Study Abroad Financial Resources & FAQ with Gracie Pekarcik

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By Mary Shelley-Snell

Interested in studying abroad, but concerned about the cost? You aren’t alone!

The Smith Center for International Sustainable Agriculture and the Herbert College of Agriculture are working together to make global engagement more accessible for all students. This involves recognizing the barriers that exist for students when it comes to studying abroad, and being committed to finding solutions. While the financial constraints of international experiences are very real, the Association of American Colleges & Universities recognizes studying abroad as a highly impactful educational tool that gives students the necessary experience to solve global problems, build out skills that will guide them for the rest of their lives and to live in an increasingly intercultural world (2007). “The cost of international education varies as much as the programs available to you,” Gracie Pekarcik explained. “There are a wide range of opportunities to study abroad through UT and each student should consider their personal and financial goals as they choose a program.” 

Pekarcik is the study abroad coordinator for Herbert College, and is passionate about helping students have international experiences. She addresses some common questions about the cost of studying abroad and outlines some great resources below.

These photos highlight students on three different 2023 study abroad programs in Belize and Guatemala.

Q: What UTIA and UT scholarships exist for students that want to study abroad?

The Herbert College of Agriculture Study Abroad Scholarship provides awards of up to $1250 to degree-seeking, undergraduate Herbert students who are participating in credit-bearing, pre-approved programs abroad, to assist with program related fees and expenses related to studying abroad. 

The Smith International Center Scholarship provides awards of up to $500 to degree-seeking, undergraduate UTK students to assist with program-related fees and expenses for agriculture and natural resource-based pre-approved study abroad programs. 

The Center for Global Engagement Undergraduate Study Abroad Scholarship provides awards to degree-seeking, undergraduate UTK students who are participating in credit-bearing, pre-approved programs abroad, to assist with program related fees and expenses related to studying abroad. 

The SIT-ONSF Award provides financial need and academic merit-based competitive funding to undergraduate students participating in an SIT program (affiliate).

Q: What outside scholarships can students apply for?

There are numerous outside scholarships that UTIA students can apply for. A comprehensive list can be found on the Study Abroad website and even more can be found on study abroad scholarship databases. A student’s ability to receive an outside scholarship is dependent on a variety of factors including demographics, financial status, academic background, area of study, destination choice, etc. All students should be sure to check their eligibility prior to applying for an outside scholarship.

Here are some key outside scholarships students should consider applying for:

*Reminder this is NOT the full list of available scholarships. Please visit the study abroad website to review additional scholarships.

Q: Can I apply my existing loans and scholarships to education abroad?

Yes! Most existing scholarships and financial aid can be applied to credit-bearing, approved semester and full summer study abroad programs. For Fall and Spring semester programs, you must be registered for the equivalent of at least 12 UT credit hours to receive your full financial aid. Check with OneStop Student Services to see exactly how your existing scholarships and financial aid will apply to study abroad.

Q: Are there any other departments or outside organizations that I should talk to about this?

Be sure to talk to OneStop Student Services regarding any study abroad decisions to see how your scholarships/financial aid can be applied to your program abroad. Additionally, talk to your academic department when considering a study abroad program as they may be able to contribute additional financial support to qualified students.

The Herbert College of Agriculture and the Smith Center have made it a priority to support and provide scholarship opportunities for students to study abroad. “A standard we hold to is that cost should never be the number one reason a student chooses not to study abroad,” Pekarcik said. “If costs are a concern, come talk to me in McCord Hall. I’m here to help Herbert students address any questions they have about studying abroad!” 

Interested in learning more about the Herbert study abroad programs happening this year? Don’t miss the 2023 Herbert Study Abroad Fair, held in conjunction with the UTIA International Showcase, on Friday, September 22nd at the Brehm Animal Science lawn and arena from 11:30 am – 2:30 pm. These events will feature international food trucks, interactive booths highlighting our study abroad programs and international research and global games on the lawn. You’ll even have the chance to score a goal on the turf being used for the 2026 FIFA World Cup! Join us to celebrate another year working to #GrowGlobal at UTIA.

Association of American Colleges & Universities. (2007). College learning for the new global century: A report from the National Leadership Council for Liberal Education America’s Promise (LEAP). AAC&U.