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for Study Abroad

Comparing Costs

A longer program (semester or academic year) may be proportionally cheaper than a summer program when all costs are considered. These programs also often afford more course choice allowing you to more easily fulfill required coursework.

When comparing gosts, examine various program types, then craft a careful budget to estimate your expenses.

1. Program types

First, consider the structural financial differences between program types:

Students pay tuition at SDSU, but pay housing and meals at their host destination. This is a good program type for all countries, but may be especially affordable in cheaper or lesser developed destinations.
Students pay tuition, housing and meals directly to ISEP, which may be more affordable for students paying out-of-state tuition.
Students pay tuition, housing and meals at SDSU as if living in a dorm. This can be more affordable in a country where living costs are substantially more than living on-campus at SDSU.
Students pay tuition to the CSU and housing and meals at their host destination. These programs can be very good deals as they all run for an academic year and are subsidized by the CSU. Furthermore, scholarships are often more available to students studying for a year.
Students pay the third-party program provider organization, which is generally a package price including tuition, housing, meals, insurance, and excursions. When comparing independent programs it is extremely important to compare "apples to apples," meaning understand that both programs have similar features and services.

2. Budget & plan ahead

Next, do significant financial planning and budgeting during your program search phase. The financial resources you have available may be a good factor in selecting a country and program. There are a wide array of costs both large and small incurred in studying abroad, so using a budget sheet is helpful. See Creating a Budget for information about:

  • Budgeting and budget sheet
  • Cost of attendance estimates
  • Your relative purchasing power based on exchange rates and living costs
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Comparing destinations

  • Consider programs and destinations within your normal financial means
  • Many destinations (generally outside of Western Europe) can be less expensive than living in San Diego
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