Financial Aid and AMBEX Scholarship Information
AMBEX understands that not every student has the means to directly pay program fees and welcomes students to explore financial aid and scholarship opportunities. Financial aid may be allocated to cover all reasonable expenses of your study abroad trip. These include program tuition and fees, room & board and other costs of living that may be incurred while abroad.
AMBEX also offers its own scholarships! See section below (AMBEX Scholarships) for more information.
In order to receive financial aid a student generally must carry a full-time load and receive transferable credit from AMBEX toward his or her degree. Credit received at AMBEX does not have to fulfill major requirements, but can be recognized as elective credits that advance the student toward a degree (i.e. history, bible, humanities etc. credits).
If you are currently receiving or are planning on using financial aid to pay for all or part of your expenses while abroad, go to the financial aid office on your campus in order to determine what aid will transfer to AMBEX. Apply early to ensure the procedures are carried out correctly and so you may qualify for specific study abroad scholarships your home school may offer. This will enable you to receive notification of your award and help you plan for other financial arrangements that you may need to make in order to come to AMBEX. Apply through the Financial Aid Office at your home university. Although procedures differ from university to university, the first step will be to fill out a FAFSA form available at www.fafsa.ed.gov. Make sure you follow all of your institution’s requirements and regulations.
Once your home institution approves the program, AMBEX will sign a “Consortium” or “Contractual” agreement with your home University. As part of this agreement, AMBEX will provide your school’s financial aid office with an approximate budget for your study abroad program in order to help determine how much aid you will receive.
How to use financial aid towards AMBEX (Please note that it is ultimately the discretion of the student’s U.S. college or university whether institutional aid is transferable to AMBEX):
- Visit your university study abroad and financial aid offices to inform them of your plans to use financial aid to pay for the AMBEX program.
- Inform AMBEX of your intent to use financial aid to pay for part or all of your program fees.
- You must make your Confirmation Payment 30 days after you are accepted to AMBEX, regardless of whether you are receiving financial aid. The Confirmation Payment is $400 for both semester and summer programs. This payment reserves your spot and enables AMBEX to make arrangements on your behalf before receiving your final payment.
- Your financial aid advisor should contact AMBEX directly if a Consortium Agreement or Contractual Agreement needs to be completed.
- It is ultimately your responsibility to ensure that AMBEX receives your full payment. If your financial aid is being disbursed after the AMBEX final payment deadline, you will notify AMBEX prior to the deadline and guarantee full payment in writing. To ensure a smooth transfer, be sure to complete all home university financial aid paperwork. Be sure to verify the amount of outstanding payment (costs not covered by financial aid) you owe AMBEX, and send us a check for your balance, on or before the full-payment deadline. The balance MUST be received on or before the final payment deadline for the student’ to avoid late fees or jeopardizing participation in the program.
Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program
Established by the International Academic Opportunity Act of 2000, this congressionally-funded program provides awards for U.S. undergraduate students to study abroad who are receiving federal Pell Grant funding at their college or university. Through a competitive selection process, awards of up to $5,000 are given to U.S. undergraduate students to study abroad for up to one academic year. The award may be used for tuition and fees, room and board, books, local transportation, health insurance, and international airfare. Candidates must be undergraduate students at a U.S. two-year or four-year college or university and currently receiving the Federal Pell Grant at the time of application. Approximately 15% of applicants are selected to receive the Gilman Scholarship with a total of 360 awards made in two cycles each year. The deadline for the fall application cycle is April 15 and the deadline for the spring application cycle is September 26. For more information and full eligibility criteria, visit www.iie.org/gilman. To apply online, go to https://gilmanapplication.iie.org/IIE/public/Default.aspx. You may also contact the Gilman office directly by writing to Gilman International Scholarship Program, Institute of International Education – Houston, 520 Post Oak Blvd., Ste. 740, Houston, TX 77027, calling 1-888-887-5939 x25 or 1-713-621-6300 x25, sending a fax to 1-713-621-0876, or sending an e-mail to email@example.com.
Federal Pell Grants
A Federal Pell Grant is not a loan and does not have to be repaid. Pell Grants are usually a foundation of financial aid, to which aid from other federal and nonfederal sources might be added. For more information, visit www.ed.gov/programs/fpg.
FSEOG (Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants)
An FSEOG is given to undergraduate students with exceptional financial needs and the lowest Expected Family Contributions (EFC) number. Those students who receive Federal Pell Grants are given priority. An FSEOG is not a loan and does not have to be paid off. You can learn more about the FSEOG by visiting the website: www.ed.gov/programs/fseog.
