Ccny Study Abroad Scholarship Essay


  • What are some common mistakes?

The most common mistake is to fail to sign forms or to get signatures from individuals who must confirm something about your application.  A written or official digital signature is required.

  • How can I know if my application is complete? 

All applicants should log in to their application and make sure that all of the checkboxes under “Application Questionnaires” and “Signature Documents” are checked.  The checkbox can only be marked once you have completed all required questions AND clicked “submit” at the bottom of each application element.  However, please note that it is possible to have an application with unacceptable answers (for example, incorrect or unreadable forms uploaded) that still appear complete.  It is your responsibility to read the directions for each application section and question and to respond accordingly.  Please check your work—we especially recommend that you download forms that you have uploaded to verify that they appear as you intend.

  • Is the application portal mobile device-friendly?

Unfortunately, our application system is not optimized for mobile devices, and you may encounter obstacles and even lose your work if you attempt to complete it on your phone.  We recommend that you arrange to complete the application at a desktop or laptop computer, at your college’s computer lab if necessary.  To do this efficiently, you may want to prepare your essay in advance to the following question:

In 1000 words or less, describe:
(1) the study abroad program you plan to attend,
(2) the objectives you seek to pursue through this program, and
(3) how this specific program will help you achieve them.

  • Is this scholarship like STOCS or SIROCS?

Although the CGS, STOCS and SIROCS all sought to promote access to study abroad opportunities for CUNY students, the CGS is funded directly by CUNY.  The program’s eligibility criteria and other features are therefore different.

  • Is U.S. citizenship required?

No.  However, if you are not a U.S. citizen, you must be an eligible non-citizen according to FAFSA rules.

  • I’m not Pell Grant-eligible.  Do I have sufficient need to be able to apply?

Pell Grant eligibility is not required in order to apply.  Need will be assessed on a case-by-case basis using the EFC (Expected Family Contribution) from your FAFSA.

  • How do I know if my EFC (Expected Family Contribution) is too high?

There is no eligibility cut off for EFC. However, the mission of the scholarship is to promote access to study abroad for those with financial need. Therefore, financial need is a factor in the scoring process for evaluating applicants.

The selection committee determines how to allocate awards based on the size and quality of the applicant pool.  In most selection rounds, not all qualified applicants can be awarded.  The most common award amount is $1000.  A small number of applicants with the highest rankings may received $1250, $1500, or $1750.  Occasionally, a very highly ranked applicant whose program is at least a semester long may receive more, but no award is greater than the program cost (minus any other awards such as the Gilman).

  • I also received another award to attend this program.  Will this affect my CGS award?

As long as your total awards do not exceed the cost of the program, your CGS award is not affected.  You should make sure that your paperwork reflects the full cost of attendance, including costs you may be expected to cover on your own (that are not included in the program fee), to avoid any unnecessary reductions in your award.  If you are applying for CGS funding to help cover the costs of a CUNY program, you will complete this paperwork if you are selected as a finalist.  If you are applying for CGS funding to help cover the cost of a non-CUNY program, you will complete a Consortium Agreement during the application process that requires you to document program costs and related expenses.

  • I had to change a course after arriving at my program.  How does this affect my CGS award?

You must report any changes with an updated CGS Verification of Program Applicability to Degree form (for CUNY programs), or an updated Consortium Agreement (for non-CUNY programs).  If your new course(s) do not fit into the major, minor, Pathways, and/or elective requirements of your degree plan, your CGS award will be rescinded and the disbursed amount will be billed to your student account.

You should consult with an advisor at your home college before finalizing any course changes abroad, to avoid any potential loss of CGS funding or other financial aid.

  • If I’m selected, how will I be paid?

All CGS awards will be processed through Financial Aid, and in most cases, awards will be disbursed after your program fees are due, and summer program participants may not receive their awards until their programs have concluded.  Therefore, you should make arrangements to pay your program fee and cover all expenses before the award is disbursed.

Once the award is posted to your Student Account, if you have no other outstanding charges, the award will be disbursed either to your bank account (if you have enrolled in Direct Deposit via CUNYFirst), or to your CUNY Scholar Card, which you can enroll in if you are not signed up for Direct Deposit.  We strongly recommend that awardees enroll in direct deposit before your program begins.  This will give you more options than the CUNY Scholar Card, which charges 3.8% in fees for all foreign transactions.  More information on refunds through Financial Aid can be found here.

