Study Abroad Basics: Finances
Each study abroad program has its own unique budget. Each budget is created or updated for each term in order to offer the most accurate estimates possible. Budgets can be found by clicking the blue academic term (i.e.: Fall, Spring, Academic Year, Summer or UWinteriM) next to “Cost Information” highlighted in red at the top of each program’s page.
Before looking at your program’s budget, think about your typical expenses during a semester or year at UWM. This will provide you with a good baseline to use when you are looking at expenses in a study abroad program’s budget. The Financial Aid Office’s Cost of Attendance website provides an estimate of the cost of attendance at UWM, which includes much of the same items your study abroad budget will.
You can use the estimated amounts as a guide, but also consider your individual spending habits. Be realistic. For example, any dietary restrictions or preferences may affect the amount you spend on food and should be taken into consideration.
There are a few distinct differences in study abroad budgets based on the type of program you participate in as described below.
Each study abroad budget will list billable items- items for which the CIE Study Abroad Office will bill you on your UWM PAWS (Panther Access to Web Services) account- and non-billable items- Items for which you will not be billed, but that you will want to consider when you are thinking about the cost of studying abroad. While we will offer as much support as we can to assist you with planning and securing those non-billable items, we will not formally bill you for them as you will be responsible for paying for them directly (i.e.: your passport, transportation, food etc.).
Do keep in mind that your Cost of Attendance, as considered by the UWM Financial Aid Office when determining your award for the term that you are abroad, is comprised of the total cost of both billable and non-billable items. In every budget, the billable items will contain the standard fees, which include a non-refundable application fee, UWM administrative fees (see our Financial Fees & Policies page) and mandatory UWM international health insurance.
If you are participating in an exchange program, you pay your regular UWM tuition, the same as you would if you were staying on campus, in addition to the standard fees listed above. The rest of your expenses will be listed in the non-billable section of the program’s budget page.
Study Abroad (Non-Exchange)
If you are participating in a study abroad, or non-exchange, program, you are not charged tuition. Instead, you are charged a comprehensive program fee. This fee includes academic-related expenses and often also additional expenses such as housing, meals, and any additional administrative costs related to the operation of the program. Anything that is not included will be listed in the non-billable section of the program’s budget page. Program fees and inclusions will vary from program to program. Read information found on the program’s page very closely in addition to the cost information sheet. Consult with your Study Abroad Coordinator to determine what is and is not built into your program fee.
If you are participating in a faculty-led study abroad program, you are charged a comprehensive program fee, the same as a non-faculty-led study abroad/non-exchange program. In this case, this fee typically includes all major expenses related to the operation of the program, such as faculty salary, student and faculty housing, local transportation, and entrance fees. International air travel, food, and housing costs may be included in some programs but not in others. Program fees and their inclusions will vary from program to program. Read information found on the program’s page very closely in addition to the cost information sheet. Consult with your Study Abroad Coordinator to determine what is and is not built into your program fee.
Additionally, faculty-led study abroad program budgets are based on a shared group cost and, as such, there will be minimum and maximum amounts displayed, as costs may fluctuate based on the number of participants in the program.
If you are participating in a program that is not sponsored by UWM you will only pay UWM the standard fees listed above. You will be responsible for working directly with your program’s provider to determine fees, and you will then pay the provider directly.
For financial aid purposes, you will provide your own budget with your cost estimates broken down similarly to the budget breakdowns on each of the UWM-sponsored program pages. Consult with your coordinator, Ramona Washington as you work to put together your budget and work through your costs.
Important: If you participate in non-UWM study abroad program and do not work through the CIE Study Abroad Office, you:
- will not be able to use financial aid to pay for host institution program fees.
- will not remain enrolled at UWM while abroad.
- will not receive credit for you experience abroad until the CIE Study Abroad Office has processed your transcript after the program has ended. There will be an additional $250 fee for this service.
- may not receive credit for your non-UWM program if the program does not have proper accreditation.
There are many resources available to help students finance their program. They include but are not limited to, financial aid, scholarships, and individual fundraising. Students are encouraged to explore any and all options. See the Financial Aid and Scholarships page to get started.
Frequently Asked Questions about Finances
For more information on scholarships and grants, visit the Financial Aid and Scholarships page.