Beginning in the 2015-16 school year, financial aid policies for semester study abroads will change.
Northwestern’s previous policies allowed students to study abroad anywhere they chose and still receive all the financial aid they were receiving while studying on campus. Next year’s program will allow some programs to keep all financial aid, while others will receive half.
In previous years, students had to be selected based on a seniority process due to a limited study abroad financial aid budget. Students who were required to study abroad were selected first, and then the system went by class ranking. There was often a waiting list for those who weren’t accepted.
With the new policy changes, NW is hoping to encourage more students to study abroad.
“We want to show students that we provide great programs and still encourage students to study abroad while in college,” said William Hyndman, Director of Global Education. “Because we have a limited budget, we had to figure out how to do that.”
In order to help promote more people studying abroad, NW has created a compromise. Programs through NW — Oman, Romania, Denver and Chicago — as well as students required to study abroad for their majors will receive 100 percent of federal and institutional financial aid.
For students who choose to go on study abroad through a program outside of the college, all federal aid and 50 percent of institutional aid will be awarded. Those on sports scholarships will be awarded 50 percent of their athletic scholarship if they study abroad in season, but will be awarded 100 percent of their athletic scholarship if they study abroad out of season.
“When students study abroad through other programs, NW has to write a check to cover the expenses of the program,” Eric Anderson, Director of Financial Aid, said. “Because the student keeps the aid we give, we were losing a lot of money.”
The change in policy is expected to affect 10 students in the next year. Those affected are being asked to take into consideration that even though full financial aid may not be available, most public institutions do not offer any institutional aid. Applications for the 2015-16 school year study abroad programs are due Feb. 10.