National and local scholarships are also available to CUNY students interested in study or internships abroad. In addition to these listings, check out the study abroad website of your college. Some colleges offer funding for study abroad to its students. Also visit CUNY’s Financial Aid: Find Your Scholarship site.

The listings below are for scholarships open to students throughout the United States. Eligibility criteria vary, but keep in mind that many funders are as interested in building access to study abroad to traditionally underrepresented groups as in strong academic records. The Gilman Scholarship and the Critical Languages Scholarship, for example, are especially interested in supporting community college students, minorities, non-traditional students, and others.

The most important factor in securing funding for study abroad is advance planning. Deadlines are typically much earlier than for study abroad programs, so discuss your plans with your study abroad advisor as early as possible.  For advice from a successful CUNY Gilman applicant, check out this helpful zine from Elenore Zuniga, Gilman awardee in spring 2015).


The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program provides awards of up to $5,000 for U.S. undergraduate students who are receiving federal Pell Grant funding at a two-year or four-year college or university to participate in study abroad programs of at least four weeks to any country not under a Department of State travel warning that takes place during the fall or spring semester. Check for the deadlines and timeline.

The Boren Awards for International Study provide a unique funding opportunity for U.S. undergraduate and graduate students to study world regions critical to U.S. interests (including Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America and the Caribbean and the Middle East). The program was designed to provide American students with the resources and encouragement they need to acquire skills and experiences in areas of the world critical to the future security of the United States, in exchange for a commitment to seek work in the federal government. Awards are up to $20,000 for undergraduates and $30,000 for graduate students, depending on the cost and length of program.

Critical Language Scholarship is a U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs program that provides scholarships for U.S. citizen undergraduate, master’s and Ph.D. students to participate in beginning, intermediate and advanced-level intensive summer language programs at American Overseas Research Centers.

DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austauch Dienst, or German Academic Exchange Service) offers scholarships for undergraduates, graduate students, researchers and faculty members to study in Germany.

The U.S. Fulbright Student Program is the largest U.S. international exchange program offering opportunities for U.S. students to individually design research or teach English for one academic year in a country outside of the United States. Recent BA/BS graduates, masters and Ph.D. candidates, young professionals, including writers, journalists and those in business, law and professional fields, as well as artists and musicians, are eligible. Fulbright is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Applicants enrolled at a U.S. college or university must apply through their home college. Alternatively, non-matriculated students may apply as at-large applicants. Click here to find the Fulbright Program Advisor at your college.

Diversity Abroad is the leading global education organization that targets non-traditional students for international education opportunities. Click here for the link to scholarship and financial aid resources.

The Fund for Education Abroad is committed to increasing the opportunities for dedicated American students to participate in high-quality, rigorous education abroad programs by reducing financial restrictions through the provision of grants and scholarships.

The Hispanic Association of Colleges & Universities (HACU) has partnered with Global Learning Semesters to increase the number of Hispanic students engaged in study abroad. The study abroad funding opportunities are available here.

The Institute for International Education (IIE) is a private nonprofit which, in collaboration with governments, foundations and other sponsors, creates programs of study and training for students, educators and professionals from all sectors. IIE maintains a thorough database of study abroad funding opportunities at IIEPassport Study Abroad Funding

The Kosciuszko Foundation offers scholarships for study in Poland, including the Tomaszkiewicz-Florio Scholarships for summer study as well as full-year funding for certain programs.

MASA provides grants to students of Jewish descent who study in Israel. It also provides a list of additional funding sources.

NAFSA, Association of International Educators, is a member organization promoting international education and providing professional development opportunities to the field. It has a page of information on financial aid for study abroad.

Internship and Volunteer Abroad Opportunities

The U.S. Department of State Internship Program provides students with a valuable experience working in a foreign affairs agency. For more information, contact Ana Escrogima, Diplomat-in-Residence at CCNY.

The Peace Corps is a U.S. federal government agency that places volunteers in 76 countries in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Central and South America, Europe and the Middle East. Volunteer work falls in the following categories: education, youth and community development, health, HIV/AIDS awareness, information technology and business development.

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