How Much Does it Cost to Study Abroad?

Instructor: Adam Nystrom

Adam owns a Master's degree in Professional and Digital Media Writing. During his time as a graduate assistant, he developed lesson plans for upper-level English courses.

Studying in a foreign land is an incredibly exciting opportunity, but it will not come cheap. Keep reading to find out how much travel abroad will set you back and learn about some resources that can help you finance your trip.

What Are Some Common Study Abroad Expenses?

Some of the most common expenses associated with study in a foreign country are outlined below. These will vary depending on where you go and the duration of your trip. Some schools offer summer or semester-long programs, while others allow you to stay overseas for an entire school year.


Airfare can vary widely depending on your origin and destination. For example, the University of Texas at Austin estimates that a round trip ticket to participate in its exchange program with University College London costs about $1,200. Airfare for a program in Mexico City, on the other hand, could cost as little as $500, while a trip to Australia could set you back over $2,000.

Passports and Visas

If this is your first time leaving the country, you will need to fork over $140 for your new passport, along with an additional $25 execution fee.

Every country has different visa policies, so you'll need to check the U.S. State Department website to learn about visa costs and requirements to enter the country (or countries) where your program will be held. In some cases, a visa isn't necessary. If it is, UT - Austin estimates this expense could run you between $100 and $300.

Tuition and Fees

Check with the sponsoring university to see how your academic costs will stack up. As an example, the University of Iowa's international program charges a flat study abroad fee along with 17% of their normal tuition rate per credit hour of classes. Furthermore, many schools require students to pay for insurance coverage while traveling internationally.

Room and Board

Some schools include room and board in their program fees. If you have to pay for housing separately, expect to spend between $3,000 and $4,000 a semester if you choose to travel to Europe. Housing in other locations, such as those in South America, could cost around $2,000 per semester.

Your access to meals and groceries can also vary greatly. A few programs include meal plans in their fees. Students responsible for covering their own food costs, however, could spend from $500 to $3,000 per academic year, according to New York University.

How Can I Save Money?

Many schools offer scholarships to help students pay for study abroad programs. You can also defray travel expenses by incorporating study abroad into the cost of attendance you report on the FAFSA.

Fortunately, has courses to help you explore these sources of financial aid. Take a look at the following options:

These courses include short video lessons and quizzes to make sure you understand your options as well as the ins and outs of the financial aid application process.

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