Cost can be one of the most important factors to consider while researching programs. Be cognizant of location, transportation, program type, housing, and other factors during the planning process.
All programs will have an unofficial budget sheet showing the cost of the program for the past term. You can use these sheets to compare costs across different programs. These budgets are estimates and intended for planning purposes only. You will receive the official budget following acceptance into the program and prior to the commitment deadline. While effort is made to minimize cost increases from term to term, you may observe cost increases that are set by your host institution. For help understanding the budget, go to the Program Costs page.
Some countries have a higher cost of living than the U.S. Use a cost of living calculator to see the difference in cost on items you buy every day. This will give you a good indication if you need to budget more or less money than you need on campus. Bigger cities tend to cost more than smaller cities (i.e., it costs more to live in Chicago than Champaign).
Remember to set aside funds for transportation costs. The international flight to your destination may be anywhere from $800-$2000. Consider questions, such as:
- What transportation will you need to use within your host city?
- Can you walk between campus/home or will you have to use the subway, bus, or taxi?
- Will you want to do any personal travel on the weekends?
Research resources in your host city to get a better picture of how much to set aside for transportation costs.
Type of Program
The type of program you choose can effect the cost. Exchange programs tend to have the lowest cost, while provider programs tend to have a higher cost. However, provider programs often offer robust on-site services, resources, and experiential opportunities, and also tend offer additional scholarships to offset the higher program cost. Compare study abroad program types (PDF).
Most programs offer different housing options, which can impact program costs. Shared housing is often the lower cost option, while private housing is often the higher cost option. Also keep in mind that homestays and dorms may decrease your food expenses, as food is often included in the cost of housing.
When choosing classes to take abroad, be aware of additional course fees. These are most common in the courses with lab components, excursion/field trip fees, and internship/experiential opportunities.
Funding Your Study Abroad Program
The amount of financial aid applicable to study abroad will depend on your individual financial aid package. Consult with the Office of Student Financial Aid to discuss your financial aid package. Take a copy of a program budget (official or unofficial) to the financial aid office to see how much aid you may be eligible for.
There are university and national scholarships that can help offset the cost of your study abroad program. When planning your study abroad budget, it’s important to consider any scholarships you may receive. Visit the Scholarships page for funding opportunities.