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Bridge Builder Pre-Departure Financial Support

Financial aid is typically available at the beginning of your study abroad term, but some costs related to study abroad can occur much earlier. Covering these up-front costs out of pocket can present some budgeting challenges, especially if you depend on financial aid to help with your expenses. In an effort to minimize the stress of pre-departure expenses, the offices of Undergraduate Financial Aid and Undergraduate Learning Abroad are pleased to offer the Bridge Builder program for students with high financial need.

Inspired by similar programs from our partners at the University of Minnesota and the Institute for Study Abroad, Bridge Builder is designed to assist study abroad students who might not have funds immediately available to cover up-front study abroad costs. Bridge Builder can help cover these costs until your study abroad term, when your financial aid is available.

You may apply to Bridge Builder once you have been both approved by Northwestern to study abroad and accepted to a Northwestern-sponsored or affiliated study abroad program.

Eligibility

  • You are enrolled as a degree-seeking undergraduate at Northwestern (except the School of Professional Studies)
  • You have been approved for and accepted to a Northwestern-sponsored, Northwestern exchange, or affiliated program.
  • You have an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of $10,000 or less for the current academic year and receive need-based financial aid from Northwestern. Your EFC is published on your Northwestern financial aid award letter, which you can find in CAESAR > Financial Aid > View My Financial Aid > [Year] > Print Award Letter

Restrictions

  • Bridge Builder is not available for unaffiliated programs.
  • You may only apply to Bridge Builder for one program per term (e.g., one fall quarter program). You cannot be granted flight-booking or scholarship support for two different programs during the same academic term.
  • If you will be attending a program that arranges travel for all participants, you are not eligible to book your flight through Bridge Builder, regardless of whether you are required or plan to participate on your program's flight. This currently includes the following programs:
    • Northwestern GESI (all locations)
    • Northwestern Semester in Qatar
    • Carleton-Antioch Buddhist Studies in India
    • Moscow Arts Theater Semester
    • If you will attend a Boston University program that includes airfare in the program fee, but you do not plan to participate on the BU group flight, you may use Bridge Builder to book your own flight. While your BU program fee will be reduced by the amount of the group flight, keep in mind that if your flight credit is delayed for any reason, you could end up double-billed for airfare until your credit is issued.
  • Flight and fare subject to University travel policy/restrictions and approval.

Application Instructions

  • Complete the Bridge Builder application for 2017-2018 study abroad programs by the appropriate deadline:
    • June 1st for fall quarter or full year programs
    • November 1st for winter quarter and winter-spring programs
    • February 1st for spring quarter programs
    • May 1st for eligible summer programs
    • The application for Summer 2018 and Academic Year 2018-2019 programs will be available in winter quarter 2018.
  • Schedule an appointment with Krista Bethel in the financial aid office to discuss your study abroad aid, budgeting, and pre-departure costs, and to have your application certified.
  • If you are booking your flight through Bridge Builder, be sure to book your flight by the appropriate deadline:
    • July 15th for fall quarter or full year programs
    • November 15th for winter quarter and winter-spring programs
    • February 15th for spring quarter programs
    • May 15th for eligible summer programs
Terms & Deadlines Submit Application by Book Flight by Billed through CAESAR
Fall, Fall-Winter, or Full Year June 1 July 15 August 10
Winter or Winter-Spring November 1 November 15 December 10
Spring February 1 February 15 March 10
Summer May 1 May 15 June 10

Questions?

Krista Buda Bethel
krista@northwestern.edu

Jessica Fetridge
jessica.fetridge@northwestern.edu