There is no “standard” in study abroad pricing, which makes it tricky to do price comparisons. Sometimes prices quoted include everything – airfare, housing, meals, excursions, tuition, medical evacuation insurance. Other times the price includes only tuition. Usually any expenses involved in getting a passport and entry visa or residence permit are not included, and sometimes getting a visa or residence permit for a semester abroad can involve travelling in person to New York or Chicago, an added expense.
It is very important to find out what is included in the advertised program price and what else you can expect to pay for out of pocket.
Exchanges are often thought to offer the most bang for your buck, but it requires good budgeting skills to foresee the expenses that might arise. When you go on exchange, you pay PSU tuition at PSU, you pay housing when you arrive at the partner university (cost varies depending on location), you generally cook for yourself, which can allow you to save money. You purchase medical evacuation insurance separately, and you buy your own plane ticket. You may choose not to travel on weekends or vacations, and thereby save even more money.
Affiliate Programs offer “package deals” that include almost everything except airfare. There are affiliate programs that include tuition, room, board, insurance and multi-day excursions for under $10,000 a semester, but this varies by location and others might cost $16,000 per semester.
Faculty Led programs have the lowest total cost, although that can depend on your tuition rate. The advertised prices usually do not include tuition for the credits, which must be paid separately in the summer, but are covered by the flat fee in the winter and spring. If you pay non-resident tuition, the cost for extra credits will be higher than for residents. Most faculty led programs cost less than $4000. However, they are shorter, so the per-day cost is higher.
You need to consider all the expenses when considering costs.
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