The cost of your program is determined by various factors, including:
- type of institution offering program
- location and general cost of living
- currency exchange rates
- your personal spending habits and goals
- duration of the program
Type of institution offering program
A large private American university may have higher tuition rates than a public institution like Temple, for example. Foreign university tuition rates can vary dramatically.
The most expensive countries tend to be in Western Europe and Oceania. Operating on a tight budget? Consider study in a non-traditional region like Southeast Asia or Latin America, if programs offered in these regions work academically for you.
Compare urban locations to small town or rural areas. Often, it is cheaper to study in small towns or rural areas than in major cities. For example, programs based in Lyon, France might be less expensive than those in Paris.
Currency exchange rates
Generally, exchanges rates are beyond your control, but you should at least keep up-to-date with the exchange rate of the currency of the country where you intend to study.
Goals and spending habits
Having a few solid goals and an overall agenda, and having good estimates of the costs of your chosen study abroad program will assist you in making a realistic budget for your time abroad.
While summer and short term programs may seem to be less expensive because of a lower price tag, semester programs may actually provide more value for your money. During semester programs, you will typically earn two to three times more credit and the cost is spread over a longer period of time in country.
In addition, a summer abroad might not be part of your regular academic plan, and therefore incurs additional educational costs than if a semester abroad fits into your regular degree requirements.
Also, in many cases, there is less financial aid available for summer programs.
How does cost affect program quality?
The cheapest program is not always the best option; lower costs sometimes translates to lower quality, such as fewer student services and less reliable on-site support.