Cost can be one of the most important factors to consider while researching programs. Be cognizant of location, transportation, program type, housing, and other factors during the planning process.

Initial Considerations

Program Costs

All programs will have an unofficial budget sheet showing the cost of the program for the past term. You can use these sheets to compare different programs costs. These budgets are estimates and intended for planning purposes only. You will receive the official budget from your Education Abroad Coordinator for your specific program and term following acceptance into the program and prior to the commitment deadline. We try very hard to minimize increases from term to term but you may observe cost increases that are set by our partners or by your host institution. For help understanding the budget, go to the Program Costs page.


Some countries have a higher cost of living than the US. Try using a cost of living calculator and see what the price difference is 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 are more expensive than smaller cities (i.e., Chicago is more expensive than Champaign). Keep an open mind when researching institutions or countries.


Remember to set aside funds for transportation costs. The international flight to your destination may be anywhere from $800-$2000. What transportation will you need to use within your destination 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 transportation resources in your host country to get a better picture of how much to set aside.

Type of Program

Exchange programs and short-term programs tend to be the most affordable. Some programs may be less expensive than staying on campus. Provider programs tend to be more expensive but most offer more on-site services, resources, and experiential opportunities. Also, providers offer scholarships which can bring the cost down significantly.


Most programs offer different housing options and the variations can have a large impact on the programs final cost. Shared housing is often the most affordable. Private housing has the potential to increase costs drastically. If available, consider homestays or dorms, as this should also decrease your food expenses.


When choosing classes, be aware of additional course fees. These are most common in the courses with lab components, excursion/field trip fees, and internship/experiential opportunities.

Financial Aid

The amount of financial aid applicable to study abroad will depend on your individual financial aid package. Consult with a financial aid advisor in the Office of Student Financial Aid to discuss your financial aid package. We will only be able to answer general procedural questions. 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.

Explore Scholarships

There are many Illinois and national scholarships that can help offset the cost of your study abroad program. When planning your study abroad budget, it’s important to consider any scholarships you may receive. Visit the Scholarships page for funding opportunities.

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