Program Costs & Budgeting

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When you think about participating in a global experience, you might think about the cost of your program, how much it costs to get your host city, or the exchange rate once you get there.  All of these factors, plus more, go into the total cost of a global experience.  

Below, we've outlined most of the costs that you'll need to take into consideration as you think about funding your program.  Most, if not all, of these costs should be outlined on your program's webpage or website - if not, reach out to your Pitt global experiences advisor or program provider for more information.  

To help you compare the cost of different programs, we've created a budget tool that you can download and fill out as you search for the right program for you. You'll notice that, for most of these expenses, program websites give ranges.  While costs like tuition and housing are typically set, travel and personal expenses are dependent on your lifestyle and the choices that you make while on-location.  



It is easy to lose track of how much money you are spending while on your program. If you are abroad, conversion rates can be confusing, the money looks different, and you may be more concerned with your experience than your bank account. We've all been there. Having an honest conversation with yourself about how much money you have to spend while on your program and how you want and need to divide that money up will save you trouble (and money) in the long run. 

There are a lot of expenses you'll need to consider when you are developing a budget. Below are some questions to get you thinking (but keep in mind that this is not all-inclusive). More details on anticipated expenses are in the subsequent sections. 

  • Program price and inclusions
    • Are you responsible for getting from the airport to your housing? What are your options?
    • Are meals included? If not, do you have access to a kitchen?
  • How much are airline tickets from the U.S. to your destination?
  • Do you need a visa? If so, how much does it cost?
  • How much are immunizations?
  • How much will travel toiletries, converters, luggage (if needed), etc. be?
  • Do you plan on eating out a lot?
  • Do you plan on traveling independently while on your program?

The answers to most of these questions can be found on your program's webpage. 

We've also created a budgeting tool that you can download to help you compare the cost of programs against a semester on campus and get an idea of your total cost of going abroad/away. 

Click here to download the budgeting sheet. And for more resources on budgeting, check out the Financial Wellness section. 



Just like on campus, your program will have tuition that covers the cost of the credits that you earn, classroom instruction, and more.  The amount of tuition that you pay will vary based on the type of program that you choose.  For some programs, the cost of tuition is combined with the cost of housing and other program fees to show a single, total cost.  If this is the case, ask your global experiences advisor or program provider for a breakdown. 


Housing and Other Program Fees

Most of the progams offered by Pitt Study Abroad include your housing (with the exception of exchanges and some Pitt-recognized options).  Typically, the cost of your housing is grouped along with other program-related expenses, like excursions and field trips, into a "program fee."  Regardless of how these expenses are broken down, it is important to understand what is and is not included as a part of your program.  For some programs, these fees are combined with the cost of tuition to show a single, total cost.  If this is the case, ask your global experiences advisor or program provider for a breakdown. 


Study Abroad Administrative Fee

As a Pitt student, you are required to pay the Study Abroad Administrative Fee for each program in which you participate, including programs during the same year (fall and spring term, for example) or during the same term (two summer programs, for example).  Currently, the study abroad fee is $400 for semester programs and $300 for summer programs.  There is no Study Abroad Administrative Fee for spring break programs.  The cost of this fee is set by the Board of Trustees and covers administrative expenses related to study abroad.


Flights and Travel Expenses

Most programs do not include transportation to your host location as a part of the tuition, housing, or other program fees, so you will need to budget for this when planning for your experience.  The cost of airfare is dependent on a variety of factors.  You may find a good deal with a few layovers or choose to spend a little bit extra on a direct flight.  You or your family may have airline miles that reduce the cost of your flight. 

Many students who participate in a global experience also choose to travel to other cities and countries while they are abroad/away.  If you think you might want to do this while you are on your program, you should do some preliminary research to understand how much it will cost - be sure to factor in things like flights or trains, meals, local transportation, tours, tickets, etc.  If you have a question, you can reach out to your global experiences advisor or program provider.


Passport and Visa Expenses

To travel outside of the United States, you will need a valid passport.  For US Citizens, passport fees are set by the Department of State and can vary based on whether you've had a passport in the past or need expedited processing.  If you are not a US citizen, you should check with the embassy of your home country to determine if you need to take any action on your passport.

Depending on the length of your program and the country to which you are traveling, you may be required to apply for a visa and you may need to travel to an embassy or consulate to do so.  The cost of visas can vary widely across countries - estimates for this should be available on your program's webpage. 


Meals and Personal Expenses

Some programs include meals while others do not.  You may receive breakfast each day, every meal cooked by your host family, or you may be responsible for cooking for yourself.  Whether or not meals are included as a part of your program will be outlined on your program's website, along with cost estimates for meals that are not included as a part of the program.   Even if all of your meals are included, you should budget for some meals out in your host city (most students like to eat out every once in a while!) and while you travel. 

In addition to meals, you'll need to budget for day-to-day personal expenses.  Think of things like your cell phone and internet charges, taxis, personal hygeine products, and the like.