Fundraising will help to make your study abroad program more affordable and can serve as a way to educate the public. If you select a study abroad program that helps achieve your long-term goals, it will be easier to solicit funds from external sources. Keep in mind that local, regional and national groups, as well as individuals, are all possible contributors. They include:
- Heritage groups that have interests in specific countries (e.g. Japan America Society)
- Civic groups (Rotary, Kiwanis, and Lions Clubs)
- Agencies and foundations
- Travel agencies
- High school alumni associations
- Professional and business clubs
- Media (newspapers, radio and TV)
- Sororities and fraternities (local and national chapters)
- Vocational rehabilitation agencies (for students with disabilities)
- Charitable, ethnic, religious and campus organizations
Direct, informal appeals often work best. Be specific on how you intend to spend the funds (airfare, program fee, tuition, special projects, etc.). Include a photo of yourself with your request so that the receiver will establish a personal connection with you. Enthusiasm, creativity, and perseverance on your part – and not fearing rejection in some instances – will likely take you a long way. In exchange for your financial support, you should pledge to “give something back,” such as regular updates while you are abroad or a post card sent from your host city. Alternatively, upon your return you could:
- Write an article
- Show a video from your experience
- Create a Web site
- Sponsor a regional dinner or presentation
- Lead a discussion or seminar
- Organize a topical campus or community forum
- Promote educational and business exchanges
- Participate in radio and televised interviews and broadcasts
- Contribute community service and outreach
- Help others to have a similar international experience
Ideas that have worked for other students:
- Waive holiday and birthday gifts and request financial gifts or loans instead.
- Write a creative letter/email to all your relatives, asking for financial support in exchange for monthly emails or blog updates while abroad and a presentation and dinner upon return.
- Ask friends to join you in raising money by painting, cleaning or washing cars.
- Organize an event where you and/or some friends donate instruction for a couple of hours (cooking, quilting, yoga, karate, computer skills, dancing, sign language, stained glass, woodworking, etc.).
- Collect used books, CD’s, computer software, etc. and have a sale.
- Ask your church, synagogue or temple to sponsor a special offering, dinner, or raffle and give the proceeds for study abroad.
- Create an online crowdsourcing account through sites such as GoFundMe.com or Fundme.com
- Approach stores for donated supplies such as clothing, camping gear, etc.
- Find out if your parents’ employers have a scholarship program for their children or find out if your employer will make a cash advance to be paid back through payroll deduction. No harm in asking!
- In exchange for the use of your car while you’re gone, have a friend or sibling make all or part of your car payments.
- Organize a can drive in the residence halls.
- Work for the Department of Police and Public Safety (DPPS) for special event parking.
- Sell coffee and baked goods with a sign stating your purpose.
- SAVE, SAVE, SAVE!
Keep careful records of who supported you and the amount. Be sure to express your appreciation for their support. Your energy and enthusiasm for an international experience will be contagious! Good luck!
You should compare the cost of living and attending classes on-campus with the cost of your prospective study abroad program. The budget worksheet below can assist you with these calculations
Study Abroad Budget Worksheet
After you have the calculations come up with a strategy for funding your time abroad.
Funding Study Abroad Information Sessions
IAP offers Funding Study Abroad Information Sessions each semester in collaboration with the Office of Student Financial Aid. These sessions will be co-presented by an IAP staff member and a staff member from the Office of Student Financial Aid and will cover the following topics: the cost of studying abroad, program fees, financial aid, scholarships, and creative fundraising and saving strategies.
To see the current schedule, including dates and times, please visit the Events Calendar. If you are unable to attend the in person session, you can access the online version of the information session here.