WSU students enjoying a trip abroad.

Funding Opportunities & Scholarships

Scholarship Opportunities List

This Scholarship Opportunities List (PDF) contains almost 40 different scholarships available to students who want to study abroad. Eligibility depends on a variety of factors. This list changes frequently (even deadlines can change!), so be sure to check with the sponsoring organizations for the most up-to-date information.

Some Faculty-led Programs provide scholarship opportunities from the sponsoring WSU department. Contact your Faculty Leader for more information.

Some Study Abroad Program Providers also have scholarships for their students. Check their website or contact your Provider directly for more information.

And remember that almost every WSU Foundation Scholarship works for your study away program. If you’ve never applied for a WSU Foundation Scholarships, consider doing so.


Scholarship Search Engines

Scholarship information is constantly changing, so the above list is not complete. Check the search engines listed below for other possibilities.

As with any financial information on the web, use caution!

Research the sponsoring organization and never pay an application fee for a scholarship. See FinAid.org warnings on scholarship scams for more information.

 

Alternate Opportunities

You may have also heard of famous scholarships like Rotary or Fulbright. While these are wonderful awards, they are not for traditional undergraduate study abroad experiences.

Rotary funding varies by club. See their website or contact your local (Winona or hometown) Rotary club for more information.

Fulbright Awards are for research, teaching and/or study overseas after you’ve completed your undergraduate degree. So, if you think you’d like to go abroad after graduation, click on the link to learn more!

Scholarships are out there, but you have put in a little effort to find and apply for them. Generally speaking, there are more (and larger) scholarships for longer programs, and in less-common destinations.

Planning

Scholarship timelines fluctuate considerably, depending on the organization’s needs and goals, so it is vital to plan ahead! A few scholarship applications may be due more than a year before you will go abroad. It is common for scholarships to have application deadlines in September/October for spring study abroad and March/April for Fall, but not always.

Eligibility

As previously mentioned, every organization that sponsors a scholarship has its own priorities for that money. Many scholarships are dedicated to encouraging underrepresented students to study abroad, often in a less-common destination or language. So, what is ‘underrepresented’? Or ‘less common’?

Each organization may have its own definition for these factors, but generally, underrepresented refers to those who have not historically participated in study abroad, often including STEM majors, first-generation students (if neither of your parents have a bachelor’s degree, you are first-generation), or students from socio-economically or culturally diverse backgrounds.

Less common destinations/languages tend to be non-English speaking and outside of Europe and Australia/New Zealand. But if you do want to go someplace that is more common for study abroad, you should still look through the list. There are some scholarships that do include popular study abroad destinations!
As you go through the above scholarship opportunities list, confirm eligibility requirements with the sponsoring organization. Note that other eligibility factors may include US citizenship, program length, membership in an organization, and/or minimum GPA, among others.

Essays

The essay is your opportunity to make the case for why you are the best applicant for an award.

Scholarship essays take time and thought. To stand the best chance of an award, plan to go through multiple drafts and get feedback on them. Whether you consult the WSU Writing Center, your favorite professor, the WSU study abroad scholarship coordinator (see Contact Information below), or a family member/friend, be sure you also provide them with the prompt you were given, and the organization's goals if applicable. Getting feedback also means you need to work well ahead of the deadline. You want to be sure your proofreader(s) have enough time to give your essay the thought it deserves.

Remember that each sponsor has their own priorities for their money. Read up on the sponsor’s goals (both for the scholarship specifically and the organization more broadly) and their specific essay prompt(s). That gives you the mindset to use in writing your answers.

Essays are not one-size-fits-all. If you write a general essay, you will need to review the organization goals and prompt(s), then re-read your essay to ensure it addresses those things.

Note: Some scholarships require our office to verify your participation in a study abroad program. You must submit your WSU Study Abroad application through the online application system for us to be able to do that. Until you do so, the office cannot verify your scholarship application.

References

Not all scholarship applications require references, but there are a few out there. References should be carefully selected and given plenty of notice. Try to ask at least one month ahead of the due date. If they agree, provide them with background information on the scholarship or organization, and a copy of any essays you’ve drafted for your application. If you have a resume, give them a copy. If they’re a professor that might not know you that well, give them one of your old assignments from their class to help jog their memory.

 

If you have not used Financial Aid in the past, consider applying for it for to pay for your study away . Whether you qualify for grants or just loans, federal and state aid can be a reasonable and helpful resource.

In almost all cases, you can apply your aid to your program, and more money may be made available to you, usually in the form of loans.

For more information, contact the Financial Aid staff.

Remember that you can always turn money down, but if you never apply, you’ll never know your options!

If you are awarded any study abroad scholarships, be sure to meet with a WSU Financial Aid advisor about how that impacts the rest of your aid package.


Tuition Waiver

The Tuition Waiver benefit may only be applied to WSU-approved faculty-led programs. Other forms of financial aid may apply to most study away programs.

Contact Information

For more information on scholarship opportunities, set up an appointment with our scholarship coordinator, Renee Stowell at RStowell@winona.edu. She’ll be happy to help you prepare the best application possible.

You’re also welcome to contact our Peer Advisors. Many of them used Financial Aid and/or applied for scholarships before their own study abroad experience, so they can tell you about it firsthand!