Financial Aid Office

Financing an Education

Financial Literacy and Money Management

Financial literacy is about making good financial decisions to manage your personal finances – from budgeting to credit scores. Many people think of budgeting with dread – that it's restrictive and impossible unless you have an accounting degree or love math. It’s neither. It's a way to give you financial freedom so you can enjoy spending your money on the things that you want, without putting yourself into debt. For more information, see "Financial Literacy Guidance" (PDF) from Federal Student Aid, an office of the U.S. Department of Education. 

At St. Cloud State University, we have partnered with Great Lakes & Affiliates to provide students with GradReady, a financial literacy tool designed for college students to learn more about managing their tuition, budget, and bills.




Financing an Education Abroad Experience

When financing your education abroad experience, preparation and planning are essential. We recommend that you begin planning your finances at least one year in advance of your trip. The Financial Aid Office is available to help you begin and navigate this process.

When you go abroad, you will have similar types of costs that you would during your time on campus (tuition, fees, housing, food/meals, health insurance, transportation). There are additional costs to consider such as the $75 application fee, airfare, passport/visa, immunizations and personal spending money. This Study Abroad Budget Worksheet may help you with your budgeting and planning efforts.

Once you have been accepted into your study abroad program, the Center for International (CIS) will submit an official budget to the Financial Aid Office prior to your term abroad. If you applied for financial aid, the program budget and cost sheet (PDF) supplied by CIS will be used to estimate your financial aid eligibility and award for the term(s) that you are studying abroad.

Many students will borrow additional loans to cover education abroad program costs. Try to keep your debt load down by budgeting closely, borrowing only what you need, and paying for as much as you can out of pocket with savings or earnings from work.

Before you leave the country:

  • Consider Power of Attorney for a family member to assist you with your funds and other legal needs in the event of an emergency. Give a trusted relative or friend access to your account so they can help you if there is a problem.
  • Sign up for direct deposit so that any financial aid overage goes directly to your bank account. If you do not sign up for direct deposit, overage funds will be mailed via paper check to the local address that you've designated in your e-Services under the "Account Management" link. 
  • Contact your bank and credit card companies and let them know that charges will be coming from overseas.
    • Be sure you know whether the country you are visiting needs a “chip” in the card to be able to use it and to verify that your credit card has a chip.
    • Ask your bank and credit card company if there are any surcharges to withdraw money overseas.
    • Ask about and daily limit you can withdraw or any other security holds that might cause problems.
    • Be careful of what type of cash machines you choose to use and be aware of your surroundings when you are withdrawing cash.
  • Traveler’s checks are rarely used these days. Have a safe place on you to carry cash and cards — NOT in a purse or backpack that may be taken!