Learning Abroad Center

Financial Need Early Planning Scholarship


The Learning Abroad Center’s Financial Need Early Planning Scholarship provides study abroad awards for University of Minnesota undergraduate students with demonstrated financial need.

This scholarship is intended to:

  • Ease the financial barrier of study abroad for students with significant financial need.
  • Provide assurance of funding earlier in the process and encourage early financial planning. Recipients have up to one year to use their award.
  • Increase representation of economically disadvantaged students on study abroad programs.

The Financial Need Early Planning scholarship is not merit-based and awards are granted based on the strength of a student’s essay.

Eligibility Requirements

  • You must be enrolled as a degree-seeking undergraduate student on the Twin Cities or Rochester campuses at the time of application.
  • You must be participating in a credit-bearing study abroad program through the Learning Abroad Center or Carlson Global Institute (this includes CGI's self-designed international experience, IBUS 3999.)
  • Applicants must demonstrate financial need by having a current Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on file by the scholarship deadline.
    • For the purpose of this scholarship, “financial need” is defined as being eligible for subsidized loans during the academic year you plan to study abroad. Eligibility can be based either on your current on campus costs OR on the estimated cost of participation in your study abroad program.
    • To determine if you are eligible for subsidized loans, follow these instructions or schedule a financial aid preview meeting. The Learning Abroad Center verifies eligibility with OneStop for all potential awardees.
  • Students who obtain college approval to participate in a nonaffiliated program or directed study are eligible.
  • Virtual internship programs and National Student Exchange programs (except NSE Canada) are not eligible.
  • You can only apply once per application cycle.  For example, a student participating in a winter break program and a spring semester program can apply for one of these terms but not both.
  • If participating in an Academic Year or Calendar Year program, you can only apply for Academic Year or Calendar Year scholarship awards. For example, for Academic Year programs, you cannot apply for both the Fall and Spring cycles, only the Academic Year cycle.
  • You can apply for any or all of the Learning Abroad Center scholarships (Study Abroad, Diversity, and Financial Need) for which they are eligible. It is possible to be awarded both the Diversity and Financial Need scholarships. Students awarded the Diversity or Financial Need scholarships cannot also receive the Study Abroad scholarship.
  • Students who receive the President's Emerging Scholars Fund the Gap Scholarship are not eligible for this award. 
  • Students are eligible to utilize this scholarship for a program offered during a term immediately following their graduation.
  • Students can receive a maximum of 3 Learning Abroad Center scholarships (Study Abroad, Diversity, Financial Need) during their undergraduate career.

Essays will be evaluated based on:

  • How thoroughly you answer the specific questions outlined below
  • How well written your essay is, in terms of grammar, punctuation, and organization

Note: we encourage you to avoid using Chat GPT or other automated language tools when writing essays. The scholarship essay scoring rubric favors applications with strong personal voice, perspectives and experiences. The use of general and cliche language, which is often found in ChatGPT/AI tools, will likely result in a lower score. We value your authentic thoughts and reflections as they contribute to a more meaningful and insightful application.

Essay Questions

This application is comprised of 2 separate essay questions:

  1. General study abroad essay (required)
  2. Financial need essay (required)

Essay Question #1

Reflect on how the program you chose relates to your academic, career, and/or personal goals. Why did you choose this particular program? Describe specific program features and elaborate on how these will help you meet one or more of your goals. (350 words maximum)

As you write your essay, consider the following:

  • "Academic” goals do not need to be related to your major; we are looking for you to describe how the program coursework, model, and/or features are relevant to your goals.
  • Regardless of what type of goals you are focusing on, explain how your goals enhance intellectual learning.

Essay Question #2

We understand your financial aid (as assessed on the FAFSA) may not fully explain your financial circumstances. While eligibility for this award is determined by qualification for subsidized loans, scholarship reviewers do not have access to your financial aid information.

With that in mind, elaborate on the specifics of the financial circumstances impacting you and/or your family's ability to pay for study abroad. Discuss what financial planning strategies you will use and/or steps you have already taken to pay for study abroad. Be as specific as possible. Your responses will remain confidential. (350 words maximum)


You can apply to the scholarship up to a year in advance. If you do not receive the scholarship the first time you apply, you can apply again.

Apply before the deadline for the term you are studying abroad, found on the Dates tab of your program. Contact Nathan Jacobson with any questions.

Term AbroadApplication AvailableDeadline DateNotification Date
Winter Break 2025
Winter Break 2025 (fall 2024 on-campus course)
Winter Break 2025 (spring 2025 on-campus course)
Spring Semester 2025
Calendar Year (spring 2025 - fall 2025)
Spring Break 2025
May Session 2025
May Session 2025 (spring 2025 on-campus course)
Summer 2025
Fall Semester 2025
Academic Year (fall 2025 - spring 2026)
Application not yet openmid-September 2024mid-October 2024
May Session 2025
May Session 2025 (spring 2025 on-campus course)
Summer 2025
Fall Semester 2025
Academic Year (fall 2025 - spring 26)
Winter Break 2026
Winter Break 2026 (fall 2025 on-campus course)
Winter Break 2026 (spring 2026 on-campus course)
Spring Semester 2026
Calendar Year (spring 2026 - fall 2026)
Application not yet openearly February 2025early March 2025

Applications must be submitted by 11:59 pm on the deadline date. Scholarship notification emails will be sent to all applicants' UofM email accounts 4–6 weeks after the deadline.

Award Amounts

The award can be used for any term listed for the application cycle during which you apply. If you change terms later, your award amount may be adjusted. If the term you change to is shorter than the term you received the scholarship for, your award amount will decrease. If the term you change to is longer than the term you received the scholarship for, your award amount will remain the same.

The number of scholarships awarded by deadline may vary depending on the pool of applicants and the funding available.

Term AbroadAmount
Academic Year
Calendar Year
Fall Semester
Spring Semester
Summer Session$2,000
Winter Break
May Session
Spring Break

Submit Your Application

Applications are not currently being accepted for this scholarship. The next application round will open later in late May 2024.