Keep Study Abroad Affordable

With proper planning and a commitment to exploring funding resources, studying abroad can be affordable for any budget. There are many factors that influence choice in location and program; one important factor is cost.

Tips and Strategies to Help Fund Study Abroad 

Affordability is an important factor when selecting an education abroad program. The programs offered through Education Abroad (EA) vary in cost, depending on the features of the program, geographic location, length, inclusions in the program such as excursions and cultural activities, and the level of on-site support. The cost of studying abroad can be a deterrent for some students, but it doesn't have to be. Programs have varying cost structures and it is possible to find a program that will work in just about any budget by considering a variety of factors when researching programs.

Consider Program Duration and Location

Education abroad programs have varying cost structures. While short-term programs may appear to be cheaper at first glance, semester programs may actually provide more value for your money if you consider the per-day cost of going abroad. During semester programs students usually earn two to three times more credit and the cost is spread over a longer period of time in country.

Cost of living varies by location, region, and local currency exchange rates. Many large cities in Western Europe have high costs of living, while large cities in Latin America or Africa offer big-city experiences with lower costs of living.  To save money while studying abroad, consider a program in a non-traditional location or in a smaller city.

Review Various Program Types

Penn State Education Abroad offers many different program types with varying cost structures. Students studying on exchange programs are charged Penn State tuition and administrative fees; all other costs are paid separately and vary by location. Penn State offers an in-state tuition credit to out-of-state students studying abroad on IES, CIEE, and Arcadia programs; however, provider programs bill a program fee in addition to tuition. The program fee may include housing, some meals, on-site support, and other program features (e.g., field trips).  Go to the Education Abroad program search to learn more about the different types of study abroad programs.

Research Funding Opportunities

It is never too early to begin the process of funding your study abroad program. While you may not be able to begin applying for funding until you’ve chosen a program, the key to receiving financial aid or scholarship money is to know your options. Researching funding opportunities in advance may help you in selecting a program. For example, scholarships like the Boren Award are designated for students studying critical languages on long term programs. You increase your chances of funding by choosing a program that meets the criteria of a particular award.

Education Abroad has provided detailed information on our website to help you find additional funds. In particular, Education Abroad is pleased to offer several scholarships directly through our office, including diversity grant-in-aid awards and awards for students with disabilities. Our Whole World Scholarship recognizes study in particular non-traditional locations. Additional funding sources may be available through other Penn State colleges and departments, the University Fellowships Office, and the Office of Student Aid. Go to Costs & Funding Study Abroad to get more information about all of these options.

Other Ideas 

  • Compare Currency Exchange Rates
  • Plan a Budget Based on Your Lifestyle
  • Learn the Local Ways 
  • Understand Local Culture and Native Language
  • Travel Regionally 
  • Look for Student Discounts 
  • Budget Carefully!