Off-Campus Study Financial Aid

More than 50 percent of Grinnell College students, many of whom receive financial aid, participate in an off-campus study (OCS) program. Find more information about how financial aid works with OCS below, and you can learn more about OCS programs and advising on the Office of Off-Campus Study’s website.

Off-Campus Study Financial Aid

Students may use Grinnell-funded financial aid for one off-campus study program. The program must be a Grinnell-approved program. Students approved for an OCS program who wish to receive aid must go through the same financial aid process as students intending to remain on campus. All financial aid deadlines and requirements still apply. Visit the Online Financial Aid Office (Secure Login Required) to check the status of your financial aid materials. Financial aid notices for the fall are generally provided by June, and aid notices for the spring will be adjusted in November. 

Certain conditions apply to OCS that may affect your financial aid:

  • Domestic students who receive need-based aid like the Harry Hopkins or QuestBridge Grant can generally expect their family contribution to remain similar when they participate in OCS. A student loan may be offered to cover the additional cost of a more expensive program.
  • Students receiving only merit aid and international students receiving an international grant can use these funds for OCS. However, additional grants and scholarships are not available to assist with the cost of OCS.
  • ACM, GLCA, and staff tuition remission benefits can only be applied to Grinnell-in-London and Grinnell-in-Washington. Students will be considered for need-based financial aid if they apply. Eligibility will be calculated based on the cost and resources (expected family contribution, tuition remission received, and other aid) for the entire academic year, not semester by semester. If you have questions, contact the Office of Financial Aid for assistance.
  • Students are not permitted to work abroad. Therefore, student employment eligibility may be replaced with a student loan.
  • Aid will not exceed the cost of attendance under any circumstance.
  • Financial aid is not available for pre/post-sessions that start before or after the approved OCS program. This includes intensive language study before the program begins.

With the exception of the initial deposit, which the student pays directly to the program, Grinnell College pays all program invoices and then bills the student for billable expenses related to the OCS program. The following is a list of off-campus study tuition, fees, and other charges billed by the College:

  • The tuition of the program you attend or Grinnell College’s tuition, whichever is greater. Please bear in mind that the comprehensive fee published by some programs may include charges for items such as housing, meals, insurance, transportation, and other items. Grinnell considers only the tuition portion of these fees when determining the tuition charge to be billed by Grinnell College. Additionally, tuition for pre/post-sessions, if charged by the program, is reflected as an additional charge on the billing statement from the College.
  • Off-campus study administrative fee ($300)
  • Grinnell College student health insurance (which may be waived)
  • Housing and meals charged by the program
  • Transportation, such as airfare, if billed to Grinnell College by the program or paid in advance by Grinnell College
  • Other miscellaneous fees that are charged by the program (student activity fees, lab fees, local transportation, books, etc.)

The College will bill the student the estimated direct costs of the program in which the student is enrolled prior to the beginning of the semester. After Grinnell receives the invoice from the program, an adjustment will be made to the student billing to reflect actual charges and the deposit paid by the student if reflected on the invoice from the program.

Questions related to billing should be directed to the Office of Student Accounts, 641-269-4100.

Please use the Estimated OCS Cost Information (Excel File) to estimate your cost of attendance and financial aid for your OCS program. This worksheet may not be fully accessible by people using assistive technology. If you need assistance please schedule an appointment. There are two tabs:

  • Estimated Cost Information: This tab contains estimated cost information for most programs and will help you compare the cost of OCS with studying in Grinnell.
  • Calculator: This tab will help you determine estimated financial aid available, provide a breakdown of direct and indirect expenses, and estimate your out-of-pocket cost for off-campus study. Be sure to include the financial aid you’re receiving for the academic year during which you expect to participate in OCS.

The normal policy for outside scholarships applies when a student participates in OCS. A student can generally receive up to $20,000 in outside resources over their four years at Grinnell before their need-based aid from Grinnell is reduced. You can find more information on the Outside Scholarship Tip Sheet (PDF). Please email the financial aid office if you have questions about your particular circumstances. 


If the program requires the Office of Financial Aid to provide information, forward the application to the Office of Financial Aid or let us know what materials are needed.

Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program

Open to U.S. citizens who are receiving a Federal Pell Grant.

  • Visit the Online Financial Aid Office (login required) and click on the Awards by Term tab to see if you are receiving a Federal Pell Grant.
  • Deadline is typically around (check their website for actual deadlines):
    • March for Fall and Academic Year applications
    • October for Spring and Summer applications

Gilman-McCain Scholarship

For child dependents of active duty service members who receive any type of Title IV federal financial aid.

Boren Awards

Boren Scholarships provide unique funding opportunities for U.S. undergraduates to study less commonly taught languages in world regions critical to U.S. interests and underrepresented in study abroad, including Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East.

Bridging Scholarships for Study in Japan

Applicants must be U.S. citizens and must be enrolled as undergraduates in a college or university in the United States before and during the time they are studying abroad. Their study in Japan must last for at least three months and must earn credit that will transfer to their home campus in the U.S.


Open to undergraduates who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents, with need as calculated by the FAFSA, who will study abroad in Asia. The student must have a minimum GPA of 2.8. Visit their website for more information.

Fund for Education Abroad

Open to undergraduates who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents. May have an early deadline.

Note: Ann M. Landstrom M.S., assistant dean and director of global fellowships and awards, can assist Grinnell College students who are applying for the Gilman, Boren, and Freeman-Asia Scholarships. Contact: Center for Careers, Life, and Service | John Chrystal Center, 2nd Floor | 641-269-4940 | | Handshake (You can schedule an appointment via this site).

Check with the programs you are considering to see if they offer funding. If they do, application materials are usually available on their website.

These OCS program providers have offered Grinnell College students funding for study abroad. Links are included for some of the programs.


Arcadia University

CET Academic Programs


DIS Study Abroad

IES Abroad


Hamilton College

Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL)

Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS)

SIT Study Abroad

Syracuse University

The School for Field Studies (SFS)

OCS programs are the best source of information regarding whether a visa or permit is needed and the steps necessary to secure documents. It can take time to secure any needed paperwork, so please be proactive.

If you need a Proof of Funds letter:

  • Email your request to Steph Haines with Proof of Funds for the subject.
  • Indicate if the letter should be mailed or emailed to you. If a mailed version of the letter is needed, provide your complete mailing address. The cost of priority mailing, either in the United States or to a foreign country, may be passed on to you and be reflected as a charge on their billing statement.
  • Indicate the start and end date of the program, if available, as some consulates require this information.
  • Letters will not be provided directly to a consulate.
  • Allow 7 to 10 business days for processing.

Students who decide to attend an off-campus study program not approved by the OCS Board are not eligible for aid through Grinnell College, nor can Grinnell be responsible for notifying lenders that students have enrolled elsewhere.

If you are interested in how your off-campus study choices will impact your financial aid or your out-of-pocket cost, you may schedule an individual appointment, contact the financial aid office, 641-269-3250, or use the resources listed below. 

If your financial aid includes ACM, GLCA, or staff tuition remission and you plan to attend a program other than Grinnell-in-London or Grinnell-in-Washington, please schedule an appointment. These benefits are only available for these two programs.

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