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How To Plan for the Cost of Study Abroad

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The cost of studying abroad can be similar to the cost of attending your home college or university -- or it can be vastly different. Learn what hidden costs to look out for before you decide if study abroad is right for you.
Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: Minimum

Here's How:

  1. Consider tuition and program fees. Depending on the agreement between your school and your host institution, you may need to pay more (or less!) tuition and/or fees. Additionally, any change in your tuition costs may change your financial aid, so having a good understanding of how your basic tuition and fees will be covered is crucial.
  2. Consider the cost of living. Your host country may be much, much cheaper than where your home institution is. Or it may be much, much more expensive. Explore what options you have about living on or off your host campus and figure out which one best fits within your budget.
  3. Consider your employment options. Do you have a work award, a work study, or an on-campus job at your home institution? If so, you'll need to have something similar at your host campus if you still want to stay within your usual budget. Keep in mind, too, that you may or may not be eligible to work in your host country, depending on (student) worker laws and policies.
  4. Consider travel costs. Taking a quick flight home for the holidays may not be possible once you're abroad. The trip home you've done every other year you've been in college may not happen this year if you don't budget accordingly. Keep any travel costs -- both major and minor -- in mind when setting your study abroad budget.
  5. Consider "new place" costs. Sit for a moment and think about the costs you'll incur when you go to a "new place." Will you need a different cell phone plan? Different cell phone all together? Will you have to pay to ship your items when you're used to just driving them to campus each year? Will you need electronic adapters for your laptop and other electronics?
  6. Consider your financial aid eligibility when you return. Your host institution may count things differently, meaning you may be several credits short of being considered a full-time student when you return to your home campus. This may seem minor until you can work everything out with the registrar, but in the meantime, you might lose some of your financial aid eligibility.
  7. Consider trips while on the program. You probably aren't going abroad just so you can stay in your room and study the entire time. Make sure you can enjoy all that your host country has to offer by having funds available for day trips and other excursions that you'll want to take while studying abroad.
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