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Non-local Study Fund


At the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, we believe that an all-rounded education goes beyond academic knowledge and skills. In this rapidly changing environment, it is also important that students have a good understanding of the world and can function in environments that are different from where they come from.

For this purpose, the University has planned that by AY 2027/28, every undergraduate student will have a non-local study opportunity, half of which will achieve through Service-Learning (SL) programmes, and 10% of which will achieve through Cluster-Area Requirements (CAR) subjects. To support students in these non-local learning experiences, the University will provide financial support of up to HK$10,000 per student to cover the related expenses of taking their non-local CAR and/or SL subjects.


Who is covered and what is covered?

All degree-seeking full-time undergraduate students in UGC-funded programmes leading to PolyU awards will be covered by this study fund. The study fund will cover student travel expenses such as

  • airfare,
  • room and board,
  • transportation,
  • enrichment experiences (e.g. museum admissions),
  • travel medicine and vaccine,
  • visa, and
  • other relevant travel and subject expenses.

How can I obtain the study fund?

The study fund will be automatically applied towards the travel expenses of students taking their non-local CAR or SL subjects, for a maximum of two non-local CAR and/or SL subjects. If the expenses incurred by the first non-local CAR or SL subject are less than HK$10,000, the remaining balance will be automatically applied to student’s second non-local CAR or SL subject.

Do I need to pay anything?

Upon registration of a non-local CAR or SL subject, students are required to pay an Outbound Activity Fee (OAF) to cover their expenses exceeding the HK$10,000 study fund.

The OAF is set according to the expenses that will be incurred and will vary across subjects. For example, let us say that Subject ABC has a 10-day SL project in Cambodia. The expenses, such as airfare, accommodation, transportation, travel medicine allowance and project equipment, are estimated to be $11,600. After deducting the HK$10,000 study fund, the OAF for this subject would be set at HK$1,600 per student.

Depending on the destination, duration and nature, the cost of each non-local CAR and SL subject can vary significantly. The final actual expenses for each student, even in the same subject, will most likely differ from the estimated expenses due to various reasons, such as fluctuation in airfare, visa requirement for different students, actual travel medicine expenses, and unexpected incidents during the trip etc. The amount of OAF for each subject will be announced on eStudent (under subject search) before the subject registration period. The unspent balance of the OAF, if any, will be refunded to students within three months of completion of the subject.

What happens if I take a second non-local CAR or SL subject?

In general, students may be required to pay a higher OAF since the remaining balance of their HK$10,000 study fund may not be sufficient to cover all the travel expenses of their second non-local CAR or SL subject. Students may want to seek financial support from other sources to cover the exceeding expenses. Some departments may have scholarships or additional funding available.

What if I withdraw from the registered non-local CAR or SL subject?

The University allows students, with approval from the subject leader and host department, to withdraw from registered subjects after the add/drop period and before the examination period with strong justifications. If a student withdraws from a non-local CAR or SL subject after non-refundable purchases have already been made on their behalf (e.g. air tickets and accommodation), these costs may be charged against their study fund. Special consideration may be given to students experiencing financial hardship with strong justifications.

May I use the study fund for other non-local learning experiences such as academic exchange or WIE?

No. The HK$10,000 study fund is designated for CAR and SL subjects ONLY. The University has provisioned funding for other types of non-local learning experiences. Please refer to GEO’s website on the Non-local Study Fund.

Have further questions?

Please contact the Office of Undergraduate Studies (for CAR subjects) at or the Service-Learning and Leadership Office (for SL subjects) at


More information for staff and teachers is available on the website Funding and Guidelines for Non-local CAR and SL.

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