programs directly to determine if a payment plan is available.
If your family participates in a pre-paid tuition program in your home state, a 529 plan or if you receive a tuition benefit from a parent employer, since Amherst College will charge you for tuition, pre-paid tuition, 529 plans and parent tuition benefit plans should continue to be paid directly to Amherst College.
*Some Amherst domestic study programs charge tuition, housing and food. For those programs, the monthly installment plan can be for all Amherst College charges.
If you will be away for the fall semester or the full academic year, be sure your budget information sheet is complete and that you have been in touch with a financial aid dean before you leave Amherst for the summer. If you will be away for the spring semester, please meet with a dean early in the fall semester and submit all necessary materials as soon as they are available.
It is your responsibility to ensure that all paperwork necessary to secure your aid has been properly completed and submitted in a timely manner.
The status of your financial aid documents can be reviewed online at your Financial Aid Portal.
This page last updated January 13, 2023.