Study Abroad

Congratulations! When you decide to study abroad, you are embarking on the adventure of a lifetime. Here’s what you need to know to keep your financial aid on track while you’re away from the MTSU campus.

Where to start

The MTSU Office of Education Abroad is the starting point for students who want to learn more about their options for studying outside of the US. You can talk with one of our Education Abroad staff about the various Study Abroad Programs, destinations and costs. For information, call (615) 898-5179, or go to www.mtsu.edu/~mtabroad.

Many MTSU students choose to study abroad with an institution with which we have a formalized agreement. We call these Non-Independent Institutions, and groups such as KIIS, CCSA, and ISEP all fall into this category. If you plan to participate in a study abroad program with a non-independent institution the financial aid process is the same for study abroad participants as for those students who remain on campus. However, to be eligible to receive financial aid for study abroad, you must be enrolled in coursework required for your degree. The credits earned in the program must transfer to MTSU and count as academic credits toward your degree.

Some MTSU students may choose to participate in a study abroad program with an institution that does not have a formalized consortium agreement with MTSU. We call these Independent Institutions. If you plan to participate in a study abroad program with an independent institution, and if you are a current financial aid participant at MTSU, you may need to complete an individual Study Abroad Consortium Agreement to continue to receive financial aid funds. To determine aid eligibility, you should meet with your Enrollment Counselor who will help guide you through the process. Because original signatures are required, a minimum of 4-6 weeks must be allowed for processing the paperwork. Requests for aid may be denied if sufficient time is not allowed to process a consortium agreement.

Please note: All students receiving financial aid must be maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress. Students with a Financial Aid status of Suspension cannot receive financial aid funds whether abroad or at MTSU.  Please talk with your Enrollment Counselor about your specific situation.

All study abroad participants may not be eligible to receive financial aid for both semesters of a two-semester study abroad program. Also, all students may not qualify for aid the semester after returning from their study abroad program. Please refer to the Study Abroad Financial Aid Statement of Understanding and Financial Aid Status Sheet for further information. 

Frequently asked questions about studying abroad

Are scholarships available for students studying abroad?

Yes. A limited number of scholarships are available through the Office of Education Abroad. You may contact their office at (615) 898-5179 or visit www.mtsu.studioabroad.com to learn more about application deadlines and qualifications.

Can I receive lottery, scholarship, and grant funds while studying abroad?

Yes. You must first complete the FAFSA application to determine if you are eligible for federal and/or state aid. If you meet the eligibility requirements, you can receive lottery funds, scholarships and/or grant funds just like you were attending on-campus. Of course, we can't offer Federal Work-Study if you are not on-campus and grants are based upon the number of credit hours for which you will be enrolled. Most MTSU academic scholarships require students to be enrolled full-time while studying abroad.

We encourage you to enroll for direct deposit in the Business Office at least one month before you depart. To request Direct Deposit, contact the Business Office at (615) 898-2761 or click here. Most grants, scholarships, and lottery funds are for only 2 semesters; therefore, if you were enrolled fall and spring semesters, you may have only private/alternative loan eligibility for a summer study abroad program.

If my fall study abroad program ends in December and I want to attend the upcoming spring semester, can I receive aid for the spring?

Typically, if you left in financial aid Good Standing and the study abroad program was for one semester, you may receive aid for the upcoming spring semester. However, if you left in financial aid Good Standing and the study abroad program was for two semesters, you may not receive aid for the upcoming spring. Please refer to the Study Abroad Financial Aid Statement of Understanding and Financial Aid Status Sheet. Your official study abroad transcripts must be sent to MTSU and the study abroad credit hours must be posted to your MTSU transcript to receive future financial aid.

NOTE: Provisional Lottery students and students with more than 95 attempted hours before the first semester abroad cannot receive Lottery funds for the second semester, but may qualify for a Lottery deferment for MTSU charges.

My study abroad program begins before the MTSU semester starts. Can I receive my federal funds in advance?

No. Regulations do not allow for the early release of federal funds. Therefore, plan on having enough personal funds available or save money from the prior semesters to meet your needs until the MTSU financial aid can be credited to your bank account.

I owe deposit/registration fees to a Study Abroad Program. Will MTSU send my financial aid to the study abroad school?

No. Each student is responsible for paying his/her fees to the appropriate school. Financial Aid will be disbursed to your bank account provided you have signed up for direct deposit. You are responsible for paying the appropriate deposits and fees.

