The cost of studying abroad is normally the primary concern to Fresno State students. Programs can vary widely in cost, depending on the type of program, inclusions in the program (excursions, meal stipends, housing, etc.), length
of stay, and destination. When considering cost, it is important to remember a few things:
Meet with a study abroad advisor at SAIE to discuss ways to make studying abroad more affordable.
Tips for making study abroad more affordable:
Determine the financial aid eligibility of a program. Some students are shocked to learn that once financial aid is taken into consideration, studying abroad for a semester may cost less money than a summer program. Financial aid for the summer is evaluated very differently than it is for the semester, which means it is possible that a student who receives a large financial aid award package in the semester, would not receive any financial aid in the summer. While this is not always the case, choosing a program that will accept Fresno State financial aid is key in making a program more affordable.
Research the scholarships available for different programs. Scholarships are a great way to help offset the cost of studying abroad. Each scholarship will be slightly different in terms of eligibility requirements and application process. While researching study abroad programs, look to see if there are any scholarships specific to the program. Also keep in mind that scholarship deadlines are typically before program application deadlines, so if you wait too long to apply, there may not be any scholarships left.
Look at studying abroad in a non-traditional location. One of the biggest expenses in studying abroad is housing costs. Just like in the United States, some locations have higher housing costs than others, just look at Fresno compared to San Francisco. Most major cities have major price tags to match; consider exploring smaller cities or different countries with a lower cost of living.
Don’t forget about exchange rates and purchasing power. Everyday expenses while abroad can add up. When planning the cost of a study abroad program, keep in mind exchange rates and the purchasing power of the currency. For example, 1 USD is roughly equal to 1050 KRW (Korean Won), which sounds like a lot, but it is important also consider what 1050 KRW will buy, an average meal for a student will run 3,000-5,000 KRW. The Big Mac Index is also a fun tool when looking into purchasing power; the cost of a Big Mac in Norway is $6.30 but in China is only $2.77.
Choose a program that offers courses that lead to on-time graduation. The key word to remember in study abroad is study. Select a program that offers courses that keep you on track for graduation and eliminate the need for extra semesters later. This will save money on tuition, books, supplies and living expenses in the long run.
Studying abroad can be as affordable as attending Fresno State, and students may be eligible to use financial aid to help cover the cost! You must be formally accepted into SAIE study abroad program before aid eligibility can be determined, and SAIE will notify of Financial Aid of your study abroad participation.
How it works
The program type and length of program are considered when evaluating financial aid for study abroad, most of the case students do have a problem using their financial award for a semester of year long programs. Generally, federal financial aid (Pell Grant, loans) can be applied to semester-based programs, state aid (university or Cal grant) can be applied to programs to resident credit based programs. Federal work-study cannot be applied to study abroad programs. Summer is also considered a special circumstance with limited financial aid. After all documents are submitted, SAIE will notify the financial aid office of all students going abroad.
The Financial Aid Office will then evaluate the students' study abroad program and determine financial aid eligibility and apply a budget adjustment if necessary.
Before going abroad
Make sure you have a current Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on file.
Sign up for direct deposit of financial aid.
- Work with SAIE to ensure all required paperwork is completed by the stated deadline
Students who participate in summer faculty-led programs can apply for financial aid if they take at least 6 units of credit during that summer term. (Example: 3 units while abroad plus 3 units on campus upon returning to Fresno.)