Cost & Financial Aid

Scholarships & Grants

Explore the range of options available to help you fund your Semester at Sea journey.


What You Need to Know About Semester at Sea Scholarships & Grants

Even students who do not qualify for standard forms of financial aid (such as Pell Grants) on their home campuses may be eligible for scholarships through the Institute for Shipboard Education (ISE) and Semester at Sea. Applicants are strongly encouraged to file the FAFSA and submit the Student Aid Report to the ISE along with tax returns from the most recent tax year and any supplemental information that might be helpful in our review. International students are also welcome to apply for any ISE scholarships. We ask that you submit a statement of your parents’ income, with an English translation and conversion to U.S. dollars, in lieu of the FAFSA and tax forms.

Important Deadlines

Spring applications open July 12, 2021. Fall Applications open February 9, 2022

AwardFall 2023Spring 2024
Applications OpenFebruary 2023July 2023
Rolling Deadline Awards
• Need and Merit Grants
• Pell Grant Match
• GI Bill/Veterans Benefits
These awards are reviewed on a rolling basis while aid is available, so apply early! View scholarship pages below for more information.
Davis UWC Scholarship for UndergraduatesDeadline: TBD
Notification: TBD
Deadline: TBD
Notification: TBD
Tutu Ubuntu Scholarship (Spring Voyages only)Not available on fall voyagesDeadline: TBD
Notification: TBD
All Other ISE Awards
• Alumni Support
• CMI/Sunstone Scholarship (Fall Voyages only)
• CY Tung Scholarship (Spring Voyages only)
• Global Journalism Fellowship
• HACU/HSI Scholarship
• HBCU Scholarship
• IMPACT Project Cohort
• Inclusive Engagement Scholarship
• International Student Advancement
• Minority Serving Institution
• Student Assistant Grants
• Tung Legacy
Deadline: TBD
Notification: TBD
Deadline: TBD
Notification: TBD

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Current Scholarships & Grants

Award NameAmountVoyageEligibility
Alumni Support Scholarships
Merit-based awards supported by generous alumni gifts
$500-$10,000Spring & Fall>3.0 GPA
CMI/Sunstone Scholarship
Honoring the partnership between Cruise Management International (CMI), Sunstone, and SAS
$25,000FallApplicants must provide proof of parental employment at CMI or Sunstone in order to be considered for the award. Applicants must also provide proof of demonstrated need for this award via the FAFSA Student Aid Report or, for international students, other proof of parental yearly income.
C.Y. Tung Scholarship
Supporting students engaged in a curriculum focused on interactions between Chinese and Americans
$25,000Spring & FallEnrolled in Chinese Studies for U.S. students or enrolled in American Studies for Chinese students.
Davis UWC Scholarship
Need-based scholarship to foster global awareness and understanding
Full & Partial TuitionSpring & FallDavis UWC Scholar at a Davis Institution
GI Bill/Veterans Benefits
Supporting students receiving GI Bill or veteran’s benefits toward their education
Varies; usually about $5,600Spring & FallConfirmed students currently receiving GI Bill or veterans benefits at their home school.
Global Journalism & Integrated Communications Fellowship
Support to develop reporting, digital storytelling, and critical thinking skills during a SAS voyage
$3,500Spring & FallMajoring in Journalism, Communications, English, or a related field
HACU Scholarship
Supporting participation in SAS for students attending a Hispanic-serving institution
$10,000Spring & FallStudents attending a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) that is a member of HACU
HBCU Scholarship
Expanding access to SAS for students from historically or Predominantly Black Institutions
$10,000Spring & FallStudents attending an HBCU or Predominantly Black Institution (PBI) as defined by the U.S. Department of Education
Impact Cohort
Scholarship to fund two Field Programs and 1-credit seminar
Two free overnight Field Programs, 1-credit seminar + opportunity for post-voyage internship. Top applicants also receive $3,500 toward voyage program fees.Spring & FallAll Students
Inclusive Engagement Scholarship
Fostering a shipboard community inclusive of all identities
$5,000 + FlightsSpring & FallOpen to all students. Preference will be given to students from underrepresented identities (race/ethnic minorities, students with disabilities, first-generation, low-income, LGBTQIA+, religion, veterans)
International Student Advancement Award
Expanding the SAS community to include more international students
$3,500-$10,000Spring & FallStudents must be enrolled in a university outside of the United States.
Merit Grants
Recognizing students demonstrating academic excellence and leadership
$250-$2,500Spring & Fall>3.0 GPA
Minority Serving Institution (MSI) Scholarship
Four awards for attendees of eligible Minority Serving Institutions
$5,000Spring & FallMust attend an eligible Minority Serving Institution. Preference will be given to students who identify with underrepresented backgrounds.
Need-Based Grants
Helping make SAS a possibility for all students regardless of financial status
$250-$10,000Spring & FallAll students
Pell Grant Match
Semester at Sea generously matches the Federal Pell Grant for the semester
VariesSpring & FallConfirmed students currently receiving a Pell Grant at their home school.
Student Assistant Grants
A work-study program for industrious, experienced students
$4,000Spring & FallAll Students
Tung Legacy Scholarship
Need- and merit-based aid for legacy students
$10,000FallAvailable to the children or grandchildren of SAS alumni
Demonstrated financial need via the FAFSA Student Aid Report
3.0 cumulative GPA
Tutu Ubuntu Scholarship
Promoting Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s legacy of forgiveness, empowerment, and peace
$30,000SpringMust be a current undergraduate student who graduated from a high school located in an African Country

School & Institution Specific Awards

Amount: $500-$2,500

California Polytechnic State University (San Luis Obispo)

The Cal Poly/SAS Merit Grants are awarded by the Study Abroad Office at Cal Poly. Students must demonstrate a 3.0 cumulative GPA or higher to qualify. Contact the Study Abroad Office at for application and deadline details.

