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Study Away and Financial Aid

Frequently Asked Questions About Financial Aid and Study Away

  • When will I know what financial aid is available for my study away program?

    The Center for Study Away will automatically provide comprehensive study away cost information to the Financial Aid Office for all approved students. You do not need to take action to initiate this process.

    Financial aid notification letters are mailed to your permanent home residence in early to mid-summer. If you are planning to study away during fall semester, your fall semester awards will reflect adjustments based on your program costs. If you are planning to study away during spring semester, you will receive a revised financial aid notification letter in your campus mailbox in late fall.

    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 away!

  • How do you determine need-based financial aid eligibility for study away?

    To calculate your financial aid during the semester you study away, we rely on the experience and expertise of the Center for Study Away 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 study away 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 borrow 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.
    • Campus Residence Grants
      Students who are eligible for need-based grant assistance from Macalester will be eligible to receive an Off-Campus Study Grant that is equal to the Campus Residence Grant originally scheduled for the Off-Campus Study semester(s). The Off-Campus Study Grant will be made available even if the student did not reside in Macalester housing in the semester(s) prior to the Off-Campus Study term.
    • Study Away 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 a Study Away 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. Study Away Travel Grants are credited to your Macalester account. These are not available at the time most students purchase their airfare.
    • 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 study away?

    Starting in 2024-2025, international students will be able to use their financial aid toward any Macalester-approved study away program. The Center for Study Away has more information about this policy change.

  • Can ACM TREP or ACTC DTAP benefits be used for study away costs?

    ACTC Dependent Tuition Assistance Program (DTAP) benefits are not applicable toward study away costs unless the program selected is administered by Macalester or the student participates in a Macalester Exchange Program. Students who select a program that is not administered by Macalester or one of the Macalester Exchange Programs are not eligible for DTAP benefits for the semester away but will be charged the actual study away program tuition rather than Macalester tuition. DTAP recipients also have the option of applying for need-based financial aid for the semester of study away.

    Beginning in the 2022-2023 academic year, ACM Tuition Remission Exchange Program (TREP) benefits can be used for study away costs as long as the student chooses a Macalester-approved program.

  • Which costs will be charged to my Macalester account and which will I pay directly?

    Tuition for study away will be charged to your student account. The charge will equal Macalester’s full-time semester tuition or 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 study away program cost sheet, provided by the International Center, carefully for the most useful program-specific information.

    Plan to buy your own airline ticket as that will not be charged to your Macalester student account. However, all 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 Human Resources website.

  • What happens to my merit-based scholarship?

    If you have a merit-based scholarship from Macalester, it will be available for study away.

  • Will you help complete outside scholarship applications for study away 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 receive scholarships from outside sources or from your study away 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 study away?

    You can email your questions to [email protected], visit the Financial Aid Office, or call 651-696-6214.

  • When should I complete 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 aid application before leaving the country. If you have not already done so, visit and obtain an FSA ID that can be used to electronically sign your FAFSA while you are away.