I am required to pay "program costs" to participate in a Study Abroad Program. Am I also required to pay tuition/fees at MTSU?

Typically, Study Abroad programs require you to pay "program costs". However, some programs also require you to register and pay tuition and fees at MTSU. Please make sure you understand all of the charges for your program. For more information contact the Office of Education Abroad at (615) 898-5179 or via the web.

What happens to my financial aid if I am unable to finish the study abroad program?

This rarely occurs, but federal regulations require students to return a portion of their federal aid if they are unable to complete sixty percent of the term. Tennessee Lottery regulations require the suspension of lottery funds for future semesters. However, a student may appeal TELS eligibility based upon extenuating circumstances beyond the student's control (e.g., documented medical emergencies or the death of a family member). Please see the MT One Stop webpage pertaining to Withdrawals for additional information.

If a study abroad program begins in January and ends in December, will I need to complete a new FAFSA for my fall Federal and State financial aid?

Yes. A FAFSA form is required annually for the Federal Pell, TSAC, Lottery and other similar funds. FAFSA information can be completed beginning in January for aid to be disbursed in the fall semester. Sometimes students are selected for verification by the Federal Department of Education. If you are selected for verification, we cannot disburse any aid until the verification is complete.

How will the Financial Aid Office know the number of credit hours I will be receiving for my study abroad program? Must I be enrolled full-time to receive financial aid?

The Office of Education Abroad notifies the Financial Aid Office regarding the number of credit hours you will attempt during your study abroad program. The Financial Aid Office will disburse financial aid based upon this information. Federal Pell, TSAC, and Lottery funds are prorated based upon the hours enrolled. If you are receiving less than six hours of credit, you will probably not qualify for any financial aid. Students receiving 6 to 8 hours of credit may receive one-half of a full-time award and students receiving 9 to 11 credit hours may receive three-fourths of a full-time award. Provisional lottery students must be enrolled full-time during the fall and spring semesters. Otherwise, they will potentially lose their scholarship forever.

MTSU Financial Aid Reminders for study abroad pre-departure orientation

Confirmation reminders

Students must pay or confirm their classes by the MTSU fee payment deadline or their classes will be dropped. Students may log into RaiderNet through PipelineMT to pay or confirm their classes. Confirmation and fee payment instructions/deadlines can be found here.

Payment reminders for students who owe fees to a host institution

Because financial aid funds are not sent directly to Host Institutions, some students are responsible for paying fees to Host Institutions. For information about where to pay fees, contact the Office of Education Abroad at (615) 898-5179 or via the web. The earliest MTSU funds can be released is the beginning of the semester in which the credit hours will apply.

Students receiving federal/state aid and academic scholarships

  • Please be sure to verify that your aid has been processed by viewing your RaiderNet account.
  • Insure that you are enrolled in the appropriate number of hours for aid to be awarded.
  • If receiving Federal Direct Loans, you must be enrolled and attending at least half-time (6 undergraduate credit hours/5 graduate credit hours). First-time borrowers at MTSU must complete online Entrance Counseling and a Master Promissory Note (MPN) before receiving loans.
  • Typically, financial aid is disbursed the first week of classes if students have met all requirements.
     

Students expecting a Financial Aid refund

Direct Deposit is recommended so that financial aid refunds may be directly deposited into your bank account. If you expect to receive a refund, please sign up for direct deposit via RaiderNet. For further details, contact the Business Office.

Future Financial Aid funds

Typically, students who begin study abroad with a financial aid status of Good Standing can receive aid for one semester after their program ends, provided their program is for one semester. If their program is for two-semesters, they may only receive aid for the two semesters abroad. The semester after their program ends, they may receive a deferment for MTSU charges (if eligible). Your official study abroad transcripts must be sent to MTSU and the study abroad credit hours must be posted to your MTSU transcript to receive future financial aid.

NOTE: Provisional Lottery students and students with more than 95 attempted hours before the first semester abroad cannot receive Lottery funds for the second semester, but may qualify for a Lottery deferment for MTSU charges.

Don’t forget next semester! 

While participating in a Study Abroad Program, you may be requested to complete requirements for your next term of enrollment. Beginning in May, fall/spring Email Award Notices will be electronically sent to students with completed Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) results on file in the Financial Aid Office. Electronic award notices will be sent your MTSU email address. While studying abroad, you may need to access your RaiderNet account to accept your awards and complete any requirements. For confirmation and fee payment instructions/deadlines, refer to this page.