The College

Travel Pilot Program

In fall 2020, Brown University launched the Travel Pilot Program to replace the $1500 travel allowance and provide aided undergraduate international students on F-1 visa with comprehensive and inclusive travel support. 

Under the Travel Pilot Program, Brown will issue one round-trip, direct-purchase plane ticket from a student’s country of permanent residency to Boston/Providence. Students are eligible for one round-trip ticket per academic year.

For inquiries regarding the Travel Pilot Program, email

    In response to recommendations from the International Student Advisory Board, Provost Locke charged (letter dated November 12, 2019) convened the International Student Working Group to discuss some of the challenges related to the travel support program that international students had brought to the attention of the College, Admission, Financial Aid, Office of International Students and Scholar Services, Student Financial Services and others, and to propose a set of relevant recommendations.  

    The Working Group focused on two primary issues: 

    • Aided international undergraduate students travel to and from Brown.
    • The excess scholarship tax our high financial need international undergraduate students are required to pay.


    On May 26, 2020, the International Student Working Group made the following recommendations to Provost Locke which were approved. 

    • Introduce a pilot program for direct and advance Brown-purchased airfare in AY20-21 for first-year aided international undergraduate students.  The pilot program will allow Brown to purchase, and pay for upfront, roundtrip airfare for aided international students to travel to campus for the beginning of the academic year, therefore, eliminating the $1500 allowance for travel provided in the cost of attendance.  Like the BCMS pilot, the charge would be placed on the student account and then immediately would be covered by financial aid funding. This direct and advance ticket purchase by Brown also means students would not incur excess scholarship tax obligation that often results from reimbursing the students for their tickets. 
    • Expand the International Travel Pilot to all aided international students for the 2020-21 academic year.  In light of the potential challenges due to COVID-19 (travel complexity, academic operational changes, impact on summer earnings, etc.), not only will this help relieve stress and anxiety of arriving on campus but also, it will reduce the student's overall expense incurred from the excess scholarship tax.  This would include approximately 125-129 aided international students.  Although it is difficult to estimate the total cost of purchasing airfare for students versus providing the $1500 allowance, we do not anticipate spending much more than the allowance included in the Cost of Attendance.

    Implementation Timeline

    • November 12, 2019: Provost Locke convenes the International Student Working Group.
    • May 26, 2020: The International Student Working Group makes recommendations for a pilot travel program for first-year aided international undergraduate students, and an expanded travel pilot for returning aided international students for AY20-21.
    • July 9, 2020: The Travel Pilot is launched and The Office of Financial Aid announces travel support to all aided international undergraduate students for AY20-21.

    More information about the implementation of the Travel Pilot Program can be found in this document.

    All aided undergraduate international students on F-1 visa are eligible for the travel pilot program. Eligible students are able to use 1 round-trip ticket to their permanent residence per academic year cycle. Eligible aided international undergraduate students who are interested in travel support for the winter break may be eligible for the Travel Pilot Program too. If you are considering travel during any time, you are responsible for reviewing the Academic Calendar as well as the University’s Health and Safety Guidelines and selecting your travel dates. Please note if students request travel assistance to/from study abroad locations, they are not eligible. We ask that you schedule an advising appointment to discuss your travel plans and needs.

    In advance of the scheduled advising appointment, please be ready with the following:

    1. Your travel departure and return dates. We ask that you first carefully review the Academic Calendar when considering your travel arrangements; you are responsible for indicating your travel arrival and departure dates based on residential housing policies, academic calendar and final exams. No flight change fees due to calendar or scheduled conflicts will be reimbursed, or funded (see FAQ).
    2. A scanned copy of the passport that you will be using to travel from and to the U.S. and your I-20.

    For more information on the Travel Pilot Program for Aided International Students, please consult the Travel Pilot FAQ or email if you believe you're eligible as an undergraduate F-1 student with financial aid.

    FCM will keep to around $1500 per ticket, if possible, while considering and minimizing excessive and unreasonable transits, travel times, etc.:

    • Students will be ticketed to/from their country of residency. Students may be ticketed for the reverse route (i.e. U.S. to home country and back). If there are travel restrictions or unavailable travel options, please consult with Brown University.
    • Allowable charges:
      • Checked luggage if included in the price of the ticket
      • Economy seating
      • Round trip airfare
    • Not-allowable charges:
      • Ticket change fees
      • Seat changes or upgrades
      • Excess luggage
      • Date changes except for airline cancellation & any related COVID-19 travel bans and closures. All exceptions must be pre-approved by Chia-Ying & team.
      • Transit expenses (i.e. Amtrak from Boston)
      • Hotel expenses
      • Transit visas
      • Meal support

    Please note that the Travel Pilot Program eligibility is based per academic year on Financial Aid. The program may be subject to changes based on various advising cycles, the academic/residential calendars, and more.