Your peers on NAFSA’s Education Abroad Regulatory Practice Subcommittee on Financial Aid provide the following information to help education abroad professionals stay informed of federal financial aid guidance during the disruption of the COVID-19 crisis. Common questions related to Cost of Attendance (COA), Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP), online learning, and others are answered below. While some authoritative guidance has been issued by the U.S. Department of Education, education abroad professionals should connect with their institution’s financial aid office for interpretation of the rules and their use of professional judgement.

Updates are provided as new information from the Department of Education and insights from the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) are published.

Three rounds of funding have been made available to institutions of higher education via the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA), and the American Rescue Plan (ARP) as follows:

On May 11, 2021, the Department of Education (DoEd) released an updated set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund III (HEERF III) grants under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. FAQs relevant to education abroad have been added below.

Flexibility for Title IV aid use granted for the spring 2020 term was extended to December 31, 2020 per June 16 guidance from the U.S. Department of Education.

Can students who are studying abroad receive HEERF emergency financial aid grants?
If a program location has a level 3 or 4 warning on the US Department of State's travel site, can students still use financial aid?
What are the requirements for making emergency financial aid grants to students?
Do we need to adjust the cost of attendance/budget for a term?
What about the return of Title IV funds for students who don’t complete their program, also known as R2T4 by financial aid professionals (the recalculation of aid based on time spent actively participating on the program)?
Can my students participate in online learning?
Are there any additional financial resources students can utilize for new costs (flight charges, housing, etc)?
Can Study Abroad students use the emergency funding provided to my institution under the Education Stabilization Fund (part of the CARES Act)?
What about “Leave of Absence” students participating on a non-approved by the home institution program (credits as transfer credits)?
How are schools dealing with financial aid related to their own campus created programming (faculty-leds) in Spring and/or Spring Break?
How will COVID-19 impact Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)?
How are providers handling refunds, future programming, etc.?
Can students use Federal Aid for quarantine costs pre/post program?
May undocumented students and international students receive HEERF III funds?
Veteran Benefits and COVID-19
Financial Policies
Education Abroad Regulatory Practice Subcommittee (EARP) Tips