Carpe Diem Financial Aid for Study Abroad

Financial aid and loans are available for all of Carpe Diem's programs through the more traditional sources, but also through some less traditional methods. In most cases, students wanting financial aid for their Carpe Diem program will use only the traditional sources: FAFSA Funding in partnership with Portland State University (PSU); Carpe Diem's own needs-based discounts; and private student loans. While these will all net you at least some positive funding, they are really only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to receiving student loans for study abroad opportunities. Perhaps the most reliable and easiest out-of-the-box method is to write letters to friends, family, and co-workers of your parents asking for financial support to get you overseas and contribute to a pretty amazing cause.

Over the years of working with students to secure study abroad student loans, we've seen some pretty inventive ways to go about funding their programs; some are more time-consuming than others, but many are fairly straight-forward and would be a great starting point to begin your funding search. However, in all cases, we highly recommend starting with FAFSA through PSU if you are a needs-based applicant.

If you are seeking a student loan to study abroad, you will find many options listed below. We've gone through some of these more ingenious methods as well as attempted to clearly lay out the traditional sources in this handy Carpe Diem Financial Aid Manual. We encourage you to read this thoroughly, but of course, if you have any questions please feel free to call our office.

  1. OPB Introduction Video to College Financial Aid
  2. FAFSA & Financial Aid through PSU
  3. Fundraising Options
  4. Grants & Scholarships Introduction
  5. Federal Grants
  6. Federal Loans
  7. Federal Scholarships
  8. Private Scholarships
  9. Scholarships Based on Region of Study
  10. Private Loans for Students
  11. Fundraising Powerpoints

For a great introductory video on college financial aid and how it works, click here



FAFSA & Financial Aid through Portland State University

  • Disclaimer: the best bet is to refer to PSU's own informational website as all FAFSA comes from and in partnership with them:
  • Step-by-step checklist for how to enroll and become eligible for Federal Financial Aid using FAFSA and PSU: CLICK HERE
  • Managing your account online and tracking your award. CLICK HERE for a fully guided tour through PSU's confusing online system (with sexy screen shots).

Fundraising Packet

  • Non-traditional methods that have worked for past students
  • Sample letters and forms that past students have actually used to raise money
  • CLICK HERE to download the fundraising packet




Many scholarships have certain requirements, or must be used at specific schools/programs, so be careful to read the Requirements section of each scholarship carefully. The deadlines for submitting scholarship applications are usually far in advance of the time you'll be going abroad so it's good you're looking early. As well, some scholarships are connected to your cultural/racial heritage:i.e., Italian American, Native American, Hispanic American, African American, etc. Try and google words such as ---- (your heritage) America scholarships ---- and see what happens. There are many cultural organizations supporting students of a particular background.

Here are some more creative ways our students have actually found funding:

  • If you're a student at another university, set up a Consortium Agreement between your current college and Carpe Diem/PSU. This is an option for students currently attending university at another school and wishing to do a Carpe Diem program. Arranging a Consortium Agreement means that you get stay as if you were attending your host program, but do the Carpe Diem program instead. The advantages to this are that you get to keep all of your financial aid award at your current school, and the credits transfer in a streamlined way rather than you having to transfer them in yourself. To set one up, simply talk to your Study Abroad office and ask them about setting up a "Consortium Agreement."
  • First and foremost is to go about seeking credit for this program (refer to the downloadable packets above). Receiving credit for this program opens up Federal Financial Aid (FAFSA) as well as a host of other grants and educational loans. To do this you'll have to register for matriculation at Portland State University and notify us in the office to make sure that your funds are correctly appropriated. In the Fall of '10 we had one student receive $8,000 in FAFSA funding.
  • Save a LOT of money by getting used gear from the Salvation Army, Goodwill, or the Army Surplus store. These are great and affordable ways to look more savvy the minute you step off the plane.
  • Finally you can write a "Statement of Need" to Carpe Diem detailing your family's income, their monthly expenses, and what they think they can contribute.
  • Contact your local radio station and let them know that you'd be interested in putting together a show on "Alternatives to College" (a hot topic these days). Once you're on the radio, use that as a forum for seeking private donations. (Used in '06 for $7,500 worth of fundraising).
  • Contact your friends, family, church members, etc. and let them know what you're doing. Having them write individual checks to Carpe Diem in your name will entitle them to a tax-deduction. Please make sure they put your name and semester in the Notes field! (Used annually to raise as much as $4,500 per student).
  • Organize a street-fair (or a Saturday Market booth) with some objects from your destination and some information about what you're doing and open it up for donation. (Used in '07 for $1,500 worth of fundraising).
  • Contact REI or your local outdoor store to see about getting donated gear. (Used in '09 for a $350 backpack).

