Money Matters

Requesting Aid for Study Abroad​

Most financial aid you receive from CMU may be applied to your study abroad fees as long as you enroll for the required minimum number of credits. Be sure to check with the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid to verify that all of your aid can be applied toward study abroad.

It is possible to request additional financial aid based on the cost of your program (including airfare, passport cost, visa fee, and other necessary expenses related to your study program). To apply for additional financial aid for study abroad, take your program budget sheet to the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid. Ask for an appointment with a student advisor, or, if you are a Centralis Scholarship recipient, ask for an appointment with Kristen Neubecker, Assistant Director.

While you are studying abroad, your contact in the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid will be:

  • Margaret Polley
  • Assistant Director      
  • Office of Scholarships & Financial Aid          
  • 202 Warriner Hall      
  • Central Michigan University  
  • Mount Pleasant, MI 48859         
  • Tel. (989) 774-7449    
  • Fax (989) 774-3634    
  • Toll-free: 1-888-392-0007      
  • Email:


Faculty-led Students: Your tuition and program fee will be billed to your CMU account.

Other Students: Program payment varies by program. Please refer to your My Study Abroad account, where payment information for your specific program is outlined. All students will be billed for GeoBlue Insurance to their My Study Abroad Account.


The cost of living abroad can sometimes be more expensive than at CMU. Budgeting on-site may take a little time while you become accustomed to the local currency and its value in relation to the dollar. Past program participants have reported that they sometimes ran out of money a month before the end of their program because they did not budget carefully. Here are some tips that may help you:

  • Make a daily and weekly budget and stick to it! Expenses may include travel within your city, food, books, laundry, toiletries, internet/phone access, entertainment, independent travel and souvenirs/gifts.
  • Learn the "value" of the money as quickly as possible. In the beginning, it may be helpful to create a cheat sheet to keep in your purse or wallet that lists the exchange rate in common increments (i.e. $10 U.S. dollars = 7 Euros).
  • Watch for student rates that may be available. Your ISIC also offers a variety of discounts around the world.
  • Be conservative – don't eat out at restaurants for every meal when you can cook in your apartment for a fraction of the price. Your school may also have a cafeteria that offers lunch at a subsidized price.
  • Shop around – prices are often cheaper in areas not frequently visited by tourists.
  • Take advantage of special offers for entertainment both on and off campus. Many museums offer free admission one day per week or month; with careful planning, you can experience a variety of things at minimal cost.
  • Be sure to safeguard your credit cards, ATM cards, traveler's checks, and cash. Loss of personal possessions is upsetting at any time, but even more troubling and inconvenient abroad. Also remember that pick-pocketing is common in some areas, especially near tourist attractions.

General Financial Information​

How to take, and have access to, money abroad is a topic of great concern to every study abroad participant. Always have two or more ways to get money! Carry your money, credit cards, ATM cards, and passport in a travel pouch/neck wallet under your shirt or tucked in your pants. These travel pouches are very inexpensive and are well worth the peace of mind that you will gain by being able to protect your money and passport. Remember to keep your travel pouch concealed while in public.

It is important to note that some countries operate on a cash economy; credit credits and/or debit cards may not be widely used or accepted. Students studying in these countries should be prepared to pay for purchases in the local currency. Prior to your departure, research your host country to determine if it operates on a cash economy so that you are prepared upon your arrival.

Cash/Currency Exchange​

It is not recommended to carry large quantities of cash. If your cash is lost or stolen, there is no possibility of recovering your funds. We do recommend that, if possible, you obtain a small amount of foreign currency ($50-$100) before departure because this will be useful for phone calls, taxi cabs, etc. upon arrival. You can contact your local bank to inquire about the process for ordering the foreign currency. Please note this may take several weeks, so you should plan well in advance. Also, once you arrive in your host country, you will be able to exchange cash/traveler's checks either in the airport or in the city. Please note that a fee will be charged each time you exchange funds, so you should plan accordingly.

FX Currency Converter can be used to determine the currency exchange rate for the US dollar into currencies around the world.​

ATM Cards​

It is possible to use ATM cards in many foreign countries and this is the most common way travelers obtain money. Check with your bank to make sure that your ATM card will work outside the U.S. (some banks are restricting this due to increased fraud abroad). Also check on the fees for ATM transactions as well as the maximum daily withdrawal limits. In the event that you are unable to use your ATM card, you should take a credit card as a back-up.

Be sure to call your bank to let them know where you will be and for how long or they will lock your ATM card and not allow you to use it.

Credit Cards​

Most major U.S. credit cards can be used worldwide and are extremely useful to take with you. Check with your credit card company to learn what fees, if any, they will charge when converting currency. Although credit cards are becoming easier to use around the world, it may be difficult to use your credit card for purchases in certain countries, and to use your credit card in as many stores as you are accustomed to at home.

Be sure to call your credit card company to let them know where you will be and for how long or they will lock your credit card and not allow you to use it.

When you use your credit card in a foreign country, you will be charged in the currency of the country, and the statement you receive each month from the credit card company will show the amount charged converted into U.S. dollars. If you use your credit card for a cash advance, keep in mind that you will be charged interest on the cash advance from the minute the money is withdrawn.

Be sure to make photocopies of both the front and back of your credit cards in the event that they are lost or stolen. Call the credit card company prior to your departure to let them know that you will be abroad, the dates of your travel and the countries that you will be visiting. Otherwise, the credit card company may block overseas charges to prevent credit card fraud.​

Additional Financial Aid Information

Letter of Probation​

Please be aware that all students will receive a grade of "Z" (which means no grade is yet reported) at the end of the term of study. CMU issues grade reports immediately after the end of the CMU study term and the foreign institutions cannot meet CMU's reporting deadline. Therefore, the "Z" grades are posted for all study abroad students.

Federal regulations require that the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid send a letter to all students who receive a grade of "Z" stating that they are on financial aid probation (students who were already on financial aid probation will receive a letter stating that they are on financial aid suspension). This is only temporary and the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid is aware that all students who have studied abroad will receive their grades at a later date. Once your transcript arrives, the OSA will send a copy of your grades to the Registrars Office. If you successfully completed your courses, your previous financial aid status will be restored.

Students receiving CMU Scholarships​

In the semester that you return to campus, if your study abroad grades are not reported by the date that financial aid is disbursed, your CMU scholarships may not be distributed. In this case, please write a letter to the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid explaining that you were a study abroad participant and ask them to disburse your scholarships. If you continue to have difficulties, please contact the OSA.

Students Currently on Financial Aid Probation​

Students who are currently on financial aid probation MUST notify the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid, 202 Warriner that they are going to study abroad and that transcripts will arrive past the CMU deadline. This will prevent you from being put on financial aid suspension, which means that registration will be dropped and financial aid cancelled.