Scholarship FAQs

When can I apply for a merit scholarship?

The first step of applying for a merit-based scholarship is to start your general study abroad application.  Merit scholarship details for programs departing in the summer/fall (June – September) are typically made available on our website in October, and details for programs departing in the spring (January – March) are typically available in May.

When can I apply for a need-based award?

You'll apply for a need-based award through the FAST financial aid application, which we recommend that you submit about 6-8 months prior to when your program departs. You'll need your family's most recent tax documents for the application. 

If my household income is more than $65,000 per year, can I still apply for a need-based award through the Global Leaders program?

Yes – AFS-USA uses the expertise of a third-party financial verification firm, ISM FAST, to evaluate families’ financial eligibility. Due to the cost of living in your area, the number of people in your household, or other extenuating circumstances, you may qualify for a need-based award if your family makes more than $65,000 per year. However, the AFS Scholarship Review Committee won’t be able to determine if you qualify until you submit the FAST financial aid application.

We encourage all families facing financial challenges to consider applying for a need-based award. If you have questions about whether or not you'll qualify, we're very happy to talk it over with you. Contact the scholarships team at

Can I apply for multiple scholarships?

Yes! Many of our merit-based scholarships can be combined with need-based awards. If receiving some funding is important to you, you should apply for any scholarships you're eligible for.

How long does it take to find out if I receive a scholarship?

Merit scholarship results are typically announced one month after the scholarship deadline. Deadlines can be found on each scholarship webpage. Need-based awards are announced on a rolling basis once your FAST financial aid application is complete.

How many students receive scholarships?

The number of available scholarships fluctuates each year depending on the funding AFS-USA receives from our donors. We strive to financially assist as many students each year as we can. Typically, approximately $3 million are awarded annually, and nearly 50% of our students receive some form of funding.

What scholarships will be offered next year?

Our scholarship offerings are subject to change every year. Generally, we announce scholarship information 8 - 10 months before programs depart. We recommend checking the scholarship website frequently to see what new scholarships are available to you!

Remember, it's never too early to start fundraising. Even if you do receive a scholarship, you may want additional funds to cover expenses like pocket money while you're abroad. Check out our fundraising ideas and start your fundraising plan now!