The GESI team strives to help students find ways to finance this program–be it through GESI Summer scholarships for qualifying Northwestern students, external scholarship awards, or funding through students’ home institutions. Read below for various options for NU and non-NU students to consider, external scholarship links, and fundraising ideas.

Financial Aid Details

  • Northwestern Students
  • Non-Northwestern Students

Check out this extremely useful billing outline put together by the Financial Aid office. If you still have questions or don't find what you're looking for, get in touch with Krista Buda Bethel, Manager of Study Abroad Financial Services

NU undergraduate students, including current seniors, with demonstrated financial need will be considered for GESI summer scholarships if they do not receive summer study abroad funding from the Financial Aid Office. GESI also works with the Northwestern Financial Aid Office to help provide loans for students if GESI scholarships do not meet a student’s full need. Neither the GESI scholarships nor partial loans would count toward a student’s 12 quarters of financial aid. See the Summer Session page to learn more. Read more about scholarship deadlines.

GESI scholarships exist so that qualified Northwestern undergraduate students have the opportunity to gain international and community development experience, regardless of financial constraints. Learn more about the three types of scholarships that are available to qualified Northwestern students for GESI Summer:

  • Bonnie and Mike Daniels Scholars: Up to 15 scholarships that cover full tuition and other costs, and are based on financial need, community engagement, and interview/application quality.
  • Buffett Institute GESI Scholarships: Award amounts vary and are based on financial need, community engagement, and interview/application quality.
  • Efrusy Family Scholars Fund: Scholarships are awarded to those studying abroad with GESI to a sub-Saharan African location in varying amounts based on financial need, community engagement, and interview/application quality.

Students should check with their own home Financial Aid offices to determine their eligibility for Financial Aid. We encourage students to begin these conversations as early as possible, and we are happy to supply any documentation or written materials needed. In the past, some students have used their GESI course credit to allow them to graduate early or be part-time students during the final quarter/semester at their home institution. A number of past GESI students have received external scholarship funding. See the listing of External Scholarship Opportunities in the Fundraising Toolkit. If you would like to speak with GESI staff about any of the above options or other ways to make GESI affordable, we are here to help! Please contact us.

Fundraising Toolkit

Whether you are a Northwestern or Non-Northwestern student, fundraising can be a helpful part of financing GESI. Past GESI participants have successfully fundraised to cover all or part of the program costs. See the GESI Fundraising Toolkit for strategies, ideas, and tips for successfully fundraising to cover your program costs.

External Funding Opportunities

Students should refer to the following websites and databases for a variety of funding opportunities. Deadlines come quickly. If you know you need to apply to scholarships, we encourage you to check scholarship deadlines ASAP. Please be sure to verify the deadlines and eligibility on each scholarship’s individual website, since these are subject to change.

GESI Scholarships

Any Northwestern student who is eligible for financial aid is eligible for a GESI Summer scholarship. To be considered, simply upload a current copy of your financial aid award letter and complete the financial aid release confirmation. All GESI scholarships are based on level of need and quality of application.

Three types of scholarships are available to Northwestern students through the GESI office; we offer a number of full and partial tuition scholarships.

Bonnie and Mike Daniels GESI Scholars Fund

Thanks to the generous contributions of Bonnie and Mike Daniels, the Buffett Institute is pleased to be awarding up to 15 scholarships that will cover full tuition and other program costs. These full scholarships will play a significant role in allowing for the participation of a more economically diverse community of students in the Global Engagement Studies Institute (GESI).  One of the Buffett Institute’s continuing goals is to increase access to opportunities for all students to participate in GESI’s unique model for engaged learning abroad.

Bonnie and Mike Daniels are both NU alumni (Bonnie – WCAS’69 / Mike - Comm'68 WCAS'69). Bonnie is an NU trustee and chair of the Weinberg College of Arts and Science Board of Visitors. Bonnie is the Director of Management Systems International, an international management consulting firm, where she works primarily on activities sponsored by the World Bank, United Nations and the U.S. Agency for International Development. Mike is a Consultant for Science Applications International Corporation, a US company that provides government services and information technology support.

Buffett Institute GESI Scholarships

Roberta Buffett Elliott’s continued support for undergraduate global engagement allows the Buffett Institute for Global Studies to offer significant need-based scholarships for eligible Northwestern undergraduates participating in the Global Engagement Studies Institute (GESI) during the summer. The amount of each need-based scholarship varies, and is dependent upon the demonstrated financial need of each applicant. Roberta Buffett Elliott's desire to increase the amount of opportunities available for undergraduates to expand their understanding of the world is demonstrated through her generous contributions.

Efrusy Family Scholars Fund

The Efrusy Family Foundation has generously provided financial aid for undergraduate students to travel to GESI sites in sub-Saharan Africa - exemplifying the family’s strong commitment to rigorous academic training, leadership development, and community-driven change. The Efrusy Scholars cohort will have the opportunity to work closely with each other throughout the program to understand the factors specific to international development in sub-Saharan Africa, as well as work through common challenges in community-based development with other GESI participants.