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Obama Scholars

As an Obama scholar you have a great opportunity to use your funding on a GEO program.

Frequently asked questions

Can I use my Obama Scholarship for a Global Education program?
Absolutely! After completing your first year in the Obama Scholars Program you may choose to spend one semester on a Partnership or Exchange program during either the fall or spring semester. This will count as one semester toward the eight-semester maximum. Your funding will continue to be based on ASU cost of attendance and will not cover any Global Education fees. Your cost of attendance will reflect ASU’s standard off-campus budget.

When is the ideal time for an Obama Scholar to participate in a Global Education program?
The best time for an Obama Scholar to go abroad would be junior year, so planning should start sophomore year. With detailed planning, it is also possible to go your sophomore or senior year. 

If I apply for Global Education scholarships will my Obama scholarship decrease?
The amount of your Obama scholarship will vary based on additional funding that you receive. See the example below on how your scholarship is calculated. 

Estimated direct costs


Includes actual tuition, undergraduate college fee (including Barrett Honors Fee) and student initiated fees, plus a standardized allowance for housing, meals, books and supplies.

Student Aid Index


This amount is determined when you file your FAFSA.

Obama Scholars Program Funding

Made up of funding from various sources (gift aid, from federal, state, private and institutional sources) combined with $3,000 in Federal Work-Study.

If I obtain additional scholarship money, am I eligible for refund money?
If the amount of your financial aid exceeds the charges on your account, you will receive a refund. However, the amount of your Obama scholarship will vary based on additional funding that you receive.

 If I choose to do an exchange program, will I be granted the housing stipend based on the average cost of living in Tempe, or in the city I am studying in, or at all?
We will use the standard off-campus budget amount to determine housing costs for the Obama scholarship.  For more information about off-campus housing cost, refer to our cost of attendance.

If I am a peer programmer/CA/CM one semester and then attend a Global Education program the following semester, will I receive money for housing when I am abroad?
If you have confirmed to spend one semester in an ASU-sponsored Global Education program, please contact Financial Aid and Scholarship Services to review your awards.

Tips to keep in mind

  • Begin planning your Global Education program nine months to one year before your anticipated departure

Resources for more information

  • Obama Scholars ASU site - Additional information about Obama Scholars using their scholarship to participate in a Global Education program

Obama Scholar Student Profile


Name: Brittany Ferguson
Major: Criminal Justice
Study Abroad Location: Florence, Italy
Study Abroad Program: ISA: Business, Hospitality, Design & Liberal Arts at the Florence University of the Arts and Apicius International School of Hospitality

How I grew academically through the program:

I adapted to a different style of teaching but also learned from different perspectives.  Going abroad gave me a new passion for subjects I had never thought of studying before and to continue studying them after my undergrad degree.

I am a Criminal Justice major and during my semester abroad I was able to take a course that focused on the mafia. I learned the history of mafia, its practices and those who now fight against it.  My professor was once a translator for the prosecution against the mafia and gave a unique had firsthand experience on the subject.

How I grew culturally through the program:

Living in a new city on the other side of the world was different and took time to get used to, but it opened my eyes to living a different way.  I never would have imagined getting up every morning to buy groceries and staying up till late at night to have a three hour dinner, but I became accustomed to the Italian lifestyle.  Also, traveling within Italy and to other surrounding countries gave me the ability to appreciate other ways of life.

How I grew personally through the program:
Studying abroad in Italy was my first time out of the country and my first time being away from family for such a long period of time. I learned that no matter how far away family is, they are always there for you. My program helped me be more independent than I ever thought I could be, and gave me confidence to travel by myself. I also formed new friendships so I now have connections not only abroad, but also across the United States.

How I learned about the opportunity to study abroad:
I learned about study abroad during my freshman year, but I did not think I would be able to do it financially. I spoke with Amy Golden, Director of Obama Scholars, and she explained that I had the opportunity to apply the Obama Scholarship towards one semester of study abroad. I immediately spoke with an International Coordinator in the Global Education Office and Financial Aid and Scholarship Services to see how the scholarship would work with my study abroad program. The Obama scholarship ended up covering a majority of my program fee.