Financing Study Abroad

coin from different countries

The cost of a study abroad is normally the primary concern of Fresno State students. Programs can vary widely in cost, depending on the type of program, inclusions in the program (excursions, meal stipends, housing, etc.), length of stay, and destination. When considering cost, it is important to remember a few things:

Meet with someone at SAIE to discuss ways to make studying abroad more affordable.

Tips for making study abroad more affordable:

  • Determine the financial aid eligibility of a program. Some students are shocked to lean that once financial aid is taken into consideration, studying abroad for a semester is less money out of pocket than a summer program. Financial aid for the summer is evaluated very differently than it is for the semester, which means it is possible that a students who receives a large financial aid award package in the semester, would not receive any financial aid in the summer. While this is not always the case, choosing a program that will accept Fresno State financial aid is key in making a program more affordable.
  • Research the scholarships available for different programs. Scholarships are a great way to help offset the cost of studying abroad. Each scholarship will be slightly different in terms of eligibility requirements and application process. While researching study abroad programs, look to see if there are any scholarships specific to the program. Also keep in mind that scholarship deadlines are typically before program application deadlines, so if you wait too long to apply, there may not be any scholarships to apply for.
  • Look at studying abroad in a non-traditional location. One of the biggest expenses in studying abroad is housing costs. Just like in the United States, some locations have higher housing costs than others, just look at Fresno compared to San Francisco. Most major cities have major price tags to match, consider exploring smaller cities or different countries with a lower cost of living.  
  • Don’t forget about exchange rates and purchasing power. Everyday expenses while abroad can add up. When planning the cost of a study abroad program, keep in mind exchange rates and the purchasing power of the currency. For example, 1 USD is roughly equal to 1050 KRW (Korean Won), which sounds like a lot, but it is important also consider what 1050 KRW will buy, an average meal for a student will run 3,000-5,000 KRW. The Big Mac Index is also a fun tool when looking into purchasing power, the cost of a Big Mac in Norway is $6.30 but in China is only $2.77. 

  • Choose a program that offers courses that lead to on time graduation. The key factor to remember in study abroad is study. Choosing a program that offers courses that keep students on track for graduation will eliminate the need for extra semesters later. This will save money on tuition, books, supplies and living expenses in the long run.