Planning a school trip abroad means a lot of responsibility, not only to find the right tour to the perfect place with the appropriate goals but also to make sure it is affordable and available to all of your students.
Sometimes that means finding other ways to fund the trip, besides the student’s parents having to pay for it. In this article, we’ll outline useful resources to help you find educational travel grants and scholarships.
We at Costa Rica Explorations understand the importance of this matter, and that is why we try to keep our trips as affordable as possible without sacrificing quality, safety, and real learning experiences.
But besides that, here are some alternative funding ideas for you as a teacher or a concerned parent, to make the school trip a reality.
What is a Student Travel Grant?
A student travel grant is a sum of money given to the student, teacher, or educational program to cover part, or the total, of a national or international educational trip. There are many different grant programs, but they all have particular characteristics, so only a few of those many grants will likely apply to the educational trip abroad you are planning.
Therefore, you must take the time to find and to study as many grants and funds as possible until you find the one that fits you the best, and consequently, you have a better chance of winning.
The first step in finding those grants is visiting pages like Grant Watch, Grants.gov, Foundation Directory Online, or GrantForward.com. These are specialized database pages for finding, summarizing, and calendarizing grants offered in the US. Take the time to make an advanced search for grants that fit your needs, including not only the kind of trip you are planning but also the part of the US that you come from and the students’ age.
What Grants Are Available for Teachers?
One option to reduce the cost of your school trip is by covering the trip cost of the teacher or companion that will accompany the group.
It might be hard to find a grant specifically designed to cover the travel cost of a teacher accompanying an educational student trip; that is why you should consider opening your fundraising platform.
If you come from a public school, a very successful platform for creating your own funding campaign is DonorsChoose.org. Here, teachers are the ones requesting for all kinds of help with their classroom projects, but the organization collects the money and then makes the necessary purchases to ensure transparency using the funds. They also help projects by finding more significant donors that might want to help.
Now, if you prefer to be directly in charge of the process, you can also use platforms like GoFundMe.Com or Ketto.org. The difference between these kinds of fundraising platforms is that you will find all sorts of projects from all over the world. Fundraising campaigns can vary from buying an ambulance for a remote part of a country in Asia to helping a Costa Rican raise money for his college tuition. Therefore, the success of your fundraising campaign will be all on you and how much you can promote your campaign.
Another great source of funds is reaching out to private donors in your community. Please take a good look at companies and businesses around your school and knock on their door. Not everybody is capable of donating a significant sum of money, but if you can find a handful of companies willing to help, you can find yourself very close to reaching your goal with less struggle.
And since we are at it, look for other fresh opportunities for your growth as a teacher, we know that will reflect in the quality of learning of your students. Take the time to browse websites like teach.com, where they list a few grants for teachers, or neamb.com, where they list specific grants for traveling.
What Grants Are Available for Students?
As a parent or educator organizing an educational student trip abroad, you might be in the search for a fund that will help cover the cost of one student that can’t afford the trip, or maybe you want funds to reduce the cost of the trip for the entire group. Either way, asking for financial support for your students tends to be a little bit easier.
Also, reaching out to your community is very important, not only to reach your goal through one of the fundraiser campaigns but, most importantly, to find a direct sponsor among business and individual patrons.
One more source of sponsorship for your student or group of students is local foundations and service clubs like the Rotary International or the SYTA Youth Foundation. Many of these organizations will sponsor students to travel abroad on a learning program.
When Should I Apply for a Travel Grant?
Every single grant has its application period and deadline. We highly suggest that you start looking for grants or creating your fundraiser campaign at least one year before your student educational trip. The more time you allow yourself to get the necessary funds, the more chances you will have to be successful.
What is the Process to Apply for a Travel Grant?
Every grant has its specific application process.
To start on the right foot, you should be very aware of the application’s reception period and do your best to meet that deadline. Then, give yourself enough time to correctly fill the application forms and to find the documentation they might need.
As you are preparing your application, learn as much as you can about the grant. Not only about the granter, and it’s mission as sponsors, but search for profiles of previous grantees.
Take the time to reflect on why you are asking for sponsorship and why you deserve it. Write a compelling but not too long essay about it; this will help you be very aware of what you are asking. But at the same time, many grant applications already ask for an essay or ask questions that you probably have answered on that essay.
Once you have sent all the applications, it is time to wait for the results, and cross your fingers!
What Kind of Educational Trips Receive More Grants?
Many times, sponsors or granters will prefer to choose a grant candidate or project that will not only benefit the person or group that will receive the financial aid, but that will also have a more significant impact through the voluntary service of the grantees. This kind of service is especially important when the trip is abroad since it can help create positive relationships between countries and cultures.
That is why at Costa Rica Explorations, we always encourage including a community service project among your educational trip activities, even if it’s only for one day.
Let us help you plan your trip, and we will help you design a program that will also be appealing and compelling for possible donors and grants. Remember, your educational student trip to Costa Rica can be about Spanish immersion or cultural immersion with a focus on service learning or environmental sustainability or to allow your students to see the world beyond their community at a young age (like a middle-school travel program).
Participating in an international educational program as a middle school, high school, or university student can be a life-changing experience as it opens young minds to a new perspective of their world. Taking the time to seek out travel grants in order to make this experience available is worth the effort!
One last word…
We hope that this post was a good source of ideas for how to get student travel grants for school trips to international destinations like Costa Rica. Whether you are a teacher or a parent, always consider getting some kind of funding that will help make the student’s experience as good as possible.
While you look for those opportunities, besides applying for official grants, never underestimate the power of running your own fundraising campaign and knocking the doors of those around your school and your students.
We wish you successful fundraising and hope to hear from you to let us help you plan the perfect School Educational Trip to Costa Rica.
Contact Us to Plan a School Educational Trip to Costa Rica
Mónica Quesada is an award-winning photojournalist from Costa Rica who loves to show off her country! That is why she has also worked as a photography tour leader since 2007 and she has been the leader of volunteering programs since a very young age. You can see her work at www.mqcphoto.com.