Off-Campus Study and Financial Aid

Your Toolbox

Financial Aid Office
651-696-6866 (fax )

Mailing Address
1600 Grand Avenue
St. Paul, MN
55105 USA

The Admissions and Financial Aid Offices are located at 62 Macalester Street.

Frequently Asked Questions about Financial Aid and Off-Campus Study

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When will I know what financial aid is available for my off-campus program?
The International Center will automatically provide comprehensive off-campus study cost information to the Financial Aid Office for all approved students.  You do not need to take action to initiate this process.

Your financial aid award letter will be mailed to your permanent residence in early to mid-summer, and will include adjustments for your semester of off-campus study.

Sometimes cost sheets are delayed for unavoidable reasons.   Incomplete aid applications will also delay our process of getting accurate information to you.  Be proactive by completing your returning financial aid application early if you are studying off-campus!

How do you determine need-based financial aid eligibility for off-campus study?
For calculating your financial aid during the semester you study off campus, we rely on the experience and expertise of the International Center for comprehensive, but conservative, cost estimates.  Those include Macalester’s tuition, your off-campus program’s room and board expenses, whether charged to your student account or to you directly, estimated round-trip airfare costs from St. Paul to your country of study, and related fees and expenses.  The following additional considerations apply:

  • Programs with higher tuition costs
    If your off-campus program tuition is higher than the cost of tuition for a semester at Macalester in St. Paul, you will be charged the higher program tuition.  Financial aid will not take the additional costs into consideration for grant purposes, but you may be able to take additional student loans to help cover the higher costs.
  • Your program’s room and board charges or direct costs
    If your program’s room and board charges or direct room and board estimates are the same as or higher than those at Macalester, your need-based grant will remain unchanged.  If program room and board charges or direct room and board estimates are less than those at Macalester, your need-based grant will be reduced by the difference.
  • Off-Campus Study Travel Grants
    If the estimated airfare to and from your program is greater than the estimated cost of travel to Saint Paul, students receiving Macalester need-based grants will qualify for an Off Campus Study Travel Grant equal to the difference.  If the estimated travel cost is equal to or less than the estimated cost of travel to Saint Paul, you will not receive a travel grant.  Off-Campus Study Travel Grants are credited to your Macalester account.

  • Student Employment
    In most cases, you will not be able to work while you are away. We do not replace lost student employment opportunities with gift aid. If necessary, it may be possible to access additional student loans to replace your student employment income.

Can international students use their financial aid for off-campus study?
International students cannot apply Macalester financial aid to off-campus study costs unless study abroad is required for a formally declared major, or the student has been approved to study with the Macalester Perspectives on Globalization Program.  It is important to note that study on the Macalester campus fulfills the study abroad requirement for International Studies majors, so international students cannot use their financial aid to study abroad for that major.

Can ACM TREP or ACTC DTAP benefits be used for off-campus study?
ACM Tuition Remission Exchange Program and ACTC Dependent Tuition Assistance Program benefits are not applicable toward off-campus study costs unless the program selected is administered by Macalester.  Students who receive these benefits for on-campus study will be charged the actual off-campus program tuition rather than Macalester tuition.  DTAP and TREP recipients also have the option of applying for need-based financial aid for the semester of off-campus study.

Which costs will be charged to my Macalester account and which will I pay directly?
Program tuition will be charged to your student account.  The charge will equal Macalester’s full-time semester tuition, and will be higher if your selected program tuition costs more than Macalester.  

Whether a particular program provides room and board, just room, or some partial room and/or board varies greatly.  Applicable program-provided services will be charged to your Macalester account.  You should expect to directly pay all other non-program-provided services (e.g., meals that are not provided by your program).  Review your off-campus study cost sheet, provided by the International Center, carefully for the most useful program-specific information.

  • Plan to make the program deposit directly and to buy your own airline ticket, as those items will not be charged to your Macalester student account.    However, all these costs, whether charged to your Macalester account or paid by you directly, are considered when we calculate your financial aid.  Please contact the Financial Aid Office if you would like information about your loan options.

How do I access any financial aid that exceeds my Macalester billed charges?
If your financial aid (including loans) will be greater than the total charges to your Macalester account, you may request a refund of the surplus from the Student Accounts Office. If you have signed up for direct deposit, your requested refund will be placed directly into your bank account.  Otherwise, in addition to requesting the refund, you need to contact Student Accounts with all the details about the person you authorize to receive a refund check on your behalf.

Since you may already be out of the country when the credit balance is created, make all arrangements about how that money is to be treated before you depart.   If the direct deposit option appeals to you but you have not yet signed up, complete and submit the Direct Deposit Form.  This form can be located on the Employment Services website.

What happens to my merit-based scholarship?
If you have a merit-based scholarship from Macalester, it will be available for off-campus study. If you have a National Merit Scholarship, you must contact National Merit Scholarship Corporation (847-866-5100) and request that it be made available for your off-campus term.

Will you help complete outside scholarship applications for off-campus study terms?
We will be happy to complete the Financial Aid Office section of any outside scholarship application. Please deliver the scholarship application to the Financial Aid Office and give us detailed information about what we are to do with it. Should we return the completed form to you? Should we mail the original to the scholarship organization? Are there other directions? If possible, please give us at least 48 hours to complete your forms.

How do outside awards affect my financial aid?
If you win scholarships from outside sources or from your off-campus study program, your financial aid package will be adjusted according to the Macalester outside scholarship policy. You can help to ensure that your financial aid package is as accurate as possible by informing our office of all scholarships from outside sources. For more information, please see Macalester’s policy on the treatment of outside scholarships.

How can I get more details about financial aid and off-campus study?
You can email your questions to, visit the Financial Aid Office, or call 651-696-6214.

Next year’s financial aid application
If you study off-campus during a spring term and will return to Macalester for the following year, don’t forget to complete your financial aid application.  Instructions will be available on our website.  If possible, please complete your federal tax return and your portions of the aid applications before leaving the country.  If you have not already done so, visit and obtain a PIN that can be used to electronically sign your FAFSA while you are away.

Other Links
Contact the International Center at
Contact Student Accounts at