Tuition and Financial Aid

Program Cost

International Relations Online students are charged tuition on a per credit hour basis. For all International Relations Online students in either the Master of Arts in International Relations or the Executive Master of International Relations, tuition is $1,946 per credit hour for the fall 2018, spring 2019, and summer 2019 terms.

The number of credits varies by program:

Tuition Rates
Program Required Credit Hours
MAIR 36-39 credit hours
MIS 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 cost of attendance 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
    Graduate students are ineligible for the Subsidized Stafford Loan as well as any federal or institutional grant funding.

    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 in the National Student Loan Database System (NSLDS).

    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 Stafford Loan history at the National Student Loan Database System.
  • 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

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.

Scholarships and Fellowships

National Peace Corps Association Scholarship

The School of International Service at American University partners with the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) to bring NPCA members — who are also Returned Peace Corps Volunteers — the opportunity to receive up to $17,500 when they enroll in International Relations Online. For more information about this scholarship opportunity, please contact an Admissions Counselor.

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.

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