Budgeting

Header Image, Finances and Funding

The way to get the most out of your study abroad experience is to plan carefully, and this is especially important with your finances. Use the sample information and fill-in tables below to determine program costs and your assets so that you are clear on exactly how much your program will cost and how you will cover these costs. Then follow the spending tips to insure that you do not go over your budget while you are abroad. You are encouraged to compare this budget to the estimated cost of attendance at UC Davis.

I. Determine Your Costs

The following is a sample program budget for a four-week summer program: 

Sample Budget (for a four-week Summer Abroad program)

Fees paid to provider

$5407.00

Included (for this example):

☒ Tuition/Fees _All_

☒ Housing _All_

☐ Meals __ only 2 group meals __

☒ Excursions _All_

☒ Other __metro pass_____

Costs paid by me directly (estimated)

$0

 Housing  __included in Fees__

$1000.00

 Meals  _____ nearly all ___

 

$700.00

 Incidentals/ Books / Etc.

 

$1400.00

 Roundtrip Airfare to site

 

$400.00 

 Other __personal side trip___

 

Total Estimated Costs

$8,907.00

 

Please keep in mind:

  • This is an example for a four-week summer program and costs vary widely depending on the location of the program, its length, accommodations, etc.
  • The costs paid by you directly are estimated amounts, which are generally based on averages spent by previous participants.  Costs will vary depending on your individual spending habits, changes in exchange rates, etc. 
  • Estimates provided by programs typically do not include side-trips that students take independently of the program, and may not include such costs as souvenirs, phones, money for doctor's visits, etc. 
  • Be sure to consider your own spending habits and the amount of personal travel you plan to do, and adjust your budget accordingly.

Now print out the blank fee schedule below and create your own budget. 

When you consult the fee schedule for your specific program it is especially important to identify which costs are covered by program fees and which are not.

My Study Abroad Costs

Fees paid to provider

 

Included:

☐ Tuition/Fees

_____

☐ Housing

_____

☐ Meals

_____

☐ Excursions

_____

☐ Other

_____

Costs paid by me directly (estimated)

 

 Housing

_____

 

Meals

_____

 

 

Incidentals/ Books / Etc.

 

 

 Roundtrip Airfare to site

 

 

 Other

_____

 

Total Estimated Costs

   

II. Determine Your Resources

The next step in planning for your time abroad is to determine how you will pay for the program costs. Below is a list of possible sources for funding. Fill in the amounts for each category. Be realistic about the amounts and be sure to confirm amounts with the Financial Aid Office if applicable.  

My Assets for Study Abroad

Sources

Amounts

Scholarships

 

Financial Aid (including student loans)

 

Savings

 

Work

 

Other sources _____

 

Total Funds Available

 

Of course the final step is to check that your total for Funds Available is equal to your total  for Estimated Costs.

If the numbers do not add up, you may want to visit the Financial Aid Office to explore the possibility of increasing your financial aid and/or do further research on the many scholarships and travel awards that are available specifically for study abroad programs.

III. Tips for Staying Within Your Budget While Abroad

  • Be conscious of your spending. Ask yourself in every case if you really need what you are about to purchase.
  • Learn some shorthand tricks to converting the foreign currency into U.S. dollar equivalents so you aren't fooled into believing you are spending less than in fact you are.
  • Set yourself a weekly budget and stick to it (making sure that it will last you for all the weeks you have left, of course).
  • Find out how and where the locals shop for food and other essentials. You will usually save a small fortune compared with buying at the tourist trap shops and restaurants. It will also build upon your experience of the host country's culture. If the locals bargain when making their purchases, be sure you do too.
  • Keep an eye out for student discounts and try wherever you can to use your student ID card for reduced prices (especially effective for airfare, museums, attractions, and some accommodations). Research beforehand if the ISIC card is useful in the country you will be going to or if you need local student IDs to get student discounts.
  • Many universities abroad don’t expect students to purchase their books. They may assign excerpts, supplemental readings, or give a reading list from a number of books.  In cases where specific longer readings are required, it’s likely that several copies of the book will be on reserve at the campus library. It is recommended that students take full advantage of the library and only purchase books when required (e.g. no/limited copies in the library, workbooks that can only be used once, etc.)
  • Limit the amount you bring to bars, clubs and pubs. You may have less luxurious nights out, but you will have more of them. If you bring 50 euro to a pub, you will find a way to spend it, whereas if you bring 15 euro (or another non-U.S. currency), you will only spend 15.
  • Save your souvenir buying until the end of your stay; you'll have a better idea of what a good memento is then and will know how much you can get away with spending and still make it home.
  • And, finally, ask the locals: where to eat, where to shop, where to go out, etc. They can save you the hassle and expense of figuring out for yourself where the cheapest places are.

Resource Acknowledgement: GlobalScholar 

Funding and Finances - FAQs

  • What’s the FAFSA and why do I need to fill it out?
  • Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a report that determines your financial aid eligibility. If you receive aid during the school year, then that same report is valid for the summer. If you have never received aid before but would like to get loans, apply for the FAFSA. Keep in mind that you still need to fill out a SEPARATE Summer Financial Aid application.
  • What if I’m not eligible for financial aid? Do I still need to file a FAFSA or Summer Financial Aid Application on my home campus?
  • Keep in mind that loans are a part of financial aid. If you are interested in taking out a student loan to pay for your abroad experience, you will need a FAFSA on file and submit a SEPARATE Summer Aid application via your home campus Financial Aid office.
  • Are there any scholarships available?
  • Yes, check our website for updates on Awards and Scholarships. Some programs may have specific scholarships for that program alone.
  • How do I get financial aid for a summer program?
  • Summer Abroad
    You must fill out a separate Summer Financial Aid Application with the Financial Aid Office. Usually by mid-March, the Financial Aid Office will offer an online Summer Aid Estimator, in which you can input your program choice and see an estimate of the aid you may receive. This is an estimate and NOT a guarantee of aid, as aid is limited in the summer and given out on a first-come, first-serve basis. The actual Summer Aid Form becomes available in the first week in May and you must register for summer courses first in order to apply.

    UC Education Abroad Programs (UCEAP)
    You do not need to complete the Summer Financial Aid Application if you are going abroad in the summer through UC Education Abroad Program (UCEAP).
  • How much aid will I get for the program?
  • Please visit the UC Davis Financial Aid Office’s Study Abroad section to understand how financial aid works for the various types of study abroad programs (UC Davis Quarter Abroad, UC Davis Summer Abroad, UCEAP, and independent study abroad).
  • What if my program costs a lot more than it would to stay here for summer sessions?
  • Financial aid will increase your budget to the cost of your program, increasing your eligibility for aid, which can come in the form of grants and/or loans. Keep in mind that an increase in eligibility does not automatically guarantee you aid for your program. Summer financial aid is severely limited and is given on a first come, first serve basis. It is also determined based on how much of your loan you took out during the school year.
  • Where do I go to view my financial aid offer?
  • Go to your MyAwards. For the aid year, select the current school year. Make sure to accept your loans and submit all required documents in as soon as possible to ensure on-time disbursement.
  • What if I don’t go to UC Davis?
  • All UC campuses are now offering financial aid for UC Summer Session activities. Students should consult with their home institution about financial aid eligibility and deadlines.