Budgeting

  • Costs Before You Go
    Passport
    • Apply for a passport if you haven't already done so (approximately $135).
     Student Visa
    • Apply for a student visa if required by the country you'll be studying in (costs vary by country from $0-$500). You may also need to budget for travel costs to appear at a Consulate in person, if required.
    Roundtrip Airfare
    • Consider the follwoing when purchasing airfare:
      • Check with family members to see if they have airline miles that they are willing to donate to you for use toward your ticket.
      • Be sure to take advantage of student ticket prices using sites like Student Universe or STA Travel.
        • Some student travel sites may offer low-cost deposit programs, allowing you reserve your flight and pay the balance before departure
        • For students who are unsure of their return date, check travel websites (or agencies) to book roundtrip airfare with options to change the return date at a low cost. Research policies regarding changes to your return ticket before you book.
      • Set fare alerts to see when it would be best to purchase your ticket. You can use sites like Kayak to do this.
    Program Prepayment
    • Students participating in an Office of Overseas Study program will be required to pay a $500 prepayment upon being accepted to the program. This payment confirms your participation in your program and is non-refundable. The prepayment is deducted from your overall program fee. This is an out-of-pocket expense payable by e-check, debit card, or credit card and is not billable through the Bursar’s office.
    • Most non-IU providers will also typically charge a deposit. Costs and protocols for deposits will vary by program and provider.
    Housing costs 
    • Many study abroad programs include housing in the program fee. When housing is not included, there may be upfront costs, like an application fee or a housing deposit.
    • Consider any additional costs associated with housing breakage fees.  For more information, visit our Financial Considerations page.
    International Health Insurance
    • While all Office of Overseas Study programs include international health insurance in the program fee, students on unit-based or Non-IU programs should inquire with the provider.
    • If health insurance is not provided, students should check international coverage of their existing insurance, or enroll in international health insurance for the time abroad through a provider like HTH Worldwide.
    Travel Supplies
    • Keep in mind that there may be other items that you'll need to purchase to get ready to study abroad. Items like luggage, outlet adapters, travel guides, etc. may need to be purchased the semester before you study abroad.
  • Funding Strategies and Resources
    Evaluating your Financial Resources
    • Consider whether you have access to the following sources of funding for your time abroad:
      • Personal savings from jobs
      • Parental/family support
      • Current scholarships and financial aid (loans and grants), taking into account any Financial Aid Exceptions
      • Scholarships specific to studying abroad
    Building a Budget
    • Refer to our Budget Worksheet to build a budget for your time abroad.
    • Set up an appointment with the IU MoneySmarts team to learn more about budgeting and other financial topics.
    Banking Abroad
    • Check with your bank or credit card company before you go abroad to be sure that you'll be able to use your U.S. debit or credit card in the host country.
      • Some companies restrict the use of cards in certain locations.
      • Confirm how you should submit travel alerts for any additional countries you may visit during your program.
    • Notify your bank or credit card company about international travel so that they won't assume international usage is fraudulent.
    • Confirm you understand the fees associated with withdrawing funds from your account. See Getting Started for more information.
    • Open a local bank account only if encouraged to do so in order to facilitate housing payments. See your program handbook for more information.
  • During Your Program
    Disbursement of Aid
    • Financial aid and scholarships disburse ten days before the start of your program or the IU semester, whichever is LATER.
    • Programs in the southern hemisphere during the fall semester can begin in mid-late July. In these cases, you would not receive your aid until the start of the IU semester in mid-August.
    Onsite Expenses
    • Review cost estimates for out-of-pocket expenses provided by IU (see fee sheet) or your Non-IU provider for your program.  
    • Talk with returned students for budgetting tips specific to your host country or region.
    Medical Expenses
    • Keep in mind that most health insurance providers require payment at the time of service and then filing a claim for reimbursement.
    • Maintain a source of emergency funds (such as access to a credit card with available balance) for unexpected health expenses.