Amount: $7,500

Chapman University Scholarships

These scholarships are awarded by the Center for Global Education, for more information please email Students must be an undergraduate at Chapman to qualify.

Amount: Varies

Colorado State University

The CSU/SAS need-based grant is awarded by Student Financial Services based on your Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) through your CSU institutional aid application. This grant is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. The CSU Education Abroad office nominates students for the CSU/SAS merit grant. Need and merit applications will not be reviewed in the SAS office.

Amount: $3,500

Morehouse College Scholarships

These scholarships are awarded by the Study Abroad Office. Please contact Julius Coles at 
for more information. Students must be an undergraduate at Morehouse to qualify.

Amount: $5,000-$10,000

NSCS Scholarship “Scholar at Sea”

Members of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars are eligible to apply for this award. Two $10,000 awards, three $5,000 awards, and one $5,000 award for CSU NSCS members are available per voyage. Requirements and application are available online.

Amount: $10,000

The Society of Torch & Laurel Scholarship

High-achieving Torch & Laurel Scholars are eligible to apply for this award. Requirements and the application are available online.

Amount: $2,000-$3,750

UC Irvine Scholarships

These scholarships are awarded by the Center for International Education at UCI. For more information, see UCI’s website. Students must be an undergraduate at UCI to qualify. Scholarships range from $2,000-$3,750.

Amount: $1,000-$2,500

UC San Diego Scholarships

These scholarships are awarded by the Institute for Shipboard Education. Students must be an undergraduate at UCSD and submit an ISE need and/or merit grant application to qualify. Scholarships range from $1,000-$2,500.

Amount: Varies

CU Boulder Scholarships

The CU/SAS scholarships are awarded by the Office of International Education. Please complete the CU-Boulder Study Abroad Scholarship to be nominated, or you may email for more information. Students must be an undergraduate at CU to qualify. Awards are based on demonstrated financial need and merit. Students do not need to submit an ISE need or merit grant application.

Amount: Varies

University of Hawaii — Hilo Scholarships

These scholarships are awarded by the Center for Global Education and Exchange. For more information, please contact Carolina Lam at
Students must be an undergraduate at UH-Hilo and have demonstrated financial need to qualify.

Amount: $500-$5,000

University of Virginia Scholarships

The UVa/SAS Merit Scholarship will be awarded on a rolling basis and will range from $500-$5,000. Students must be current UVa undergraduates and maintain a 3.0 cumulative GPA to qualify. To apply, submit the SAS merit scholarship 

Check Out Some Helpful Videos

Hear From Past Voyagers

Headshot of Tracey Osogo

I was privileged to be awarded the Tutu Ubuntu Scholarship for the Spring 2020 voyage. Of all my life experiences, that has been the most challenging yet most fulfilling. It’s not every day you are traversing the world on a cruise ship – doing your coursework while seeing all that the world has to offer! If I had to pick just one element of the voyage – it would have to be the people. Both on land and at sea- every day was a chance to interact with new people of different backgrounds, with unique experiences which were each so beautiful. Beyond the voyage, these very people have become my close network of friends and this is a blessing I would never trade! 128, the world STILL awaits!

Frequenty Asked Questions

Everything you need to know about program costs for Semester at Sea

I’m working very hard to put the financing together. What deadlines to I need to keep in mind?

Payment is due 90 days before the voyages. This due date may be extended with verification of financial aid and disbursement information.

When should I submit the $1,000 deposit to reserve a space?

As soon as you are academically admitted, please submit your deposit within 30 days of admission. The deposit is applied against the tuition and fees for the semester. It is refundable up to 90 days prior to the start of the semester should you decide that you are unable to attend.

Does Semester at Sea offer financial assistance?

Yes. ISE offers a variety of need-based financial awards. Students who qualify for federal aid and loans can also receive ISE assistance. Students who do not typically qualify for federal aid/loans will also be considered for ISE assistance.

Can I use my existing financial aid on Semester at Sea?

Use of any federal aid or loans that you receive, such as Pell Grants and Direct loans, are dependent upon the policies of your home institution. The use of any institutional aid you receive from your home school or from another source must be determined by that source. You must check with the financial aid office at your home institution to determine if your financial aid will transfer.

How do I apply for financial assistance?

For federal aid and loans you should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on your home campus. The information that this process generates will be used both for federal aid and loans and for ISE assistance. For international students, please complete the ISE International Student Aid form, found in your student portal. Semester at Sea financial aid deadlines are typically 3.5 months prior to voyage embarkation date. Visit the ISE Scholarships page for applications and deadlines.

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