Financial Aid and Study Away/Abroad

Conditions for transferring financial aid away or abroad:

Students 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:

  1. Proposed coursework must be approved and 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.

  2. Students are fully responsible for all financial aid funds dispersed on their behalf. 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 repaid before you can return to Amherst College.

  3. Financial aid funds cannot be advanced to a study abroad program until you have completed the required Educational Leave Form with the Study Abroad Office

Supplemental Forms Required

To receive funding to study away, in addition to the standard application materials (Amherst Renewal Form, FAFSA, PROFILE, tax documentation) you 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 tuition, fees, room and board and if available, projected personal expenses for the semester or year you will be studying away.  A billing statement is not sufficient documentation of program costs because it does not include indirect aided expenses.

Completed Study Abroad/Domestic Study Budget Information Sheet: (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, (b) the exact name of the program or institution to which the check should be made payable, (c) the complete addresswhere the check should be mailed, and (d) the dateby which it must be received. Without the above information, we will be unable to advance any financial aid funds. Please note financial aid cannot cover the cost of shipping personal belongings, optional field trips, or personal travel beyond getting you to and from your program.  The Personal Expenses Allowance is capped at $1,800 for a semester abroad. 

Airfare Documentation: If your travel costs are not included in your program’s billed fees, you must provide official documentation (receipt) of your actual ticket expense.  Do not provide an estimate. It is best to make your plane reservations well in advance.  If your level of need is such that your aid would be expected to cover your airfare, you may be eligible for an advance of your financial aid to pay for your ticket. Please contact our office to determine if you qualify.

Once you have determined you will study away from Amherst College, please arrange for an appointment with a dean to review the application process and discuss any questions. You do not need to wait until you are accepted to a program to make an appointment

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 meet with a 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.

Determination of Aid Eligibility

Upon receipt of your completed application and study away materials, we will determine your aid eligibility and prepare a check request(s) for the amount of aid to be forwarded from Amherst College to your study away program. You will receive copies of all check requests. Please keep these copies for your records.

Family Contribution

Your family contribution is calculated by the same analysis as if you were studying at Amherst. A lower cost program does not reduce the expected family contribution.

The amount of aid you are eligible to receive from Amherst College will be based on the cost of the program you attend. If the cost is lower, your Amherst grant will be reduced. If the cost is higher, your Amherst grant will be increased accordingly.

Employment

For study abroad, the student employment expectation for the semester(s) you are away is eliminated. If you attend a domestic exchange, you will continue to have student employment expectation. If you have Federal Work-Study eligibility, it may be transferable to your domestic program.

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. A passport is a private document and students are responsible for securing their own passports.

Non-Credit Coursework

If you take non-credit courses for which there will be an extra charge, this cost cannot be covered by financial aid. If a non-credit course is required for participation in the program (such as a language preparation course), private loan assistance from Amherst College may be available.

Billing

For most programs and schools, bills should always be directed to the student - not Amherst College or the financial aid office - even if your financial aid is expected to cover your billed fees. Your financial aid will be forwarded to your program and you will not be billed by Amherst College.

If you attend the AKP Doshisha Exchange program, the Gottingen Exchange program or the New College, Oxford program, you will be billed by Amherst College and your financial aid will be credited to your student account.

How aid is disbursed

Financial aid is applied toward study away expenses in the following order:

  1. Tuition and fees:  Checks are made payable and sent directly to the host institution/program.

  2. Room and board (if charged by the host institution): This amount is included in the check going directly to the host institution. If room and board is not charged as part of the program fee and your financial aid exceeds the billed fees of the program, the excess aid is refunded to the student prior to the beginning of the semester abroad.

  3. Airfare, Books, supplies, course fees, commuting, visa, application, required immunizations and personal expenses:  For most students, these expenses will be paid for from your family contribution unless you are a very high need student. If excess financial aid remains after all billed tuition, fees, room and board are paid, a refund check is provided to the student to assist in covering these expenses. 

Additional considerations and costs to think about:

Program Deposits

If the program or institution you will attend requires a program deposit and you are a high need student, you may be eligible for an advance of your financial aid to pay the deposit. Please contact our office to determine if you qualify. Note that such deposits are typically non-refundable and if aid is advanced to pay the deposit and you decide not to attend, you will need to repay the lost deposit to the College.

Health Insurance

You should determine if the program costs include health insurance coverage. You must have health insurance coverage while you are away. If you need to be covered under the College's Student Health Insurance Plan, please indicate this on the budget sheet.

Outside (External) Scholarships

Please advise the Office of Financial Aid of any documentation needed from us to secure outside scholarship funds.  If you lose an outside scholarship due to your failure to complete paperwork or follow up on missing documents, the outstanding aid becomes due in full prior to your next period of enrollment at Amherst.

Currency Conversion and Wiring Fees

Financial aid is not available to cover the cost of converting foreign currency or transferring funds. If your program bill must be paid in foreign currency, any cost for converting or wiring financial aid funds paid to the program/institution will be charged to your student account. 

Currency exchange rates are verified at the time of your initial award. We can review your award, at your request, if exchange 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 that you are away. Retroactive adjustments will not be made in the following academic year.

You should notify your bank several weeks in advance of your departure that you will be out of the country, for how long, and where you will be so they do not place a hold on your bank/debit card.

Monthly Payment Plans (TMS) or Prepaid Tuition Programs

Your family should not enroll in the TMS (five month payment) program for your semester/year abroad unless you have determined that the program where you will be enrolled offers a payment option.  Some study away programs offered through US institutions have payment plans available; your family should contact those programs directly to determine if a payment plan is available.

If your family participates in a pre-paid tuition program in your home state, Amherst College cannotissue bills for students who study at other institutions or programs. Your family will need to make arrangements with your state prepaid program to determine what documentation is required in order for your family to access those funds.

Final Note

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 www.amherst.edu/go/netpartner.

This page last modified February 16, 2016.