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Western Kentucky University

National Student Exchange

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Aid is possible and is straightforward if you understand the process and follow through on the items needed from you and your family. Follow the directions and start early. Understand that you will begin the financial aid application process before being placed at your exchange school so you need to follow the instructions we supply. If you receive conflicting information, call the Study Away NSE Coordinator for clarification.

Your first step is to outline the total cost to attend each school you are interested in attending. Be sure to include normal tuition costs even though they are paid to WKU. Each NSE school provides their costs on the web site for use to calculate your need. We provide you a budget worksheet to share with Student Financial Services to calculate your aid eligibility. It is the policy of the National Student Exchange Consortium that “The institution at which tuition/fees are paid shall be responsible for assessing need; and committing, awarding, and disbursing federally funded aid.”

Plan A

Since you are paying tuition to the host institution, you apply for Federal financial aid through the host school. In the NSE directory, you will find the school code for use on the FAFSA and other financial aid documents. Aid will be distributed from the host school, and the host school NSE coordinator will communicate with you concerning this process. The WKU NSE Coordinator is always available to help with this process. For schools outside of Kentucky, you may not be able to use state-sponsored nor WKU-sponsored aid that is specific to Kentucky schools and/or WKU. Our financial aid office will clarify you eligibility for these funds.

Plan B

You pay your tuition to WKU and room/meal/miscellaneous fees to your host school. The NSE holding course allows your financial aid, except Federal Work Study (FWS), to be processed at WKU. Your financial aid will be based on the cost of attending WKU. Follow the regular procedure for filing financial aid.

Make sure you meet all deadlines!

This is particularly important for your exchange since placement will be completed well in advance of your arrival at your exchange school. You should determine if your host school’s housing and meal plan are higher than WKU’s (estimates available in the NSE Directory). Transportation will also increase the cost of your exchange. As soon as you are placed and have specific figures, you may submit a statement listing any increases, including travel expenses, to Financial Aid. This could increase the amount of aid for which you are eligible.

Watch carefully for your award letter from WKU.

If you have been granted Federal Work Study (FWS), understand that you must decline it. FWS is not transferable to other institutions. Ask about an increase in other forms of aid (e.g., loans, grants) when you decline your work study. When your financial aid arrives at WKU, it will apply first to WKU tuition. Then, any excess will be posted to your Higher One debit card, and this excess may be used to pay your other expenses.


Some exchange schools will require early payment for housing and meals. You must find out whether or not your host school will wait for financial aid to be processed. While it is true that exchanges generally do not cost more, make sure you bring enough money with you to get you through at least the first month (books, rent, food, entertainment). Furthermore, you may need to pay in full or make a deposit for housing and/or meal plans in advance.

link to NSE web site

What is NSE?
Learn More.

The NSE website provides the most detailed information about all of your exchange opportunities.

Spring 2016 Application Deadline

  • For Spring 2016:
    October 1, 2015
  • Exchange options become more limited the longer you wait!

2016-2017 Application Deadlines

  • For Academic Year 2016-2017:
    February 14, 2016
  • For Fall 2016:
    February 14, 2016
  • For Spring 2017:
    February 14, 2016

Application Items

  • Interview:
    Required after application complete
  • Application Fee of $200
    Required after interview

Advising and Guidance

  • For individuals or groups to get you rolling with the NSE process, set up an appointment with the WKU NSE Advisor.
  • Office: Tate Page Hall 104

    Phone: 270-745-4512

The information on this website is provided for your convenience, but the WKU NSE Student Manual is the official source for all guidelines, rules and procedures for decisions related to your participation in NSE.  It is expected that you will review this handbook.

WKU is not liable for accidents or injuries sustained in transit to host schools or during the exchange program. Make sure you have adequate major medical insurance coverage. WKU is not liable for any dissatisfaction with an exchange placement or experience.

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 Last Modified 5/1/15