Financial Resources

When you study abroad, take your financial aid with you

Financial Aid

When you study abroad, take your financial aid with you

Financial Aid

You can apply most financial aid to studying abroad if California State University, Fullerton and the host institution approve your academic plans. To obtain that approval, you must arrange for the international institution or U.S. program sponsor to provide confirmation of your full-time enrollment (minimum 12 units/semester for undergraduates, or 9 units/semester for graduates) once you have registered for classes abroad. Confirmation must be sent to the Office of Financial Aid; failure to do so may jeopardize your financial aid eligibility. If your number of credits or course selection changes, report it immediately to both your academic department and the Study Abroad & Global Engagement office.

Studying abroad is an investment in your education and career. It’s easy to think that participating in a Study Abroad and Global Engagement (SAGE) program is too expensive. However, it’s more affordable than you think, especially with various financial resources available!

All students who are interested in participating in a SAGE program, regardless of income range, should complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA should be completed for each academic year the student will be attending college, including when they wish to study abroad. New applications are released in October for the following academic year (Fall and Spring semesters).  It is recommended that CSUF students file their FAFSA electronically by the March 2nd priority filing date. While students may still file a FAFSA after the March 2nd priority date, applying early gives you the best chance at getting the most aid. Learn more by visiting the Office of Financial Aid FAFSA website.

Students are able to use federal (e.g. Pell Grant) and state (e.g. Cal Grants) financial aid towards CSU/CSUF programs and federal financial aid towards Non-CSUF programs. Your financial need will be based on the total cost estimate for your SAGE program. Students should inquire with the Office of Financial Aid to determine the amount of aid available.

There are hundreds of scholarships available to help you fund your SAGE program. A variety of scholarship opportunities can be found on the SAGE website under “Resources.” Additionally, students who participate in CSU/CSUF SAGE programs may also be eligible to use CSU-wide, CSUF and Associated Student scholarships and awards towards their programs.

Students who use fee waivers may also be able to apply them to their CSU/CSUF SAGE program. More information on fee waivers can be found on the CSU Fee Waivers website. Let your SAGE Advisor know if you receive any of the following tuition fee waivers:

  • The CalVet Fee Waiver for Veteran Dependents. Contact the Veterans Resource Center ( for more info on how to use this waiver for your SAGE program.
  • CSU Employee or Dependent fee waivers.
  • The CSU Foster Youth Tuition Waiver. This is available for current and former foster care youth who are enrolled at a CSU campus in an undergraduate program. 
  • The Alan Pattee fee waiver. This is available for the surviving spouse or surviving child of an active CA law enforcement/fire suppression officer killed in the line of duty.

Students should look into all the financial resources listed above before considering and applying for loans. Loans can be a useful financial resource for students planning to do a SAGE program, especially for emergency situations abroad. If you are considering applying for a loan, be sure to fill out the FAFSA (see above) to qualify for federal loans, which generally have lower interest rates than private loans. For more information on loans, please contact the Office of Financial Aid. 

For complete details about applying your financial aid to study abroad programs, please visit the Financial Aid office’s Study Abroad page. You can review the most commonly asked questions on the website or download the Financial Aid FAQ.

Important: Using Financial Aid for Studying Abroad

Using aid for studying abroad is a contractual obligation. If you withdraw from the program while abroad, or fail to bring back the contracted number of credits within one semester following your study abroad experience, CSUF will place a hold on your student account and require you to repay all or part of the financial aid you received for the program. You’ll be unable to register until this financial aid is repaid in full.

If you attempt to complete the contracted number of credits and fail one or more of the courses, you maintain your financial aid eligibility for the semester abroad, but your subsequent semesters of financial aid may be affected.

In other words, be sure that you know your obligations and what’s required of you before making this important decision. If you have any questions, contact the Study Abroad & Global Engagement office.