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Financial Aid

Study Abroad FAQs

Q: When will I receive my financial aid award letter for study abroad?
A: Students will receive a notification of award change after their Certificate of Participation has been processed. The notification will be sent to student’s CWU email. If the COP is turned in before the processing deadline, then the award notification will be sent to students before the first week of the CWU term the student will be abroad.

Q: When will my financial aid disburse?
A: Accepted and eligible financial aid will disburse to student accounts on the first day of the CWU quarter, or 10 days before the start of the program, whichever is later.

Q: Who will get the financial aid disbursement?
A: Financial aid disbursements will be sent to the CWU student account and then refunded through the student’s preferred refund method on file. If a student is not signed up for direct deposit, then a paper check will be mailed to the address on file.

Q: Who creates my budget for study abroad?
A: The financial aid office will take the information on the Certificate of Participation and the information on the Financial Aid Application for Study Abroad to create a budget for the study abroad program. Studying abroad is usually more expensive than a standard CWU term, which is why the COP and Financial Aid Application for Study Abroad are combined and used to create a study abroad budget. This budget will be used to award financial aid. Financial aid cannot exceed the budget.

Q: Which insurance plan should I select?
A: Students should meet with the Study Abroad & Exchange Programs office to discuss insurance plans. The financial aid office cannot give guidance on study abroad insurance plans. All insurance related questions should be directed to the Study Abroad & Exchange Programs office.

Q: How much financial aid will I receive for the program?
A: The financial aid office will create a budget to include the costs in the COP. This budget will then be filled with each students’ individual available financial aid. For dependent students, the parent plus loan will be increased. Independent students may need to look into an alternative loan if the cost of the program will exceed the available financial aid for the quarter.

Q: What is the difference between faculty led and remote credits?
A: A faculty led program is a study abroad program led by CWU faculty. Students in this program are usually receiving CWU credit. A remote program is a program abroad that is not led by CWU faculty. Students in a remote program are usually receiving credits that will need to be transferred to CWU.

Q: Who helps me fill out the COP and the Preliminary Program Budget for Financial Aid Advising form?
A: Study Abroad & Exchange Programs is the only office on campus that can help students create and fill out a COP (Certificate of Participation) and Preliminary Program Budget for Financial Aid Advising form.

Q: What is a COP and why do I need one?
A: A certificate of participation is a budget form created by the student and Study Abroad & Exchange Programs office. The Study Abroad & Exchange Programs office will certify the charges and costs on the COP. The certificate of participation authorizes the financial aid office to give students financial aid funds to study abroad.

Q: What is the difference between a Preliminary Program Budget for Financial Aid Advising from, a COP, and Financial Aid Application for Study Abroad?
A: The Preliminary Program Budget is a form filled out with the Study Abroad & Exchange Programs office to give students an estimate on the total expenses to study abroad (cost of the program). The COP is the “final version” of the preliminary program budget. The COP authorizes the financial aid office to award financial aid to eligible students. The Financial Aid Application for Study Abroad gives the financial aid office additional information need to award the correct amount of aid to study abroad students. The COP and Financial Aid Application for Study Abroad are both used to ensure that students receive the correct amount of aid, and it helps reduce the chances of students needing to repay aid after returning to the states, due to over-awards. For this reason, it is very important to have both the COP and Financial Aid Application for Study Abroad completed!

Q: Why are counselors giving me estimates on the type of award I will get and not dollar amounts?
A: When will I know my confirmed amount of aid for the study abroad program? Financial Aid counselors will use completed Preliminary Program Budget forms, brought in by students, to give students an idea on the type of aid that will be available for the study abroad program (loans, grants etc); however exact dollar amounts will not be ready until the COP has been processed. Once the COP has been processed, an award notice will be sent to a student’s outlook to notify students that their updated award is ready to view/accept/decline in MyCWU.

Q: What if my program needs the payment before the disbursement date?
A: Unfortunately, CWU cannot disburse financial aid before the first day of the CWU quarter. Most study abroad programs will accept delayed disbursements but may ask that students request a financial aid confirmation or deferment form from the financial aid office. For Fall Semester programs especially, this means a student may start in August but have no financial aid disbursed until the end of September. Participants must be aware and prepared to cover their costs until their financial aid refund is processed.

Q: How do I request a financial aid deferment form for my study abroad program?
A: To request a financial aid deferment from, please email financialaid@cwu.edu with the subject “Study Abroad letter”. Please allow 2-3 weeks for a response time and include your student ID number.

Q: Will the waivers on my account pay for study abroad programs?
A: Most waivers (with the exception of the CWU Financial Need Grant) cannot be used to pay for study abroad programs and fees. Waivers will be canceled for any term the student will not be charged regular CWU tuition. This includes the CWU Dependent Waiver, Merit Awards, WUE, etc.

Q: Can I use federal loans to pay for study abroad?
A: Yes, if the MPN/Entrance counseling or if the parent plus loan application has been accepted and the MPN completed, then available/accepted federal loans can be used to pay for study abroad. However, loan funds cannot be disbursed before the first day of the CWU quarter.

