Affording Study Abroad
The following information is designed to help students consider the financial aspects of studying abroad and develop a strategy for choosing a program that fits with their budget/financial resources.
- Compare CU costs to study abroad costs
- Choose a program that fits your budget!
- Consider exchange programs.
- Apply to all scholarships for which you are eligible!
- Consider short-term study abroad programs carefully.
- Apply for, and use State/Federal Financial Aid.
- Plan ahead, work and save!
Video Blog: Finding and Getting Scholarships for Study Abroad
Peter DeBiase, CIEE Tokyo Summer 2010
The posted costs for CU Study Abroad Programs are very comprehensive, including much more than just tuition and living costs. To compare your CU costs to study abroad costs, you need to know your comprehensive cost for a semester or year at CU. See below for estimates.
|CU cost (resident)||CU cost (non-resident)||San Jose, Costa Rica||Prague, Czech Republic||Semester at Sea|
|Total cost per semester||~ $12,500||~ $24,000||$13,787||$16,116||$36,323|
Above costs include tuition/fees, room & board, books, health insurance, personal expenses, communication costs, transportation (incl. airfare for study abroad) and more. The CU costs were taken from the Financial Aid webpage at www.colorado.edu/finaid/budgetexamples.html
This is THE most important way to make study abroad a reality for you. The cost of studying abroad really varies from program to program. Don’t ignore cost when making your decision! Talk to a Study Abroad Advisor to ensure that you have explored all of the possible program options, and remember that there is NOT a direct correlation between the cost of a program and the quality of your experience abroad.
Avoiding bigger cities can also help save thousands of dollars in some cases. While the biggest or most well-known city may seem like the most exciting choice to you, living elsewhere can save a lot of money and will still provide ample opportunities for social and cultural activities. Plus, with the money you save, you can still spend time in any larger cities that attract you.
|Larger cities||Mid-sized Cities|
|Paris = $26,998||Rennes, France= $23,029|
|Barcelona = $17,223||Salamanca, Spain = $15,677|
|London = $20,772||Norwich, England = $16,219|
|Buenos Aires = $17,514||Valparaiso, Chile = $15,607|
|Sydney = $27,798||Wollongong, Australia = $19,296|
|Tokyo, Japan = $31,453||Akita, Japan = $15,581|
You may also wish to consider a program in a non-traditional location (such as Latin America, Africa or Asia), as these locations often have lower costs of living that can decrease the overall program cost.
On exchange programs a CU-Boulder student pays the equivalent of CU-Boulder in-state tuition, saving you a size-able amount in instructional costs compared to many other programs. See the table below for examples of countries/regions where exchange programs can help you save!
|Country/region||Exchange program||Non-exchange program|
|England||$15,089||$19,917 - $30,742|
|Scandinavia||$15,425 (Sweden)||$26,104 (Denmark)|
|Middle East/N. Africa||$15,965 (Egypt)||$20,298 (Morocco)|
Admission as an exchange recipient can be competitive for certain programs. Talk to a CU Study Abroad Advisor to learn more about how exchange programs work, and the available opportunities around the world. Exchange program applicants should ALWAYS apply for a CU-Boulder scholarship if they hope to be seriously considered for an exchange position.
Consult the Scholarships webpage for more comprehensive information about scholarship opportunities. Apply for as many scholarships as possible, don't miss deadlines and follow scholarship instructions carefully!
Summer study abroad programs may provide a more affordable option for some students since they cost less overall. However, long-term programs often provide more value per dollar spent, because you typically earn more credit hours on semester or year-long programs (see calculation below). Also, students often have less state/federal aid available for summer terms. Please see additional considerations below.
Consider the cost per credit-hour and cost per week:
In this scenario above, going for a semester is more economical in terms of cost per credit hour and per week.
Calculate the cost of a summer abroad on top of a regular semester in Boulder, and compare that to the cost of a semester abroad. Studying abroad for a summer can sometimes exceed the cost of a semester abroad when added to the cost of a typical semester at CU. See the table below for an example:
Note that this scenario may not always ring true. Simply keep this scenario in mind when considering summer programs, and be sure to calculate this for yourself.
- Consider whether you rely upon a summer job to save money for the school year, and how studying abroad for a summer may impact your earnings. While you may also work during the regular school year, students typically work many more hours during the summer months and heavily rely upon summer earnings for the remainder of the year.
- Consider whether you will have any remaining financial aid to use for summer. The summer term at CU-Boulder is considered the last term of the year. What that means for you is that if you use all your financial aid eligibility during the academic year (the previous Fall & Spring), you will not have any eligibility left for summer. See the Financial Aid webpage for more information about how this works.
- Understand that there can be fewer scholarships available for summer study abroad. Some scholarships for study abroad exclude summer programs. Research your scholarship opportunities ahead of time to know if/how this may affect you.
If you currently receive institutional/state/federal financial aid, you can apply your aid to the cost of your study abroad program. If you don't currently receive State/Federal financial aid, we encourage you to apply. Most students will at least qualify for some type of loan, which can help you fund your study abroad experience or serve as a back-up source of funding. You can find additional information about using Financial Aid on the Financial Aid web page.
- Start saving now! Open a savings account and put aside part of your pay checks and start saving birthday/holiday money. Consider getting a part-time job during the school year, or increasing the hours you already work. Even working 5-7 hours per week will add up, and will still allow you time to focus on your studies. Small amounts will add up over time!
- Begin talking to your parents or other family members about what type of support they may be able to provide. Don't assume/hope that the finances will "work out" in the end.
- Conduct some preliminary research on your program choices, and pay attention to program pre-requisites. A less expensive program can sometimes have pre-requisites such as a higher GPA or language pre-requisite. If so, start planning to meet any pre-requisites. The more choices you have, the more likely you will be able to choose an affordable program.
- Compile a list of sacrifices you could make, and choose one or two to implement. Some students make large sacrifices such as living at home or selling possessions. However, small sacrifices can add up as well. Consider making coffee instead of buying it each day - this could add up to hundreds of dollars per year! Make a list of such ideas, and commit to one or two.
- If you hope to study abroad in the summer and use your Financial Aid, be sure to talk to the Financial Aid office about saving some of your grant/loan money for the summer term. For more information about financial aid and summer programs, scroll down to view the comprehensive information about Financial Aid and study abroad.
- Pay attention to scholarship deadline – many are much earlier than your program application deadline. For more information, please visit the Study Abroad Scholarships page