Federal Perkins Loans
A Federal Perkins Loan is a low-interest (five percent) loan for both undergraduate and graduate students with exceptional financial needs. Your school acts as the lender and the loan is backed by government funds. You must repay this loan to your home institution. Your award amount depends on when you apply, your level of need, your Expected Family Contributions (EFC), and the school’s funding level. Ask the financial aid office at your home institution for more information; you can also learn more at www.ed.gov/programs/fpl.
Stafford Loans, also known as a Direct Loan or a Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL), come as subsidized or unsubsidized loans. A subsidized loan is awarded based on financial need and the recipient does not pay interest until the repayment period, usually arranged after graduation. An unsubsidized loan is not awarded based on financial need and the recipient will be charged interest from the time the loan is disbursed until it is paid in full. Completing your FAFSA form is the first step in applying for a Stafford Loan. More information about direct loans can be found at www.ed.gov/directloan or by visiting your financial aid office.
Federal PLUS Loans
These are loans taken out by your parents to pay for your educational expenses. Types include Direct PLUS Loans and FFEL PLUS Loans. Your parents may apply if you are a dependent and if they pass a credit check. Your parents must complete and submit a PLUS Loan application, available from your school or lender. After the school completes its portion of the application, it must be sent to a lender for evaluation. For more information visit your school’s financial aid office.
Don’t limit yourself in your search for study abroad financial assistance, as there is a wide variety of opportunities to obtain funding for your AMBEX study abroad semester! Please note that AMBEX is not affiliated with the following lenders or scholarship funds.
Fast Web (www.fastweb.com) provides a scholarship search as well as advice on searching for and using loans, grants, and other types of financial aid.
College Board (www.collegeboard.com/student/pay/index.html), along with resources for researching and applying for college, offers a database of more than 2,300 sources of college funding, totaling nearly $3 billion in financial aid opportunities. Do a Quick Search for “study abroad” or “international,” or fill out a profile (it’s free) for more advanced search options and scholarship matches that are right for you.
The Department of Education (www.ed.gov/finaid) is the official resource for federal financial aid and can provide the most comprehensive and up-to-date information for Pell grants, Stafford loans, FSEOG, and more.
International Education and Financial Aid (www.iefa.org) boasts a list of nearly 2,000 scholarships designed specifically for the international education student. Students can customize searches by award type, study abroad destination, and area(s) of study.
Sallie Mae (www.salliemae.com/international/us_students/) provides information on Stafford and Parent PLUS loans in addition to the Sallie Mae Smart Option Student Loan — an ideal option for students who still need funds after they have maximized federal loans. With this loan, students can borrow up to the full cost of their education, less other aid received. Students who plan to study abroad are eligible for Sallie Mae as long as they are enrolled full-time at a college or university abroad and are expecting to earn a degree abroad, or who are studying abroad for a short time and expecting to earn a degree from a U.S. institution.
You Can’t Afford NOT to Go!
How to Finance Your Study Abroad Experience
Studying abroad is an investment in your future. Like any other type of investment, it requires planning, careful management, creativity, perseverance and commitment. The personal, academic and professional rewards will last a lifetime.
Calculate all of the Program’s costs, and add any additional expenses you may encounter. (you can find the cost estimates for AMBEX on the website at: http://www.ambex.org/admissions.html)
Once you know the costs, set a budget and stick to it! If you are getting outside support, itemize your list and determine what you can pay for and where you will need help. To determine your annual budget, add up your room & board, tuition and fees, travel expenses (don’t forget the ski trip during semester break and the trips to Greece, France, England etc. during Travel-Reading Weeks!), entertainment, books, supplies, etc.
The Federal Student Aid Commission has determined that the average Christian College student spends approximately $31,456 per year on tuition and fees, room and board, transportation, books, and personal expenses while in the U.S. Use this as a baseline for comparison of costs abroad, but keep in mind the cost of living at AMBEX could be more or less than what you’re presently spending.
Financial assistance may be available when students make appropriate arrangements with AMBEX through a scholarship application.
If you are not currently receiving financial aid, you may apply for aid by completing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) available (www.fafsa.ed.gov.) or at the Financial Aid Office of your home school. All students are eligible for either need-based or non-need-based aid programs.
If you currently receive financial aid, you must first apply & get accepted to AMBEX. Your home school’s Financial Aid Office will then forward your funds to AMBEX on request. You must have an up-to-date FAFSA for the period you wish to study abroad. Summer programs are included in the previous academic year (e.g. the 2011-12 FAFSA applies to Summer 2012 aid).