Q: Is the COP the same as the Financial Aid Application for Study Abroad?
A: No, the COP (Certificate of Participation) is created with the Study Abroad & Exchange Programs office and accounts for charges related to the credits earned while studying abroad. The Financial Aid Application for Study Abroad notifies the financial aid office that students will be studying abroad and includes demographic information not included in the COP. Students must complete the COP and Financial Aid Application for Study Abroad by the processing deadline to ensure that financial aid is ready before the start of the CWU quarter. A late application/cop will result in late disbursement of financial aid funds.

Q: What will happen to my aid if I do not complete the study abroad program?
A: Students who do not complete a study abroad program may be subject to R2T4. Please see the R2T4 section of the financial aid home page for more information on this process.

Q: I came back from my study abroad program, why do I have a transcript hold on my account?
A: Students must submit transcripts from study abroad the quarter after they have returned. The transcripts hold will be removed once the transcript has been received by CWU. Please note that the transcripts hold will prevent future financial aid disbursements. A delay in transcripts could cause a delay in financial aid disbursement after students have returned from the study abroad program. Students must make arrangements to have transcripts turned in to the Registrar’s office after they return from the study abroad program.

Q: My program is for an academic year, how will my financial aid be disbursed?
A: Financial aid will disburse during the first day of each CWU quarter if the COP and Financial Aid Application for Study abroad are completed before the processing deadline.

Q: Can my program coordinator abroad speak to a financial aid counselor about my financial aid?
A: Yes, however financial aid can only speak to a third party about an account if there is signed CWU release of information on file, authorizing the FAO to do so. Information on CWU accounts including award amount and disbursement status cannot be disclosed by CWU to a third party without a signed CWU release of information. CWU Release of information forms must be signed in the presence of a CWU staff member or Notary.

Q: Can I give the COP to the financial aid office?
A: Yes, however it is encouraged to have the Study Abroad & Exchange Programs office send the COP to ensure accuracy and completion.

Q: What if my COP/Study Abroad application is turned in after the priority deadline?
A: A delayed COP will result in delayed financial aid disbursements. Students are encouraged to plan ahead so that their COP and Study Abroad application are complete before the priority deadline.

Q: Can I pay for my flight with financial aid?
A: Flight costs can be included in the COP, however financial aid cannot be disbursed until the first day of the CWU quarter. Participants must be aware and prepared to cover their costs until their financial aid refund is processed.

Q: Why am I only being offered loans to pay for study abroad?
A: Yearly loan aggregates (max amount a student can borrow under their name) remain the same whether a student is studying in the states or abroad. Studying abroad can sometimes be more expensive than completing a quarter at CWU in the states. For dependent students, the parent plus loan will be increased to meet the budget created with the COP and study abroad application. Independent students may need to look into a private loan to pay for the program.

Q: Can I receive my Pell Grant for the year in full during my first quarter abroad?
A: Federal grants (Pell, SEOG, TEACH) and state funds (WA College Grant & College Bound Scholarship) must be disbursed on the CWU quarter schedule. To avoid reduction, yearly grant funds cannot be disbursed during the same quarter, the grants must be split between the quarters.

Q: What do I do if my COP needs to be adjusted or if there are charges that need to be added to the COP?
A: COP adjustments can only be made through the Study Abroad & Exchange Programs office. Students are encouraged to contact the Study Abroad & Exchange Programs office if there are any changes that need to be made to the COP. The FAO is not allowed to alter or adjust the COP. A late adjustment to a COP will result in late financial aid disbursements.

Q: Does the financial aid office have a designated study abroad counselor that I can meet with?
A: The Financial Aid office does not have a designated, student facing, study abroad counselor. Study abroad adjustments are made by financial aid processing. All financial aid counselors are trained to answer general study abroad questions.

Q: Who do I contact if I have a question on my financial aid while I’m overseas or before leaving for the study abroad program?
A: Students can meet with any Financial Aid counselor to get an estimate on the type of aid available for Study Abroad! To schedule an appointment please go to https://booknow.appointmentplus.com/yv1selgq/ Students must bring the preliminary advising form created with the Study Abroad & Exchange Programs office.

Q: What is Financial Aid Proration and why were my grants reduced?
A: Proration is the reduction and allocation of funds in accordance with enrollment. Most grants are offered at fulltime status (12 credits for undergrad students). If a student is not earning at least 12 credits during the quarter, then the grants will be reduced (prorated) to meet enrollment. For example, if a student is halftime then they will most likely be eligible for half of the grant.

Q: Can I use a private loan to pay for study abroad?
A: Yes, sometimes federal and state aid is not to enough to cover the cost of the study abroad programs. Students can use a private loan to cover the cost if they are approved for a private loan. Please keep in mind that private loan lenders process requests on their own timeline. Students are encouraged to plan ahead and apply for a private loan before the study abroad program start date. Financial Aid Application for Study Abroad and COP must also be turned in before the private loan can pay on the account. To view some private loan lenders, visit: https://www.cwu.edu/financial-aid/private-education-loans. 

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