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Financing Study Abroad

The #1 myth is that study abroad is too expensive. Here are some facts to help eliminate the financial roadblock. Any student with strong desire, proper planning, resourcefulness, and flexibility can study abroad!

What is the cost to study abroad?

When students attend Drexel sponsored programs, their Drexel tuition and financial aid remain the same. In addition, students are responsible for costs such as: roundtrip airfare, housing, food, living expenses, local transportation, travel, and entertainment. These costs are higher for some programs and lower for others, depending on the cost of living and location. Calculate the normal on-campus expenses of housing, food, books, living expenses, local transportation, and entertainment in Philadelphia. Then compare those expenses with the expenses overseas, and you will find that the actual net cost of studying abroad is less than expected!

Financial Aid and Study Abroad

For Drexel Sponsored Study Abroad programs all of a student's financial aid, scholarships and loans apply. There is even a position funded by Federal Work Study funds that allows students to earn money while abroad.

For Independent Study Abroad programs (non-Drexel sponsored programs) a student's Drexel grants and scholarships do not apply to the costs. However federal grants and loans may be applicable. For private loans, grants and scholarships students should contact their lender/donor to determine whether the funds are transferable to non-Drexel sponsored programs.

Is Independent Study Abroad affordable?

The main difference in doing independent study abroad is that Drexel aid (scholarships, grants) is not transferable. Student loans and federal aid often are transferable to outside programs. To determine whether an independent study abroad is affordable, students should review their financial aid package on DrexelOne to determine how much aid they receive from Drexel. Compare the cost of the independent program with Drexel tuition for that term. If the cost of the independent program is less than Drexel tuition, the actual net cost differential may be manageable, despite the loss of Drexel aid during that term. A student's financial aid will not be lost for terms spent at Drexel. Participating in independent study abroad is normally less of a financial concern for students with little or no Drexel financial aid.

Creative ways to finance study abroad

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

Before Study Abroad


Planning ahead of time for study abroad is the first step, because it allows more time to save money, explore scholarship opportunities and calculate study abroad expenses.

Open a Study Abroad Savings Account

Open a separate account designated entirely for study abroad savings. His 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 as frequent visits to Starbucks). 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. 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 home town, 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!

Part-Time Job

Some countries will allow study abroad students to work part time up to 20 hours without requiring a work visa. This gives students extra money, a chance to meet locals, and work experience.

Federal Work Study

Students who receive Federal Work Study funds are eligible to apply for the Study Abroad Office's Online Journalist work study position, which allows them to earn money while abroad.