Students On a Budget: How to Keep Study Abroad Affordable

November 07 , 2018

It’s no secret that the cost of attending college in America is rising each year. In fact, the cost of a university education in the United States has increased more than 500 percent since 1985. This cost increase is deterring U.S. students from studying abroad as their student loans and other financial responsibilities appear too large to take on the cost of studying abroad.

According to data provided by NAFSA: Association of International Educators, the percentage of U.S. students studying abroad each year has remained relatively stagnant or decreased since 2011. In order to reverse this trend, we need to change the way we frame studying abroad and strive to make it affordable for all university students. Find out how you can assist potential students make their study abroad dreams a reality with our how to guide below.

1. Provide Resources and Counseling on Financing Their Study Abroad

Often times students are misinformed or lacking the accurate resources they need to have a realistic understanding of the financial requirement of studying abroad. Whether they are receiving inaccurate information online, or hear stories about students who came back from studying abroad with their credit cards maxed out, university students may be deterred from studying abroad before they have spent the time to genuinely consider the opportunity.

Our Recommendations

Update online resources to answer frequently asked questions

Most students do research online when considering studying abroad. If you work for a university study abroad department, make sure your website answers these important questions.

  • What tuition costs will be due to the university in addition to study abroad program fees?
  • Do their university scholarships and grants still apply while they study abroad?
  • What study abroad scholarships and grants are offered by the university?
  • Are there other 3rd-party scholarships and grants they can apply for? If so, provide links to official sites where they can apply directly.

If you work for a study abroad program or provider, include answers to these frequently asked questions on your website.

  • Do you offer scholarships or grants for students?
  • What is the estimated total cost of the program? Including program fee, housing, textbooks, estimated extra money spent on travel, food and activities.
Hold frequent information sessions

You likely won’t be able to provide answers to every specific question that students may have regarding the financial cost of studying abroad. A great way to provide information to a large group of students is to hold information sessions where students are able to discuss their specific financial situation and receive advice tailored just for them. This can be done online or via a webinar and we recommend offering these several times each semester to provide several opportunities to answer student questions.

3. Offer Short-Term Programs

Did you know that approximately 63 percent of study abroad students participate in short-term programs (i.e., programs of less than 8 weeks in length)? These short-term programs are a great option for students as they are typically accompanied by a lower cost to students.

Our Recommendation

Invest in the development of faculty-led programs

Faculty-led programs provide an excellent opportunity for students to study abroad, while being led by a university faculty member and receiving course credit. These programs have a unique opportunity for further subject matter integration throughout the time abroad, more so than what a traditional study abroad class may be able to offer. Additionally, many universities are able to offer grants or subsidies to cover part of the cost of the program, which can help keep student budgets in check.

3. Explore Adding Low Cost or Included Excursions To Your Program

A large expense for students is often their recreational and cultural travel they plan on their own and is often a large part of their decision to participate in a study abroad program. To keep costs in check, your university or study abroad program can provide excursions that are either included or optional for students to participate in.

Our Recommendation

Take advantage of tour operators

Tour operators not only take the stress out of group travel planning, but also are able to leverage group buying power and longstanding relationships to snag lower prices saving you and your students valuable time and money.

Want to talk to us about helping with your study abroad program logistics and operation? Fill out our form below to speak with a 4.0 Tours manager.

Sammi DiBacco

Sammi DiBacco