While the amount of your aid may be increased due to the additional costs involved in studying abroad, do not assume you will be awarded 100% of the money needed to cover the costs of your program. Always seek additional sources of funding. A listing of alternative student loans is available above, as well as your home school’s Financial Aid Office. It is advised that you meet and discuss your study abroad financial plan with your Financial Aid Adviser at your home school.
In addition to an AMBEX Leadership scholarship, there are many other study abroad scholarships you may apply for. Check above for a list of study abroad scholarships.
Be sure to make note of and be careful not to miss scholarship deadlines!
Fundraising will help to make your trip more affordable and serves as a way to educate the public.
If you select a 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, and campus organizations
- Religious organizations (church’s, campus crusade, young life etc.)
Direct, informal appeals often work best. Be specific on how you intend to spend the funds (airfare, program fee, tuition, personal travel, special projects, etc.). Include a photo of yourself with your request so that the receiver will establish a personal connection with you.
Make donating as easy as possible (cash or check), so that you’re more likely to get an actual donation rather than a promise to donate, and don’t be afraid to follow up if you haven’t received a response. Enthusiasm, creativity, and perseverance on your part – and not fearing rejection in some instances – will likely take you a long way. Remember every little bit helps!
In exchange for your financial support, you should pledge to “give something back,” such as regular updates while you are abroad. 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
Fundraising ideas that have worked:
- Waive holiday and birthday gifts and request financial gifts or loans instead.
- Write a creative letter to all your relatives, asking for financial support in exchange for monthly letters while abroad and a presentation and dinner upon return.
- Ask friends to join you in raising money by painting, cleaning or washing cars.
- Host a “send myself to AMBEX” party and mention donations to include party costs in the invite
- Organize an event where you and/or some friends solicit donations by providing instruction for a couple of hours (cooking, quilting, yoga, karate, computer skills, dancing, sign language, stained glass, woodworking, etc.).
- Sell subscriptions to your “newsletters” that you send out weekly while you are abroad (AMBEX students are required to keep a detailed academic/personal journal which you can use)
- Run/swim/walk/bike in a race and get sponsors for every mile you complete – ask a friend to join and support you
- Hold an auction or garage sale of donated goods
- If you’re artistic, hold an art display and auction – invite everyone you know to bid on your art
- Ask a local ice cream/fast food joint/restaurant to give you a percentage one night and tell all your friends to eat there at that time
- Hold an ice cream bash – ask a local store to donate ice cream and then charge all your friends an “admission price”
- Collect used books, CD’s, computer software, etc. and have a sale.
- Ask your church to sponsor a special offering, dinner, or raffle and give the proceeds for study abroad.
- Organize a radio talk show and solicit contributions.
- 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 sponsor you or might be willing to make a cash advance to be paid back through payroll deduction. No harm in asking!
- Combine fundraising opportunities: sell T-shirts at a fundraising dance marathon.
- 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.
- Collect cans during sports events (be sure to identify yourself and your purpose so fans will readily pass on their cans and bottles).
- 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.
- Ask family members to donate frequent flyer miles.
- Save all your spare change in a jar – small amounts can really add up!
SAVE, SAVE, SAVE!
Keys to successful fundraising: confidence and perseverance!
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!
Scholarships start at $500.00
Endeavoring to help students who otherwise would not be able to study abroad in Germany, AMBEX has limited funds it may allocate based on a (a) student’s financial need and (b) merit.
To be considered and possibly awarded an AMBEX scholarship please…
- Complete and submit the entire AMBEX application online.
- Complete the scholarship application (below) and email it to AMBEX at firstname.lastname@example.org
The information you provide will be kept strictly confidential.
- Scholarship awards will be announced as soon as possible but no later than 60 days before the semester start date.
AMBEX Scholarship Application
- Name, Address, Telephone, Email, Gender, College GPA (cumulative)
- *Email/Attach a copy of the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) page from your most recent FAFSA to your scholarship application.
- List all sources of college funding (grants, loans etc.) you currently receive:
- Essay. Please explain the need and merit for an AMBEX scholarship. In your essay please address the following:
- Past performance/achievements
- Future direction and spiritual dividends you hope will result from this AMBEX experience
- The reasonable/minimum scholarship amount I must receive to attend AMBEX is $ .
*A student’s EFC is calculated from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
To see your EFC, go to www.fafsa.ed.gov and navigate to FAFSA Follow-Up>View and Print Your Student Aid Report.