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Creative Ways to Finance Study Abroad

There are many ways to make study abroad more affordable. Here are a few suggestions of ways to save money toward study abroad expenses.

Before Study Abroad


Planning ahead for study abroad is the first step, as it allows more time to save money, explore scholarship opportunities and review the estimated study abroad costs.

Open a Study Abroad Savings Account

Open a separate account designated entirely for study abroad savings. This will make it easier to set money aside without being tempted to use it for other purposes.

Reduce Living Expenses on Campus

Re-evaluate money spent on-campus for living expenses and housing. Try to identify areas that can be cut back to reduce expenses, such a coffee shop run, taking out/eating out, or frequent Uber/Lyft/cab rides. This extra money can be added to study abroad savings.

Compare Study Abroad Location Options

The cost of living can vary dramatically from location to location; review the estimated study abroad cost list for assistance. When choosing a study abroad program, compare the cost of living for your top choice programs. Take these cost differences into consideration when making a final program choice.

Co-op and Summer Job Savings

Dedicate a specific amount of co-op and summer job income toward study abroad savings.

Apply for Co-op Jobs Near Home

If students choose a co-op job near their hometown, they can eliminate housing costs during co-op terms. The money that would have been spent on housing can be allocated to study abroad savings.

Family Study Abroad Fund

Inform close friends and relatives about study abroad plans. When birthday, Christmas, and other gift-giving holidays come around, request that they contribute money to study abroad savings INSTEAD of buying a gift!


Consider creative fundraising projects to help raise money, such as a bake sale, car wash, or local walk-a-thon.

During Study Abroad

Prioritize spending

Students should decide what they are willing to spend money on and what habits they will give up while studying abroad. Students with limited budgets should prepare to forgo shopping sprees and frequent trips to Starbucks. There are many FREE and inexpensive forms of entertainment and exploration in almost any city. Save money by getting to know the local city instead of taking trips every weekend.

Cooking vs. Eating Out

The easiest way to reduce the cost of living abroad is to buy groceries and cook meals instead of eating out! Also, avoid spending a lot of money on drinking at bars and pubs. Restaurants and drinking can inflate study abroad expenses!

Photo credits:
Kia Garcia, Florence