Here is a short list of some of the places you can search for scholarships. But this is only the beginning - keep looking and be sure to download the Fundraising Packet!!




Federal Grants

Federal Pell Grant
The Pell Grant is a need-based grant. To qualify, you must be a full-time undergraduate student with an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) below the limit determined each year. Speak with your financial aid adviser for current information.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunities Grant (SEOG grant)
This need-based grant is awarded to those students demonstrating the greatest financial need. Students typically must qualify for the federal Pell Grant to receive an SEOG Grant. Speak with your financial aid adviser for current information.

Federal Loans
Federal Stafford Loan
The Stafford Loan is in your name and is available to all students, regardless of financial need. If the loan is subsidized, the government will pay the interest while you are in school. If the loan is unsubsidized, you have the option of capitalizing the interest or of paying the interest quarterly during the in-school period. Payment of the principle itself (for both subsidized and unsubsidized loans) does not begin until six months after graduation, provided you remain enrolled on at least a half-time (six credits) basis.

Federal Perkins Loan
The Perkins Loan is a low-interest loan (5 percent) awarded to those students demonstrating the greatest financial need. Speak with your financial aid adviser for current information.

Parent PLUS Loans for Undergraduate Students
PLUS loans are available to your parents-if you are a dependent undergraduate student-to help finance your education. Parents may borrow up to the full cost of your education, less the amount of any other financial aid you receive. There is a minimal credit check required for the PLUS loan, so a good credit history is required.

Federal Scholarships
Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship
If you receive a federal Pell grant, you are eligible to apply for a Gilman Scholarship. The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program provide up to $5,000 for American students to pursue overseas study for college credit. Students studying critical need languages are eligible for up to $3,000 in additional funding as part of the new Critical Need Language Supplement program. Critical Need Languages include Arabic, Chinese. Korean, Russian, Turkic (Azerbaijani, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Turkish, Turkmen, Uzbek), Persian (Farsi, Dari, Kurdish, Pashto, Tajiki), Indic (Hindi, Urdu, Nepali, Sinhala, Bengali, Punjabi, Marathi, Gujurati, Sindhi). They have approx. 2 applicants for each award. Visit







The Brazil Initiation Scholarship (BIS) is a key component of the Brazilian Studies Association's (BRASA) agenda to expand Brazilian Studies in the United States. BRASA invites applications from graduate and undergraduate students for a one-time $1,500 travel scholarship to do exploratory research or language study in Brazil. This scholarship targets aspiring Brazilianists with relatively little or no experience in Brazil. It seeks to contribute to the student's initial trip (for a period from six weeks to three months), to heighten the student's interest in Brazil, and deepen his/her commitment to Brazilian studies in the United States. Students are encouraged to combine this scholarship with other grants or awards. Recipients will be recognized during the awards ceremony of the next BRASA international congress in Brasilia. Funding will be disbursed prior to travel. BRASA will award up to four fellowships in this competition.

David L. Boren Undergraduate Scholarships for Study Abroad. The Boren Scholarship is facilitated by the National Security Education Program (NSEP) for undergraduate students who wish to study languages and cultures considered to be important to U.S. national security. Students are not eligible to receive the Boren scholarship if they are studying in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, or the United Kingdom.

Freeman-ASIA Awards for Study in Asia (Freeman-ASIA) provides scholarships for U.S. undergraduate students with demonstrated financial need to study abroad in East or Southeast Asia.




Private Student Loans: This organization offers loans to cover most education-related expenses for students. This loan is available regardless of other financial resources or aid. or 1-800-245-7036



PowerPoint & Slideshow Presentations:

For those students that are interested in a little proactive fundraising, we've had an informational PowerPoint presentation and slideshow put together to help you through the fundraising process - trust us, we've all been there and hopefully having a near-finished and professionally done presentation will help with the process. You'll have to change a few elements to suit your target audience as well as personalize some of the details of the volunteer sites (websites are given for you to reference). See below to find your particular semester.

AFRICA PowerPoint & Slideshow

INDIA PowerPoint & Slideshow

CENTRAL AMERICA PowerPoint & Slideshow

SOUTH AMERICA PowerPoint & Slideshow

SOUTHEAST ASIA Powerpoint & Slideshow ... coming soon

SOUTH PACIFIC (Fiji, NZ, Australia) PowerPoint & Slideshow