We will discuss how to financially prepare for your program later in this session, but when selecting a program there are a few elements related to cost that students may wish to consider. Cost of living abroad and the exchange rate between the US dollar and the local currency can affect your budget especially for variable costs such as meals not included in the program fee and independent travel.
Program duration also affects cost as well as access to financial aid. Summer programs may have a lower program fee, given that they are shorter. However, participation in a summer program may mean that students would have to forego summer jobs and might be paying academic costs during a time they may not normally be enrolled. Summer financial aid also tends to be more competitive and award amounts are lower. Students may have limited or no remaining aid for the summer if they have reached their loan cap during the fall and spring semesters.
Semester and academic year programs allow students to have greater access to their financial aid as there are relatively few restrictions on what can be applied toward program fees. Given this, for students with high financial need it can be more affordable to participate on some longer-duration programs than summer options. Students should consider all factors and not rule out a longer program based on program fee alone.
Short-term programs may have a lower overall cost if they are embedded in a semester long course. They can be another good option for students with high financial need, though keep in mind airfare costs remain similar regardless of how long students stay.
Program type can also affect the overall cost and should be taken into account when selecting a program.