Are you thinking about off-campus studies? Exciting! You’ll be in good company: Nearly 70% of Carls study off-campus.

Remember: Your financial aid will travel with you for any Carleton-led program and one non-Carleton sponsored program. In addition to meeting with someone in the Off-Campus Studies (OCS) office, we also recommend scheduling a meeting with a Financial Aid Officer. It’s a good idea to start planning 6-12 months before you plan to depart.

Program Expenses

Carleton-led Off-Campus Study Programs

All Carleton-sponsored 10-week off-campus study programs charge the Carleton comprehensive fee, which includes:

  • Tuition
  • Housing and food
  • Group Excursions
  • Public Transportation
  • Medical and Evacuation Insurance
  • Most Cultural Events.

Students are responsible for:

  • Books and Supplies
  • Passports and Visas (when required)*
  • Transportation to and from the program sites*
  • Personal expenses
  • Transportation between program sites, where applicable

Students will receive a program-specific Additional Cost Estimate at the time of acceptance.

*Student/family should plan to have about $2000 available prior to attending their OCS program to cover expenses incurred prior to the start of their program.

Programs Led by Partner Institutions

Fifteen-week semester programs are more common than 10-week programs. This means that participation in a fall semester program may be more expensive than a term at Carleton, because you are paying for up to 28 credits and 15 weeks of room and board compared to Carleton’s 18 credits and 10 weeks of room and board. Conversely, a spring semester program may be less expensive because it is replacing two 10 week terms at Carleton.

In addition to Carleton’s comprehensive fee, you’re responsible for:

  • $500 administrative fee
  • Deposit required by the program (paid directly to sponsoring institution)

Study abroad and off-campus studies program expenses can be influenced by cost of living at the program site, the exchange rate, additional travel and personal expenses, damage deposits, foreign registration fees, etc. If you need additional financial assistance for your off-campus study program, complete and submit the Off-Campus Studies/Financial Aid Scholarship and Loan Application.

Financial Aid Advance for OCS Travel Cost

If you need funds to help cover the additional costs of going abroad on an OCS program, please reach out to the Business Office at  The Business Office will determine whether or not you will have a financial aid credit for that term.  If it is determined that you have a credit balance eligible for refund, you can request a refund for all or part of the credit balance. The earliest you can request an Advance of Financial Aid Funds is the term prior to your program (i.e. your program is Winter 2025 you can reach out fall 2024).

NOTEIf you receive an advance of financial aid funds and cancel your OCS Program, for any reason, your additional OCS scholarship will be canceled.  It will be your responsibility to return the “Advanced Refund”. 

Off-Campus Studies Financial Aid Policies

If you receive financial aid through Carleton, you may apply your aid to any Carleton program and ONE non-Carleton off-campus studies program approved by the college. The Student Financial Aid Office adheres to the following policies:

  • Your financial aid will be available for use toward an off-campus studies program only after your OCS petition has been approved by the college prior to departure on your OCS program and the Student Financial Aid Office has been notified by the OCS Office.
  • If you enroll in a Carleton Summer off-campus study program, you must take a required leave of absence during the same academic year following your return from the study abroad program.
  • Financial aid is not available for any non-Carleton summer programs.
  • Your entire financial aid package, including grant, loan, and student employment is based on the cost for a year at Carleton College. If you participate in a program which is more expensive than Carleton, your grant funds will not be increased, but you may request additional loan funds. If your total program expense is less than the cost at Carleton, your financial aid package is subject to review, and may be reduced.
  • Program deposit fees and expenses not included in the program fee, such as travel, are your responsibility. Students receiving need-based aid may request additional loan assistance to cover those costs directly associated with the program which exceed those incurred for a comparable period of time on campus. Any additional loan will first reduce any payments on your student account you and your family are scheduled to make to Carleton. If there are no scheduled payments due and the additional loan results in a credit balance, you will want to work directly with the Business Office to request any excess funds.
  • Normally, your annual financial aid is applied 33% to fall term, 33% to winter term, and 34% to spring term. The exception is the academic year in which you participate in a semester off-campus studies program for 27 credits and attend Carleton for only one term. In this case, you may request, in writing, that 50% of the aid be applied to the semester program and 33% to your Carleton term, for a total of 83% of the annual aid amount.
  • If you participate in a fall semester program and return to Carleton for both winter and spring terms, you should expect your expenses to be more than that of a regular academic year. In this case, financial aid is applied at the rate of 33% to the fall semester, 33% to the winter term, and 34% to the spring term.
  • During terms in which you are enrolled on campus in the SAME academic year as your program, you may work UP TO 15 hours per week to make up lost work earnings. Contact Student Financial Aid if you would like to make up lost hours.  If it is not possible to earn close to the full amount awarded in student employment due to the length of time you will be off campus, you may request, in writing, a loan for the unearned amount.
  • If you need additional financial assistance for your off-campus study program, you must complete and submit the Off-Campus Studies/Financial Aid Scholarship and Loan Application along with the appropriate budgetary information to the Student Financial Aid Office.  For OCS Scholarship consideration, the form must be received by the deadline listed on the application. OCS scholarship funds are limited and awarded at the discretion of Student Financial Aid. Students who do not receive a scholarship can apply for additional loan funding. For loan assistance, the form must be received no later than 30 days prior to departure. Any additional OCS Scholarship or loan will first reduce any payments on your student account you and your family are scheduled to make to Carleton. If there are no scheduled payments due and the additional scholarship results in a credit balance, you will want to work directly with the Business Office to request any excess funds.
  • You must maintain your full-time student status (enrolled for at least the equivalent of 15 Carleton credits for Minnesota State Grant recipients and 12 Carleton credits for other financial aid recipients) in order to qualify for financial aid.
  • Students who participate in a non-Carleton OCS Program & receive financial aid other than work study should have their non-Carleton OCS bill sent to the Business Office as soon as possible. Once received at the Business Office, Carleton will pay the amount due by the invoice due date. This amount will then be charged to your student statement along with the OCS $500 Administrative fee.  Your aid for the term will then be paid to your student statement when billing is completed for the term or when the term starts for federal and state aid. If after aid is paid the results is a balance due, you would pay Carleton by the term due date.  If the result is a credit balance (negative balance that is result of your aid being more than the billed cost) you can contact the Business Office to request the funds be sent to you. Reminder: you can only use your financial aid on your first non-Carleton OCS program.  It can only be used for one Non-Carleton Program, and it can’t be used for a Summer Non-Carleton Program.
  • Carleton OCS Scholarships are not available for a Non-Carleton Student attending a Carleton led program including Global Engagement Programs.

Other Financial Resources

Normally, additional loan funding is available to students receiving need-based aid to meet direct costs of an off-campus study program, the cost of travel associated with the program, and/or to replace unearned student employment income. A complete loan application must be submitted to student financial aid to have the loan proceeds considered part of the payment for off-campus study.

You may need additional funding to help cover the costs of an off-campus studies program. Organizations and institutions may offer program and travel scholarships. The competition for them is stiff, and the lead time for applications is often 6-9 months. Plan early and write your proposal carefully. Individual departments may also have information about grants and scholarships for a particular area of study.

We also encourage you to visit Carleton’s Off-Campus Studies webpage for more information on financing your program.