Cost & Financial Aid

Studying abroad with Semester at Sea is more than just an amazing travel and learning experience — it is one of the best investments students can make in their future. And, with an average of 60% of voyagers receiving some form of aid and scholarships each voyage, we aim to make sailing with us as attainable as possible.

Important Financial Aid Dates To Keep in Mind


Fall ’24 Semester

Spring ’25 Semester

Application Opens

February 5, 2024

July 8, 2024

Application Deadline

April 26, 2024

September 19, 2024

Announcement Date

May 6, 2024

September 30, 2024





Have you already paid your deposit & ready to apply for aid?


60% of Voyagers Receive Some Form of Financial Aid

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 financial aid office 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.

Quick links

Financial Aid
Scholarships & Grants
Program Cost

SAS Costs Include:

  • Semester’s tuition (up to 15 semester credits) and travel
  • Housing, meals, and amenities
  • Academic Field Classes
  • Email account
  • Starter Internet package
  • Comprehensive travel health insurance
  • Pre-Voyage advisement and on-site residential student services staff
  • Fuel fee — subject to change depending on global cost fluctuations

Cost Calculator

Get an estimate of how much your Semester at Sea voyage will cost sent directly to your inbox.

Disclaimer: The calculator provides an estimate of total program fees. Tuition and cabin fees are subject to change. Additional scholarships and grants are also available.

Funding Options

Discover Financial Aid Options to Put the Voyage of a Lifetime Within Reach

Each semester, ISE and SAS offer scholarships, need-based grants, and merit grants to make it possible for more students to set sail and join our living and learning community. Even students who don’t receive financial aid at their home colleges or universities may qualify for funding assistance through Semester at Sea.

School-Specific Grants and Scholarships

Aid is awarded based on need and merit. Special scholarships and grants are also available to those who qualify. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis while aid is available, so apply early! You may apply after you’ve been accepted to the program and have placed your deposit. Please allow two weeks for review. Applications will formally close one month before voyage embarkation unless otherwise noted.

When I first got accepted to SAS the first thing I thought of was how I going to pay for this journey? I didn’t have my parent’s financial help, which I know many other students did but I was determined to find a way. I was one of very few students who 1) were able to pay for it completely themselves and 2) didn’t take out any loans. What I loved about the SAS financial aid application was how they included a comments section. This allowed me to express that I was paying for everything myself and my parents income should not be taken into consideration for how much aid I received. It was a success, Semester at Sea granted me $2,000 of financial aid!

I got TONS of scholarships, ranging from $250 – $8,000 that I pieced together like a beautiful money quilt. My entire voyage was paid for (not including excursions, those were out of pocket) in scholarships!

When I began to consider Semester at Sea, I did not think it was a possibility because of how much the program costs. I started to do research at my home institution to figure out ways to fund this opportunity and I found out about the Pell Grant Match! This is an opportunity for Pell Grant recipients to receive additional funds; it matches what a student would receive per semester at their institution by providing additional grant money to make this program accessible.
I knew that I would have about a fourth of the program covered if I secured a lower cabin rate, so I decided to make a deposit and secure my cabin early. Additionally, I recommend people take a look at the scholarships that are online and speak with their home institution to see if there are any university-specific scholarships or grants available.

To fund my voyage, I challenged myself to be conscious of my purchasing habits beginning a year before we would set sail. I kept a finance journal, writing down my work paychecks and my purchases every week as well as reflecting every day if each purchase was necessary. Should I get that coffee? How about that shirt? I reminded myself that with the voyage ahead, I’d rather put my savings towards a trip to the Taj Mahal or a tour in Spain, and with those thoughts in mind, it became easier to cut back on my purchases. My savings quickly added up over the year, and all the experiences I put my savings towards on Semester at Sea were by far my favorite memories; experiences I will never forget.

Semester at sea changed my life! The whole experience felt like a dream come true and I still have a hard time believing I was apart of such a wonderful program! I met the most amazing people on my voyage and two of my best friends who I still keep in touch with! If you are worried about cost, Semester at Sea has their own scholarships you can apply for and the pell grant match! Check with your home college as well to see if their scholarships can be applied towards the program. Semester at Sea is possible for students who come from a low income background!

Frequently Asked Questions

Everything you need to know about financial aid 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.

Ready to Set Sail?

Take the first step on the journey of a lifetime.