Financing Study Away

Questions of funding can often be integral to the decision and planning processes for study away.

Careful and advanced planning will help you find the right study opportunity and the necessary financial support. We suggest allowing anywhere from six to 18 months to research funding options, file applications, and organize paperwork. It’s also important to include the right people in your financing conversations. Study Abroad can guide you through certain costs associated with your chosen programs while Student Financial Services is available to show you how your financial aid may be applied toward those costs.

NAFSA: common myths and realities regarding financing study abroad


SAIC Fees and Billing

Certain costs for your study away experience will be billed via your student account. These costs include tuition, study trip program fees, SAIC health insurance and the SAIC technology fee.


For SAIC-sponsored study away programs (faculty-led study trips, international exchange, mobility, and tuition transfer), tuition is charged per-credit and at the regular undergraduate and graduate rates. Tuition fees are posted to your student account and due by the program start date. Current list of SAIC tuition rates.

Program Fees

Faculty-led study trips carry a program fee in addition to tuition fees. Program fees are charged via your student account and typically cover costs such as accommodation, admissions, ground transport, and some group meals. Program fees do not cover transportation to and from your study trip location.

Health Insurance

Students participating in a SAIC-sponsored study away program are required to carry adequate health insurance coverage. In addition, some programs may require you to purchase additional coverage. Students enrolled for SAIC credit during a semester or yearlong study away program are automatically enrolled in and charged for SAIC’s Health Insurance Plan. If you hold a private insurance policy of equal or better coverage, you may waive SAIC's plan and associated fees. Read more about how to qualify for a health insurance waiver. Please note that waivers must be submitted by the posted deadlines.

SAIC Technology Fee

Students on SAIC-sponsored semester or yearlong study away programs continue to have access to the SAIC key server and CRIT support even while living away from Chicago. As such, study away students are still responsible for paying the SAIC Technology Fee.

Additional Costs and Budgeting

There are additional costs associated with study away programs outside of those charged through SAIC. When building a budget, it's important to anticipate and plan for as many of these additional costs as possible. Here are typical costs that you may want to consider:

  • Airfare and on-ground transportation costs—How much does it cost to get you from your home to your study away location via plane, train, car, etc.? If you are on a semester or yearlong program, how much will it cost for you to get around day-to-day? 
  • Passport—Students participating in an international study away program are required to have a valid passport. Passport application and renewal fees can be significant, especially if you need rush service.
  • Visa—Some study away programs may require you to apply for a visa to enter the host country. Check with the host country’s embassy or consulate for visa requirements and fees.
  • Housing—Housing costs for semester and yearlong programs can vary dramatically depending on the host location. Research typical housing costs for your host location and multiply that for the duration of your program.
  • Books/supplies—Consider which books and supplies you will be able to take with you and which supplies you may need to purchase in your host location. Costs for your usual art supplies may be different than what you are used to in Chicago.
  • Travel insurance—You may want to purchase additional travel insurance to protect your trip and any equipment you bring with you. 
  • Tuition Transfer Programs—Students participating in a study away program through an affiliate school may incur additional tuition costs payable directly to the affiliate school and not SAIC. Costs can vary widely for different programs. Contact the Study Abroad Office if you are considering an affiliate school.


Creating a Study Away Budget

When choosing a program, you should compare the cost of living and attending classes on-campus with the cost of your prospective study away program. As discussed above, costs to consider in both locations include tuition, rent, food, supplies, transportation, health insurance, etc.

These calculations will help guide your strategy for funding your time away. Note that working while on study away is typically not allowed.

Financial Considerations by Study Away Program

SAIC faculty-led study trips Semester Away
  • Additional institutional funds may be available to eligible students and can be applied towards tuition fees. Even if you have never done so before, we encourage U.S. citizens and permanent residents to complete the FAFSA and then in Step 1: Preregistration for Study Trips, fill out the Financial Services section. This section acts as your application for institutional aid and Student Financial Services will contact you with an estimated award package. Please note that institutional aid applies to tuition only and cannot be used to pay study trip deposits, program fees or airfare.
  • John W. Kurtich Scholarship must be used on an SAIC-sponsored, faculty-led study trip.
  • Odyssey Travel Grants may be used for study trip costs.
  • Additional loan funding may be available while pursuing a semester away. Make an appointment with your Student Financial Services Advisor to discuss your options if you are working with the Study Abroad office on your exchange. You should consider the following:
  • Work-Study amendments
  • Cost of living, and how that may affect your funding
  • Paying for your tuition while away
  • Extra expenses including airfares, relocation expenses, and visa fees
  • Gilman Scholarship Pell Grant-eligible undergraduate students who wish to study abroad may apply for the Gilman International Scholarship to subsidize the cost of their programs.
  • Merit Scholarships are awarded to students upon admission to SAIC. Merit scholarship funds are applied to SAIC tuition on a prorated basis for both faculty-led study trips and semester and yearlong study away programs.
  • Loans are often used to meet funding requirements for both study trip and semester and yearlong study away programs. Students should discuss loan eligibility with their Student Financial Services Advisor.