Can studying abroad save you money?

January 10, 2022

Hand dropping coin into piggy bankStudying abroad is one of the most unique opportunities in the undergraduate experience. It offers a chance to immerse yourself in another place and culture.

A common perceived barrier that keeps students from exploring studying abroad is finances. Louise Hon from the Berkeley Study Abroad Office helped us break down the affordability of studying abroad.

Can financial aid cover study abroad expenses?

Great question! Every study abroad program has a unique Cost of Attendance (COA).  Similar to the COA at UC Berkeley, the study abroad COA total accounts for more than the tuition. For a study abroad program, it would include tuition, costs for room and board, local transportation, pre-departure expenses and even airfare.  Students who receive Financial Aid will have their package adjusted for the cost of attendance of their unique program and term.  The financial aid package is adjusted to include all UCEAP program costs (including airfare).  There are students who receive aid that covers their estimated personal expenses such as predeparture expenses, roundtrip airfare, etc.

Can studying abroad actually save you money?

There are many study abroad programs that can be less expensive than a term at UC Berkeley.  We encourage students to use the Cost pages and tools to aid them with the comparison, but below are a few examples from a previous UCEAP Viewbook below that compares the costs of an estimated UC year COA with a year in the respective locations (Thailand, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Mexico, Singapore).

The figures below are calculated using UCEAP's calculator based on filters as a Berkeley undergrad with CA resident status. These will change year to year, but can offer an idea for how studying abroad can actually save you money!

UC Berkeley Year: $40256 (assuming on-campus housing)

Taiwan NTU Year: $21,2770
 "Save $10K in Thailand," "Save $9.5K in Hong Kong," "Save $8.5K in Taiwan," "Save $7.5K in Japan," "Save $7K in Mexico," "Save $6K in Singapore"

There are dedicated Berkeley Study Abroad Financial Aid Counselors!

One of the greatest resources of support Berkeley Study Abroad offers is two dedicated Financial Aid Counselors who work with students on understanding and packaging their financial aid for study abroad.  Prior to applying or departure, students can request an estimate of their financial aid package for a program and term of interest.  The estimate helps students get a clearer picture of a program's affordability.  Students can visit the Financial Aid Advising for Berkeley Study Abroad webpage for more info.


While there are many factors in choosing whether or not to study abroad, we hope this helps break down one of the perceived barriers. 

Check out the Berkeley Study Abroad website to explore program options and to talk to study abroad advisers, like Louise, about whether spending a term or two in another country is the right adventure for you.

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