Financial Aid and Study Abroad

Students who participate in approved programs abroad and who will receive the UNC Charlotte equivalent of full-time academic credit for the term of their experience abroad are eligible to put their financial aid towards their study abroad expenses. However, there are there are some considerations students need to think about when financially planning for their study abroad experience and how their aid will apply.

Financial Aid eligibilty for Study Abroad

Students who are awarded financial aid are only eligible to utilize their funds for their study abroad expenses if they:

  • Are a currently enrolled and active UNC Charlotte student
  • Are a degree-seeking student
  • Have completed the required EA application process and have received approval from EA to participate in the program
  • Will receive the UNC Charlotte equivalent of full-time academic credit for the term of travel

Financial aid eligibility and disbursement timelines are determined by federal law and managed by the Office of Financial Aid at each institution.

Applying for Aid

Students should refer to Niner Central’s Financial Aid & Loans page for more information on how to apply for financial aid, including completing the required Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Note that completing a FAFSA does not guarantee you will receive financial aid, nor that the amount you receive will cover all your study abroad expenses. Students are responsible for taking any steps necessary by stated deadlines to apply for and receive aid.

Cost Estimate Worksheets (CEWs) for each student and are sent over to the Office of Financial Aid (OFA). The OFA refers to these sheets when determining award amounts. The process will vary depending on the program type:

  • For Faculty-Led Programs: EA creates the CEW on the student’s behalf and EA sends these CEWs to the OFA automatically.
  • For Exchange, Affiliate and Direct Enrollment Programs: students are asked to complete and submit their CEW during the initial application process. Once students upload their CEW into their EA application, EA shares it with the OFA directly.

Disbursement of aid

While financial aid and scholarship awards are typically disbursed at the start of the UNC Charlotte semester, disbursement dates should be confirmed on an individual basis with Financial Aid, Student Accounts, NinerScholars, and/or the scholarship organizer. The process of applying and receiving financial aid does not change for study abroad students. Study abroad students are notified of their award amount at the same time as other UNC Charlotte students. Once awarded, students should review and accept their award. Study abroad students do not receive their aid any earlier, and should expect to pay for some expenses out of pocket before receiving their aid (application fees, airfare, etc.). Some financial aid refunds will go out the first week of class, according to UNC Charlotte’s Academic Calendar. Grants and scholarships may not disburse until after the add/drop period ends. See Niner Central’s Four Steps to Financial Aid for further details.

Once a student receives their aid (we recommend study abroad students set up direct deposit with UNC Charlotte if they haven’t already), they will be expected to use the funds to pay off any remaining study abroad expenses with EA, affiliate provider, host institution, etc. Financial aid is not automatically sent over to EA or any other entity.

Aid is disbursed Aid is applied to student account Aid is disbursed to students Student Submits Payment(s)
Aid is disbursed at the start of the semester the student will be studying abroad according to the UNC Charlotte academic calendar.Aid is first applied to existing charges on the Student Account. Note: only participants on exchange programs will have study abroad related expenses on their student account (full-time tuition and fees)The full amount of aid (or remaining balance) will then be funded to the student directly. Students should set up direct deposit. Aid is not automatically sent to EA or any other entity.Once aid is received by the student, they should use it to submit payment for program fees to EA, host institution, affiliate provider, etc.

Program Withdrawal and Aid Repayment

Please note that students who accept aid for a study abroad program and then withdraw from the program without registering for courses at UNC Charlotte, will be required to pay back all financial aid (including scholarships) to the university. Students who fail to complete their study abroad program may be responsible for repayment of the aid received for the term of travel. Similarly, students who fail all courses or fail to meet requirements of the program (e.g. remaining full-time while abroad), may also be responsible for repayment of the aid received for that term.

Summer Financial Aid

Financial aid applies to the summer term differently than to the regular academic year. Students are required to apply separately for summer aid. Additionally, eligibility requirements, disbursal timelines, and credit requirements vary from the regular academic year.

Summer Aid Application

Any UNC Charlotte student who intends to utilize financial aid during a Summer I and/or Summer II session must complete a Summer Financial Aid Application. This form does not become available until UNC Charlotte Summer/Fall course registration begins. To receive the form, students must visit Niner Central in person. Upon submission of the form, the Office of Financial Aid will then evaluate whether or not the student is eligible for summer financial aid.

Summer Full-Time Status

Students who will be utilizing financial aid during the summer must be the equivalent of full-time, Summer I and Summer II sessions combined.

UNC Charlotte’s full-time status according to the student’s level:

  • Undergraduates: 6 credit hours
  • Graduates: 4.5 credit hours

Summer Financial Aid Disbursal

If the student is awarded financial aid, it will not be disbursed until the start of the summer session the student reaches the equivalent of full-time status. For example, undergraduate students who study abroad in Summer I taking three credits, and then enroll in an on-campus course in Summer II, will not receive their aid until their sixth credit kicks in during the Summer II session.

Who to Contact

When planning for study abroad costs and payments, students will need to work EA, the Office of Financial Aid, and Niner Central. It is important to know which office can give students information about which processes so that they can be fully informed before committing to a program.

Who to Contact

OfficeRole of Office & What Information Can Be Provided
UNC Charlotte Education Abroad– Advise students on general program cost structure (what is paid and to whom)
– Provide resources to students to help with determining the total estimated cost of the program
– Create Cost Estimate Worksheets for exchange and faculty-led program students
– Provide Cost Estimate Worksheets to students to create a budget for affiliate provider programs and direct enrollment programs
– Provide general overview of financial aid logistics Review, edit, and send Cost Estimate Worksheets and program information to the Office of Financial Aid
– Confirm students’ study abroad participation with the Office of Financial Aid
– Ensure students are registered at UNC Charlotte while abroad (as applicable) to keep them active and full-time while abroad
Niner Central– Advise students on their financial aid eligibility (including what is considered full-time status) and types of aid available
– Advise students on approximate fund disbursement dates
– Provide summer financial aid application form
– Collect Proof of Financial Aid Forms (if required by an affiliate provider, host university, or third party)
Office of Financial Aid– Update student’s cost of attendance to reflect study abroad cost estimate sheets once received from EA
– Process financial aid
– Process Proof of Financial Aid Forms once received from Niner Central