Off-Campus Study Finance FAQ

Also refer to Paying for Off-Campus Study posted on the web site of the Office of Off-Campus Study.

Will Bowdoin send me the bill for my program?
It is not likely.  Most programs bill the student directly, and the student pays the program.  Bowdoin bills only for the ISLE, SITA, and CHP programs, in July for fall study and in December for spring study.

Does Bowdoin charge anything for studying away?
A $1,000 per program fee is charged each participating student.  For the fall term, the student health insurance fee is also billed and and the usual waiver and aid credit processes need to be completed as they apply to the individual student.

Are billing and payment different if I enroll independently at an university abroad?
Students who choose to enroll directly at a university abroad need to be prepared to make payment to the university according to the policy of that university.  Invoicing varies by institution.  It is not uncommon for the tuition and housing (accommodation) to be billed by and be paid to separate offices.  Meals may be partially inlcuded, or not at all.  Bills are sometimes not presented until the student has arrived at the university, but sometimes are due well in advance of arrival.  It is advisable to consult the university you will be attending for clarification.

I receive student aid from Bowdoin.  How does it reach my program?
Student aid awards for OCS programs are based on information submitted by the program on the OCS Budget Form, which will be sent electronically to the program directly by the Student Aid Office (207.725.3144 or  An aid award for studying off-campus will be made after this step has been completed. Fall semester student aid sources are paid to the programs about September 15 and spring semester sources about February 15.  This schedule of payment is usually acceptable to programs if students communicate their aid awards to the program business office by the program's payment due date.  A snapshot of the aid web portal sent with payment of the balance of the program bill may be acceptable proof.  For specific information about bills and payment deadlines, please contact the program's business office directly.

Student aid or loan recipients also need to complete an Off-Campus Study Disbursement Form which is distributed by email toward the end of June for fall and year programs and in December for spring programs.  The bill from the program needs to be attached to the form.  With this documentation, the Bursar's Office will have the necessary information to forward the student's aid award/loans to the program and/or student.

Can I use a monthly payment plan to pay my program bill?
Programs operated by an agency in the U.S. (IES Abroad, CIEE, etc.) may offer payment plans similar to Bowdoin's.  For the student enrolling directly (independent of a U.S. agent) in a university abroad, payment plans are not an option.  Instead payment may be expected well in advance of the term or within a few days of arrival.  Invoicing timing and policy varies by institution.  Please consult the program/university you will be attending for specifics.

Can I buy tuition refund insurance to cover my off-campus study tuition?
Please inquire with your program or university whether they offer such coverage.  Bowdoin's tuition refund insurance policy through A.W.G. Dewar is only available to students studying at Bowdoin itself.  If a student is studying away only one semester, he/she may be apply for coverage on Bowdoin's policy for the semester enrolled at Bowdoin.  Payment of the premium to Dewar must be made before classes for the semester in question begin. 

Can I use 529 plan funds to pay my program?
According to the IRS Publication 970, (see page 56), use of 529 plans is limited to educational institutions that are eligible to participate in a student aid program administered by the U.S. Department of Education.  The Dept. of Ed.'s list of schools for 2015-16 may be found at and includes some schools that are not located in the United States.

What if my program/university is not on the Dept. of Ed. list?
If a program or school is not on the list, other documentation may be submitted to support use of 529 plan funds to pay tuition and other qualified expenses there. Because such entities are not required, and not eligible, to report their tuition on the IRS Form 1098-T, we suggest the following documentation to in place of the 1098-T which has been used by some parents to successfully avoid paying a tax penalty on 529 plan withdrawals in such a situation.  Consulting a professional tax advisor for clarification in individual circumstances is strongly recommended as well.

  • The invoice/bill received for the student's participation in the program and program admission information to demonstrate that enrollment was full-time.
  • Proof from the Bowdoin Registrar's Office that the student obtained Bowdoin credit for the course work at the program.  A transcript may be sufficient for this purpose.  The student personally needs to request this information from the Registrar's Office.
  • Proof of your payment to the program.  This would be a copy of a cashed check (front & back) or of a bank transfer, if that method was used.

Will the tuition for my off-campus study program be reported on Bowdoin's 1098-T?
Bowdoin cannot report another institution's fees on its 1098-T.  Either the program/university issues its own 1098-T or the student/parents need to take the three steps listed under the question above to prove their eligibility for a tax credit and/or the legitimate use of 529 plan funds.

Information about OCS programs
: Office of Off-Campus Study, 207.725.3473,
Student aid applications, OCS budget forms, awards: Student Aid Office 207.725.3144,
Billing questions for programs billed by Bowdoin and student aid transfer to other programs: Bursar's Office, 207.725.3249,