Financial Considerations

Cost is an important factor when deciding to study abroad. You may be surprised to learn that in many cases, the cost of going abroad is comparable to staying at Columbia. The majority of students receive financial assistance when studying abroad, though the amount or type of support depends on a variety of factors. With careful planning and research into opportunities, you should be able to afford a study abroad experience while at Columbia.

See below for further financial guidance and information. At any point, please feel free to reach out to your study abroad adviser for general guidance as well as the Office of Financial Aid - Columbia College and Columbia Engineering or the Office of Educational Financing - General Studies for more detailed information.

Columbia College and Columbia Engineering

The costs for studying abroad vary based on whether you attend a semester, academic year or summer program. Financial aid, similar to what you may receive at Columbia, is applicable to semester and academic year programs. Summer programs are generally funded individually or with the help of competitive scholarships.

Fall, Spring, or Academic Year

Your Columbia Bill

When you are enrolled in a Columbia-Led or Columbia-Approved Program you remain a full-time Columbia student and pay Columbia tuition directly to Columbia University. You are billed by Columbia for tuition in exactly the same way you would be if you were staying on campus. Columbia then pays academic costs to the program or provider on your behalf.

You will continue to pay the Columbia Health Services Fee while studying abroad. If you are on the Columbia Student Health Insurance, you will continue to be billed for your insurance cost.

You are not billed by Columbia University for room, board, living, or travel expenses. If your financial aid normally covers these categories, you will receive a refund from Columbia University to use for these expenses after your aid has been disbursed. If your financial aid is normally applied only towards tuition costs, then you will pay these costs out-of-pocket directly to your program or on-site as specified in their instructions.

Financial Aid

If you are a Columbia College or Columbia Engineering student and receive financial aid at Columbia University, you will remain eligible for financial aid when you study abroad during the fall, spring or academic year as long as you successfully complete the clearance process. You should also consult with the Financial Aid Office - Columbia College and Columbia Engineering. You must speak with a financial aid officer as soon as you have budget information for your study abroad program and well before you commit to go abroad.

Who Is Paid What?

Columbia College and Columbia Engineering students who are studying abroad during the fall, spring, or academic year are responsible for the following payments:

  • To Columbia University:
    • Columbia University tuition at the regular Columbia University rate, excluding room, board, books, living or travel costs.
    • Columbia Student Health Insurance, if applicable, and the Columbia Health Services Fee.
  • To the third-party provider or exchange program:
    • Room, board, and overseas travel (including flights), if billed by the program.
      • NOTE: If you receive a comprehensive bill (i.e. including tuition and all non-incidental fees), you are responsible for paying the non-academic costs directly to the program.
  • To some third-party providers or exchange programs:
    • A deposit (usually between $200 and $500) to hold your place in the program once you have been accepted. You should pay the deposit and ask the program to credit it towards your non-tuition cost, such as room and board. If you are on extensive financial aid, please discuss with your program representative and study abroad adviser to explore potential alternative payment options.
  • To some third-party providers:
    • Some programs ask that you pay a school of record transcript (CIEE is one of the providers that does this). This is an academic cost, so Columbia University pays it on your behalf. Please ask your program provider to send an invoice directly to the Office of Global Programs and Fellowships at the address below.

If you receive a bill for tuition from your program, please notify the program to have the tuition bill sent to the address below as Columbia University will pay all academic costs (i.e. tuition) on your behalf:

Office of Global Programs and Fellowships
606 Kent Hall, MC 3948
1140 Amsterdam Avenue
New York, NY 10027 USA

Summer

If you are attending a Columbia-Led or Columbia-Approved Program: You pay most costs (i.e., tuition, room, board, etc.) to the program directly whether attending a Columbia-Led or Columbia-Approved Program. Some costs you will have to pay to a vendor directly (i.e. an airline, housing placement organization). Please note that many programs do not organize group flights and you will be responsible for booking your own travel. Financial aid does not apply to the summer session.

School of General Studies

Costs for School of General Studies students are based on the type of program you attend, not the term in which you go abroad.

Columbia-Led Program: Semester or Academic Year

You are responsible for the following payments:

  • Columbia tuition at the regular Columbia rate per point (billed through SSOL).
  • Columbia Student Health Insurance, if applicable, and the Columbia Health Services Fee.
  • Any program-specific fees, such as housing or miscellaneous fees, which may be due to the Office of Global Programs and Fellowships or a third-party provider.

Columbia-Led Program: Summer

You are responsible for the following payments:

  • Program tuition, which may or may not include housing, depending on the program. Please check specific Columbia-Led Program budget sheets to confirm. Budgets for summer are generally updated in early spring semester.

If you receive financial aid at Columbia University, you will often remain eligible for financial aid when you attend a Columbia-Led Program as long as you take a minimum of 6 points. Please speak with your financial aid adviser once you decide on a program and note that some costs (i.e. tuition, housing on some programs) are billed via SSOL, while others (program fee, housing on some programs, flights) are due to the Office of Global Programs and Fellowships or a third party vendor directly.

Columbia-Approved Program: Semester or Summer

You are responsible for the following payments:

  • To the School of General Studies: an administrative fee of $750 per semester. Summer study counts as one semester. You will also continue to pay the Columbia Health Services Fee during the semester.
  • To the third-party program provider or exchange program: All academic and non-academic fees. Speak directly to the Office of Educational Financing to determine if and how your financial aid may be applicable to study abroad.

Fellowships and Scholarships for Studying Abroad

The resources below are directed primarily to students looking for scholarships to fund summer study abroad opportunities, because semester and academic year programs are frequently funded through financial aid, therefore, comparable to staying at Columbia University, the resources below are directed primarily to students looking for scholarships to fund summer opportunities.

Funding for Summer Study Abroad

Begin your research early! Many opportunities will have deadlines in the fall or early winter.

Most scholarships available for summer study abroad are competitive and it is important for you to plan in advance how you will pay for your summer study abroad. Many programs require substantial deposits to reserve your place, so while you may be applying for a scholarship, it is important to have an alternative in mind.

Finding Funding Opportunities

There are a few places that you can look to fund summer study abroad. While location- or program-specific opportunities are listed on individual program pages, there are some scholarships that are more generally applicable to study abroad:

The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship

The Summer Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship

Boren Awards: STEM Initiative

Fund for Education Abroad

General resources:

www.studyabroad.com

www.studyabroadfunding.org

allabroad.us

Office of Global Programs and Fellowships

Columbia College, Columbia Engineering, and School of General Studies students and recent alumni can reach out to the fellowships team in the Office of Global Programs and Fellowships for support in identifying and applying to internal, national, and international fellowship opportunities that may assist in funding your experience abroad. There are a variety of opportunities that support Columbia-Led and Columbia-Approved study abroad in fields as varied as the arts, social sciences, and natural and applied sciences. Your Columbia fellowship advisers are dedicated to working with you throughout your entire application process, from researching and identifying funding opportunities of interest through to the final stages of submitting your fellowship application. Please feel free to reach out to a fellowship adviser for more information and to explore the possibilities.

International Students

Often, scholarship eligibility is determined by citizenship or nationality. If you are an international student, read the eligibility criteria carefully, as you may not be eligible for certain scholarships due to your student visa. Program-specific scholarships (noted on the program pages) and Columbia-specific fellowships are more likely to be open to international students. You should also research funding opportunities offered by your home country's government, consulate and embassy in the U.S.,and organizations that support education in your home country. For more information, please plan to talk with OGPF advisers.