42% of IAGE programs cost less than in-state tuition at Illinois
Exchange programs and short-term programs tend to be the most affordable program type
Most of your financial aid package will apply to the cost of your study abroad program
FACTORS TO CONSIDER:
Location: Some countries have a higher cost of living than the US, while others do not. Try using a cost of living calculator to compare price differences on items you buy every day. This will be a good indication if you will need to budget more or less than you would need at Illinois.
Transportation: The international flight to your destination could cost anywhere from $800-$2,000. Ticket prices can change on a daily basis, so begin looking to book your flight as soon as you have been accepted into your program. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are generally the cheapest days to book flights. Be sure to also consider your transportation around your host city. Will you walk between campus/home or will you take the subway, bus, or taxi? Are you planning on doing any personal travel on the weekends? How much do you need to budget for these transportation costs?
Type of Program: When researching a program, pay close attention to the program type because it could influence the cost of the program. Exchange programs and short-term programs tend be the most affordable. Direct enroll and provider programs tend to be more expensive but offer robust on-site services, resources, and experiential opportunities.
Housing: Many programs offer different housing options, which can impact the overall cost. Homestays or dormitories are generally more affordable and less of a hassle to find than private housing such as apartments.
Courses: When choosing classes, check for additional course fees. These fees are most common with courses that include lab components, excursion/field trip fees, and internship/experiential opportunities.
All programs have an unofficial budget sheet that shows the cost of the program for the past term. These budgets are estimates that can be used for budget planning. You will receive the official budget from your Education Abroad Coordinator for your specific program and term following your acceptance into the program, prior to the commitment deadline. More information about the budget sheets and programs costs can be found on our Program Cost page.
SCHOLARSHIPS & FINANCIAL AID:
Scholarships are another way to assist you with financing your study abroad experience. The most common scholarships students apply for are the Illinois for Illinois (I4I) Scholarship and the Illinois International Programs (IIP) Scholarship. Be sure to explore our Scholarships page to investigate other scholarship opportunities, including scholarships for undergraduate students, college/discipline-specific, and area-specific.
We encourage you to consult with a financial aid advisor in the Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA) to discuss your financial aid package and how it will apply to your study abroad expenses. Take a copy of a program budget (official or unofficial) to OSFA to see how much aid you may be eligible for.
Using a Credit Card: Many credit card companies offer cards that do not charge foreign transaction fees and can help you build rewards or money back. A credit card can also be utilized in emergency situations while you’re abroad. Be sure to consult with a parent/guardian before considering this option.
Opening a Local Bank Account: If your program requires you to stay there for more than a few weeks, it might be worth opening an account with a local bank. Many banks offer student accounts and/or will waive fees. Research banks within your host country and consider the bank’s ATM network.
Live like a Local: The expression goes “when in Rome, do as the Romans do.” Living like a local can really help with reducing the overall cost of studying abroad. Consider eating, buying groceries, and shopping at places that locals do. Also, consider switching to a month-by-month SIM-only phone plan while you’re abroad because your phone plan may charge international fees. Lastly, regardless of where you go, there will be plenty of “free entertainment” options such as sightseeing, museums, or people watching!
Study abroad can be affordable if you select the right program and plan ahead. Research and estimate the total cost of your program and living expenses at least three months prior to your departure and consider additional costs that may arise. Talk to your family about sources of income for your time abroad. Lastly, come into walk-in hours, Monday-Friday, 9am-4:45pm in 112 International Studies Building if you want to talk about costs with study abroad staff.