Students often ask, "how much does it cost to study abroad?" The answer is that it depends! The cost of a program will vary, depending on a variety of factors including the program type, length, cost of living in a host country, students' personal spending habits, and their financial situation. With so many programs to choose from, it's important that students take the time to really understand the program cost structure and estimated costs as they are researching their options. With enough time and research, the Office of Education Abroad (OEA) believes that all students can find a program that fits their budget.
RESEARCHING PROGRAM COSTS
Understanding all expenses associated with a given study abroad program is a critical step in the planning process. Each program type has a different cost structure, and each program has a different total estimated cost. Understanding the basic program costs first will make it easier before diving into the research process and evaluating individual programs.
UNC Charlotte's Office of Financial Literacy and Wellbeing offers programming, resources, education, and guidance for financial success. The OEA encourages all students considering study abroad to reach out to this office to make sure they are well-prepared for their experience overseas.
PROGRAM COST STRUCTURES
In order to know what type of expense is paid to which entity, students will need to understand the cost structure of the program type they're applying to. This would include things such as which expenses are paid to the OEA, which are paid to UNC Charlotte Student Accounts (if any), and which are going to paid in the host country. Before getting started on applying to a specific program, one of the most important steps is to understand the cost structure (i.e., what type of expenses you pay and to whom) for the program type. To learn about program cost structures, visit our Program Types Overview page, pick the program type of interest to you, then review the "Cost Structure" section.
Remember, the cost structure section for each program type simply lists the types of payments students make, and to whom those payments are made, but does not list the estimated amount of those expenses. Once students understand the cost structure of a given program type, they will then need to determine the total estimated cost of a given program, by taking into consideration what is paid to the OEA, to Student Accounts at UNC Charlotte (if applicable), and/or to a third party (e.g. airlines, an affiliate provider, the host institution).
Financial Aid and Scholarships
Students who participate in approved programs abroad and who will receive the UNC Charlotte equivalent of full-time academic credit are eligible to apply for financial aid, and put that aid towards their study abroad expenses. There are also several different types of scholarships that can be applied to study abroad expenses. Additionally, there may be other resources or ways to creatively fundraise for a study abroad experience.
Cost Estimate Worksheets
Once students have considered all the costs associated with studying abroad and reviewed financial aid and scholarship options, it's time to begin planning for the specific financial costs associated with their selected program. The Office of Education Abroad provides Cost Estimate Worksheets as a resource for students to begin researching the costs for their program.