Tuition and Financial Aid

Program Cost

International Relations Online students are charged tuition on a per credit hour basis. For all International Relations Online programs, tuition is $2,160 per credit hour for the Fall 2023, Spring 2024, and Summer 2024 semesters.

The number of credits varies by program:

ProgramRequired Credit Hours
36-39 credit hours
24-30 credit hours

Please note, tuition rate is subject to change each academic year and tuition changes are applicable to all enrolled students. Immersion experiences will have an associated program fee.

More information about tuition and fees can be found here.

Financial Aid

There are three semesters for the SIS online programs (summer, fall and spring). If you are enrolled in an immersion program and consider changing coursework (dropping) during that semester, please contact our office so we can discuss impacts to your federal aid eligibility. If you will be taking summer course work and would like to use federal aid, please be sure to have a valid FAFSA on file.

Graduate students enrolled at least half time in a master’s or PhD program may be eligible for federal loans and/or federal work study. Graduate students enrolled in online programs are ineligible for federal work study.

To apply, students must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA will be reviewed on a rolling basis as it is received. It is recommended that the FAFSA be completed by May 1 each academic year. FAFSAs should be submitted no later than 30 days prior to the end of the academic semester in which you are enrolled at least half time.

  • Merit scholarships are awarded by the academic departments.
    The Financial Aid Office does not administer these awards. Please visit your school’s merit scholarship web page or contact their admissions office for further information.
  • Complete your FAFSA online.
    Be sure to list the American University (AU) FAFSA code, 001434, in the college release section. (A limited supply of paper FAFSA forms is available from the AU Financial Aid Office, if you prefer.)
  • Awarding Timeline
    Continuing students will receive their notification letters via the student portal in late June after spring grades have been received and reviewed. Missing grades may delay the arrival of your award letter.
  • Additional Forms
    You may be asked to download and complete a Verification Worksheet or other documentation as needed to complete your aid application. Do not complete these forms unless asked to do so by the Office of Financial Aid.
  • Loan Eligibility
    Typically, graduate students are eligible for $10,250 per semester in Unsubsidized Stafford Loans as long as they are enrolled at least half time. Half time is defined as 5 credits for fall and 5 credits for spring. If your program has a summer semester, 2 credits is considered half time. Eligibility for the unsubsidized loan is determined based on information on the FAFSA as well as loan history found once logged in on the federal student aid website.

    Please note that graduate students may not borrow more than $138,500 in Stafford Loans throughout the entirety of their academic careers. You may view your Direct Loan history on the student federal student aid website.
  • Loan Requirements
    In order for your loan to pay, you must accept the loan through the myAU portal. Complete The Master Promissory Note (MPN) and Entrance Counseling on the federal website after accepting the loan. Please use your FSA ID and password to access the site and complete the required paperwork.
  • Grad PLUS Loan
    Graduate students may be eligible for the Graduate PLUS loan to assist in defraying additional educational expenses not covered by the Stafford Loans. The Grad PLUS loan is a credit-based loan from Direct Loans and requires an additional MPN, if approved. Learn more about this loan or apply. If approved by the lender, graduate students are eligible for up to the total cost of attendance minus all other aid received. In order for the PLUS loan to pay, you must complete both the Master Promissory Note (MPN) and Entrance Counseling for this loan. Be sure to complete the correct documents on the lender website as there will be options for both the unsubsidized loan and the Graduate PLUS loan.
  • Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)
    SAP is run at the end of your program’s spring semester. For most students this will occur at the end of April/early May after all spring grades are reported. Our office will conduct a review, and awards for the following academic year will reflect a student’s SAP standing. Graduate students must maintain a cumulative GPA of a 3.0, complete 2/3rds of attempted cumulative course work, and complete the degree program within the maximum time frame as defined in the AU Academic regulations. Please carefully read our complete SAP policy for additional information and questions.

More information on applying for federal loans can be found on our Graduate Students webpage.


We are pleased to inform you that qualified applicants to the upcoming cohort are eligible for scholarships up to $15k. Once you begin the application process, your admissions counselor will provide you with further information.

Request Information

Aid for International Students

Eligibility for federal and university need-based aid is limited to U.S. citizens, U.S. permanent residents, and eligible non-citizens who are currently living within the United States for purposes other than studying.

You may wish to research additional sources of financial assistance. Useful resources include:

Please note that International Students in online degree programs are not eligible to participate in the U.S. Student Visa process.

Tuition Payment Plan

American University offers the American Payment Plan (APP) to students in the fall and spring terms as an alternative to paying your bill in full at the start of each term. Learn more about APP here.

Tax Benefits for Education

For information regarding 1098T Tax Forms and Tax Benefits for Education, please visit the information links listed below.

*A student is considered full-time with a course load of at least 18 credit hours per year including Summer semester.

Request More Information