Parents, family members, and friends play a very important role in supporting their student overseas. To learn more about the study abroad procedure and important information concerning you and your student, read on.
Parent and Student Roles
Parental support is essential in helping students assume responsibility for their time abroad. Students will need parents for advice and assistance, and parental encouragement is crucial to the success of each student’s study abroad experience. However in order for students to get the most out of this experience, students will need to assume responsibility for the application process and preparation to go abroad. Studying abroad provides a student the opportunity for academic and personal growth, to challenge themselves and to experience the world from a new perspective. Students who invest personal effort in the entire process receive the most benefit. The Study Abroad Office, therefore, believes that students should assume responsibility for the study abroad experience they are about to have. We are here to guide and assist each student, through group and one-on-one advising, pre-departure orientations, and support while abroad.
The Study Abroad Office adheres to UMBC’s policy regarding Disclosure of Student Records under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). While the Study Abroad Office is happy to answer questions from parents, in many cases we are not able to share information due to FERPA regulations. In keeping with university policy, the Study Abroad Office considers it the student’s responsibility to keep parent(s) or guardian(s) informed about the student’s progress at the university including enrollment in a study abroad program. The SAO is student-centered and we will communicate with and send all correspondence directly to the student.
Paying for Study Abroad
Almost all students can afford to study abroad if they plan well. Early planning is the key to financing study abroad. Costs vary according to the program. Specific information about each program’s costs is available from the Study Abroad Office and the individual program providers’ websites.
All federal/state grants and loans can be used to finance your student’s study abroad program. Most UMBC-based scholarships and grants can also be used. In addition, there are a variety of scholarship opportunities available to students.
Students are responsible for making certain they understand the payment procedures for their program provider or international institution. These policies vary tremendously from program to program. Payment information and refund policies are included in the admissions information your student receives from his or her program provider or international institution. Make certain you and your student read and understand this information.
Many US program providers and many international institution require a deposit of between $300 to $500 shortly after students are admitted to the program. This deposit, deducted from the overall program fee, tells the program provider or international institution that the student plans to participate in their program. You or your student are responsible for making payment in a timely fashion.
As part of the Study Abroad Registration Package that students receive during the Pre-Departure Orientation, students will confirm that they have read and understood their payment obligations to their international institution or program provider. Students who leave an unpaid balance with their program provider or international institution risk the delay of their credit transfer, and can also, in extreme cases, have their UMBC registration cancelled and a registration hold placed on their accounts.
Financing your student’s education is probably your central concern. This concern can be the main factor that students use when deciding whether or not to apply for and participate in a study abroad program. You and your student should not let the financial need deter him or her from this life-changing experience, as most forms of federal and state financial aid (including subsidized and non-subsidized student loans, Pell Grants, and Maryland State Grants) can be used to finance most summer, semester and academic year study abroad programs.
How Does Financial Aid Apply?
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) determines the amount and type of need-based federal and state financial aid a student is eligible to receive, whether he or she is studying on campus or overseas. Once a student has been accepted to a study abroad program, an official study abroad budget can be obtained from the UMBC Study Abroad Office. This budget outlines all of the costs involved in studying abroad: the program fee or tuition at your host university, airfare, room and board, books, and a passport and student visa. Your financial aid counselor will recalculate the student’s financial need based on these figures. Even students who were not eligible for financial aid may find that they can receive aid to help cover the costs of a study abroad program.
Maryland State Aid
Maryland State Aid (Delegate Scholarships, HOPE Scholarships and other forms of scholarships and grants given by the State of Maryland) can only be used on programs that are administered by universities within the University System of Maryland (USM).
Tuition waivers can only be used for UMBC or other USM tuition exchange programs. They cannot be used for UMBC Direct or UMBC Affiliate programs.
UMBC Merit Scholarships
UMBC merit scholarships are guaranteed to transfer for one semester. Students receive the dollar amount they do as if they were on campus. Merit scholarships cannot transfer for summer or January-term programs. Students participating on a year-long study abroad program can do so, but they must petition the Scholarships Office stating clearly the academic reasons behind their need to spend a second semester overseas.
Maryland 529 Plans