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We recognize that study abroad finances can bring up a lot of questions and concerns and we have put together a number of resources below to try to help students and their families navigate this process. If your questions aren't answered here, don't hesitate to contact us!

On a budget? We believe that every CU Boulder student should be able to access an Ed Abroad opportunity, regardless of their financial situation. Check out our resources on Going Abroad Within Your Budget and Best Semester Abroad Deals! You can also use our program search to narrow your options with the estimated total costs parameter - see our breakdown for more information. If you are on a budget, you might be happily surprised to know that many of our programs are comparable to what you pay to attend CU Boulder. See the links on this page and speak with an advisor to find the best match for you!


No, you do not pay Boulder campus tuition and fees when you are on a CU education abroad program. Instead, you pay the actual cost of your education abroad program, which varies greatly from program to program. Some programs will be less expensive than what in-state students pay at CU (view estimates of comprehensive costs to study/live at CU) and some cost more than what out-of-state students pay. Budgets for all of our programs can be found on our Program Costs page.

Below are some sample program costs, with comparisons to the total estimated costs to attend CU. These are not the only program cost options: CU Boulder offers over 400 programs, and you can find programs that offer lower (and higher) costs in the same region compared to those listed below. Note that all costs listed below are estimates of the total estimated costs that you pay per semester, including costs such as tuition, housing, food, books, spending money, health insurance, etc.

  1 semester at CU (resident)* 1 semester at CU (non-resident)* Exchange program in Lancaster, England ISA program in Granada, Spain Semester at Sea program
Total estimated costs per semester (last update 2019) $20,690 $34,550 $17,460 $18,839 $41,563

*CU semester costs are based on the estimates provided by the Office of Financial Aid, but note that we are also providing estimates for Personal and Living expenses which the Office of Financial Aid does not put into their budgets.

You will mostly pay for the same types of costs that you encounter during a term at CU (instructional costs, "tuition" for your program), housing costs, food costs, health insurance, transportation, etc.). However, there are a few additional costs that you may have. The following are examples of some of these costs. Most of these costs are included in the estimated costs in each program budget on the Program Costs page:

  • Airfare to and from your destination
  • Passport application fee (if applicable)
  • Visa application fee (if applicable))
  • CU Boulder Education Abroad Administrative fee 
  • Immunizations (only needed for certain locations)
  • Personal spending money for extra travel - varies greatly from student to student (not included in program cost budgets)

Program costs vary greatly from program to program, largely because of two factors: location and program infrastructure. Programs located in countries with a comparably low cost of living are generally more affordable. Programs located in countries with a high cost of living (such as Australia, New Zealand, or countries in Western/Central Europe) are generally more expensive. These costs are also affected by exchange rates.

Programs with more infrastructure and numerous built-in services also contribute to a higher program cost. A program like Semester at Sea, for example, has high infrastructure costs due to the cost of the ship, the services on board and the large, necessary staff. However, programs with a low infrastructure costs still offer good support for students and sometimes offer opportunities such as field trips and volunteer opportunities. There is not a direct correlation between program cost and level of quality.

Since students will still be billed for their education abroad program fee through the CU Bursar's Office, payments are due at the same time as regular CU Boulder tuition. For additional information, please read through the Billing page within the Accepted Student Guide.

Please note that some costs such as program deposits, plane tickets, visa fees, immunizations, and possibly housing costs will need to be paid sooner than these dates. For more information about possible additional costs, please see the FAQ above called "What am I paying for when on an Ed Abroad program?"

No, you are not eligible for payment plans for your education abroad program costs.

Yes! You can use your federal, state and institutional financial aid on approved education abroad programs. Additional information is available on our Financial Aid page.

Numerous scholarships are available to students applying to go abroad. Most students will be eligible to apply for at least 1-2 scholarships, if not more! Additional information is available on our Scholarships Page.

Any current scholarships awarded by CU Boulder will apply toward approved program costs and appear on your bill as they normally would. If you receive private scholarships from another organization, please check with that organization directly about applicability of those funds.

CU Boulder education abroad programs are not COF eligible, nor will the credit earned be deducted from the 145 lifetime credit hour limit.

  • COF funding cannot be used to pay education abroad costs because the COF is used to offset Boulder campus tuition. Students on CU Boulder education abroad programs do not pay tuition to Boulder while abroad.
  • Because you cannot use COF funding for CU Boulder education abroad programs, the credit hours earned while abroad will be exempt from the 145-hour lifetime credit limit.
  • Even though credit earned on CU Boulder education abroad programs doesn't count toward the COF limit, it is posted on the CU degree audit and may be used to satisfy core, major, or elective requirements.

Questions? Please read more about COF at the CU College Opportunity Fund (COF) Project website.

Possibly. Additional information is available in our Financial Aid page.

Any outstanding/overdue balance on your CU Bursar's account must be paid well before your departure. We will check student balances as part of the registration process for the Education Abroad placeholder course. If a balance exists, we will contact you to discuss your options and whether or not you need to withdraw from your program.

  • Students applying to the same provider/program for multiple summer locations/sessions (i.e. two CIEE sessions, two DIS sessions) will not be charged more than one application fee. Students will also not be charged relevant CU Boulder Education Abroad administrative fees nor the CU Boulder Education Abroad international health insurance for their second (or third) program. Students will be charged all other posted program costs, which may include an additional provider discount (see last bullet below).

  • Students applying to different providers/programs for 2-3 summer sessions (i.e. a Global Seminar and a CIEE program):

    • Will be charged any relevant application fees for each program.

    • Will also be charged relevant CU Boulder Education Abroad administrative fees for the first and second program, but not for the third program (if participating on three summer programs)

    • Will also not be charged CU Boulder Education Abroad international health insurance for the second (or third) program.

    • Will then be charged all other posted program costs, which may include a percentage discount from the program itself (see below).

  • Some programs/partners provide a modest discount if students participate on multiple programs in the same summer session. This varies by program, so please inquire with us for more details.

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