Skip to content

What Does Education Abroad Cost?

The costs are often the most important factors students want to discuss while researching education abroad programs. Costs are a calculation of how long a student will be abroad (a semester vs. a 3-week program), the location (United Kingdom vs. New Zealand), transportation (both the international airfare & local transportation like trains, taxis, or buses) program type (study vs. internship vs. research, etc.), the housing (apartment vs. homestay, and other a few other factors.


The Education Abroad office staff will help guide you to make a budget sheet showing the cost of all the items you need to consider for a program. These budgets are estimates and intended for planning purposes only.


Some countries have a higher cost of living than the U.S. You can use a cost-of-living calculator to see the difference in cost on items you buy every day. This will give you a good indication if you need to budget more or less money than you need on campus. Bigger cities tend to cost more than smaller cities.


Remember to set aside funds for transportation costs. The international flight to your destination may be anywhere from $800-$2,500. Consider questions, such as:
  • What transportation will you need to use within your host city?
  • Can you walk between campus/home or will you have to use the subway, bus, or taxi?
  • Will you want to do any personal travel on the weekends? 
Research resources in your host city to get a better picture of how much to set aside for transportation costs.

Type of Program

The type of program you choose can affect the cost. Exchange programs tend to have the lowest cost.  However, provider programs often offer robust on-site services, resources, and experiential opportunities, and also tend to offer additional scholarships to offset the higher program cost. Use the resource below to compare program types. 


Most programs offer different housing options, which can impact program costs. Shared housing is often the lower-cost option, while private housing is often the higher-cost option. Also keep in mind that homestays and dorms/residence halls may decrease your food expenses, as food is often included in this kind of housing. On faculty-led programs, housing often includes hostels or hotels that are included in the package price.


For exchanges and faculty-led programs, you will pay your home institution. For ISEP Direct and provider programs, you will pay tuition to another institution. However, when choosing classes to take abroad, be aware of additional course fees for which you may need to plan. These additional fees may be those in courses with lab components, excursions/field trip fees, and internship/experiential opportunities.

Funding Your Education Abroad Program

Financial Aid

The amount of financial aid applicable to education abroad will depend on your individual financial aid package.  Consult with the Office of Financial Aid to discuss your financial aid package. Take a copy of a program budget (official or unofficial) to the financial aid office to see how much aid you may be eligible for on a particular program. Contact Bryce Johnson and set a time to meet.


There are many scholarships that can help offset the cost of your education abroad program. When planning your education abroad budget, it is important to consider any scholarships you may receive. 

How do I Get Started?

Before beginning an application for a program, you may find it helpful to do the following:  All these items will help you determine the program that best suits your needs and desires. Once you have determined the program to which you would like to apply, click the "Apply Now" button. SDSU students will then enter their MyState login and password.

Have Questions? 

Please email the Assistant Director for Education Abroad, Cassandra Stangeland