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Participating in a Global Engagement Experience

Butterfly in garden near Parrish Hall

If you choose to study away from campus on a Swarthmore approved abroad program or at one of Swarthmore’s domestic exchange programs, your financial aid relationship remains with Swarthmore.  Your eligibility for Swarthmore financial aid during study abroad will be based on Swarthmore’s actual charges and allowances for books and personal expenses as if you were still here at Swarthmore, living on campus. In practice, this policy allows for a more generous budget for your study abroad, since you will not pay the student activity fee, and off-campus study programs rarely expect students to buy many books. This leaves room for the expenses you might incur for any necessary vaccinations or travel visas. Swarthmore's Global Engagement Office  arranges for payment to your program. 

Financial aid cannot be applied to an off-campus study program during a leave of absence from the College or during the Summer. Contact the Global Engagement Office to discuss these programs. 


Most study-abroad programs do not offer campus work opportunities.  Are there additional resources to help with this shortfall?

Students may utilize Federal Direct loans or a Swarthmore College loan to help with an earnings shortfall during study abroad.  Please contact the Financial Aid Office to learn about these options.


What types of additional costs should I expect to incur when considering a study abroad opportunity?  

Students may use loan funds or their own savings to cover items listed in this area.

  • Refundable deposits: These are deposits that will be returned to you if you meet a certain expectation. Examples of refundable deposits may include those for keys, rooms, or usage of property.   
  • Vaccinations: Vaccination costs and information can be obtained from the Global Engagement Office or the Health Center.
  • Postage or travel to obtain a visa.
  • Laundry, gym memberships, or personal travel.

Can I utilize the Student Emergency Fund (Dean of Students Office) to cover these additional costs?

The Student Emergency Fund funding cannot supplement costs that have already been considered by the Financial Aid Office.  As titled, the Student Emergency Fund may be requested for unforeseen and unexpected events unrelated to your academic expenses.


What do I do if I receive a grant or scholarship from my study abroad program?

Students must notify the Financial Aid Office of external scholarships or grants.  The influence of these additional resources must be included within your financial aid decision.   If your program provides a discount to their program cost, that discount does not affect your financial aid.  A discounted program cost cannot be reflected on your Swarthmore bill.


Do I need to pay taxes on grants I receive for my program?

Please see the IRS guidance on what constitutes taxable scholarship.


How do I prepare my budget for  studying away from campus?

The Global Engagement Office will provide information on program costs and give direction on any portion of those costs that students are responsible for covering.  Students should be sure to set up meetings with them and attend the pre-departure workshops.  Along with the Global Engagement Office, students should carefully consider the financial information provided by their individual program as well as the program evaluations pertaining to expense and costs. 

Students are strongly encouraged to discuss budgeting and planning with their family/guardian, particularly any anticipated needs to supplement funds for personal expenses.

Swarthmore does not bill an Activity Fee when students participate in off-campus study.  This cost, however, is included when considering the student for financial aid.  These funds could then be allocated instead to cover personal expenses or additional cultural or learning opportunities while off campus.