Financing Education Abroad

While the cost of education abroad seems daunting, did you know that a majority of education abroad participants receive some sort of financial assistance?

More importantly, the skills and higher levels of cultural competency you can gain from your experience abroad can help you stand out in an job interview.

Cost of Education Abroad

The cost of an education abroad program will depend on many factors, including the destination country, the type and length of the program, and what is included in the program cost.  In addition, volunteer and internship opportunities tend to cost less as well, because tuition/fees are generally not assessed. Students should consider costs beyond the program fee, which may include passport, visa, airfare, immunizations, local transportation, meals, books, insurance, and incidentals.

Consider this: why would a semester program cost $7,000 in Costa Rica, $9,000 in Spain, and $16,000 in France? The factors below affect the cost of a program:

  • Destination: Students to talk with an adviser about the locations they are considering. Western European countries, Australia, and New Zealand tend to have the highest costs simply because the cost of living is higher in those locations. Countries that cost less include countries in Central and Latin America, Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe. 
  • Exchange rate: Remember that currency exchange rates fluctuate constantly. Visit online currency converters ( to stay abreast of the latest rates.
  • Program duration/timing: While short-term programs may be less expensive, students may find that there are more resources available to them for semester- or year-long study. Some costs do not change according to the length of time they are abroad.
  • Program fee inclusions: Housing and meals may be included in the program fee, which will affect the cost of the program. Cultural visits and excursions, as well and services provided by the program (airport pickup, orientation, computer and internet access, medical insurance, and tutoring, to name a few) will also affect the cost of a program.

All these factors affect the cost of a program. Be sure to always check to see what is included in the program fee, and what you will have to pay outside of the program fee (usually airfare, passport, visas, some meals, etc.)

Be realistic about what you can afford and where you want to go. A typical semester abroad in the UK can cost up to $20,000 and if your dream is to study abroad in the UK, keep your options open and don’t turn down opportunities in other regions of the world. If you end up in Spain because of a more affordable cost, you can always take a train and visit the UK over the weekend for a more economic cost.

Below are the main funding support sources available for education abroad programs:

  • Financial Aid
  • UM-Flint Scholarships & Grants
  • Federal Scholarships
  • Scholarships through External Organizations

Important Tips: Start the process early.

Ask for help.

Seek multiple resources.

Be flexible about locations. 

Using Financial Aid

Financial Aid

Federally funded financial aid may be used by eligible participants enrolled in education abroad programs. Since federal aid is based on a real budget, the amount of the award for the period of your program may vary from that receive while attending UM-Flint. Contact a Financial Aid advisor EARLY in the process to review your options. It is helpful to bring a budget overview with you to your meeting with a Financial Aid advisor. 

Louanne Snyder
Office of Financial Aid

Susan DeGalan
Office of Financial Aid


Students seeking financial aid for external programs are required to complete the Education Abroad Course Credit Transfer form (accesible via M-Flint WorldLink).