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Financing Your Education Abroad

Participating in an SMU Abroad program does not have to be expensive! The key is to start early and plan ahead. Read through the Ten Tips below.

Ten Tips to Keep It Affordable


  1. Meet with your Financial Aid Counselor
    Make an appointment with your SMU Financial Aid Counselor to discuss if your financial aid package is transferable to your program abroad. If you are a President's, Hunt or Global Learning Scholar, you will be able to use your award for an SMU Abroad program. Other financial aid may also be applicable.

  2. Explore Scholarships for International Study
    SMU has established several scholarship programs to support SMU students on SMU Abroad programs. Awards vary in number and amount. Students must be enrolled as full-time, undergraduate SMU students. Please note students receiving full tuition scholarships are ineligible to apply.

    SMU-in-Copenhagen offers scholarships to qualified students who are interested in semester or academic year study.

    There are nationally competitive awards that fund undergraduate study abroad opportunities. The SMU Fellowship and Awards Office in Perkins Administration Building is a good resource. See below for a list of NATIONALLY COMPETITIVE SCHOLARSHIPS AND AWARDS.

    Some of the provider programs also offer scholarships for students studying on their programs. See below for SMU-AFFILIATED PROVIDER SCHOLARSHIPS.

    For more information about the basic facts of financial aid for study abroad, go to: 

  3. Consider Program Duration
    Total program fees for summer and winter programs are less expensive then semester programs. However, summer and winter programs are optional and not included in all financial aid packages.

    Semester and academic year programs provide more value per dollar spent since you earn twice to three times more credit for a semester program as a summer or winter program. The cost of some programs is the same as studying on the Dallas campus. Financial aid is applicable to SMU Abroad semester year programs.

  4. Consider Program Location
    Program costs can vary widely by program location. For example, many large cities in Europe have high costs of living, while cities of comparable size in Latin America, Southeast Asia or Africa usually have much lower costs of living. If you consider a program in a non-traditional location-- you will usually save money! You may find that a program in a small town, regardless of the country, provides better value than a program in a large city.

  5. Compare Exchange Rates
    Compare the exchange rate of the dollar to other national currencies. You may find that your dollar stretches more in some countries than in others.

  6. Look for Student Discounts
    Students abroad often are eligible for discounted fares, entrances, goods and services. Sometimes this only requires a student ID card. Ask returned students what is out there. Did you know that many museums have one day or night per week when students get in free? See Useful Links for student travel information.

  7. Save Now; Spend Later
    How do you spend your money? Are there ways you could save? Are there things that you can do without?  Do you currently have a job? If not, would you consider getting one? Many students can save plenty just by working part-time and budgeting carefully.


  8. Budget your Funds Carefully
    After you have been on-site for a few days or weeks, look at your budget. If you are on limited funds, make a weekly or monthly budget and stick to it!

  9. Get to Know your Neighborhood
    It is exciting to go abroad, meet new people, learn new ways. Travel can cost plenty. If you are trying to save money, consider limiting your travel to the vicinity in which you are studying rather than traveling grand distances or to lots of other countries.

    Many students reach the end of their program and ralize that, while they have traveled extensively, they have not explored the local area. You can save money by exploring your program location.

  10. Live Like a Native
    Observe how people in your host country or city live, where they eat, where they shop, etc. If you live like a local rather than as a tourist, you are likely to save money.
Last modified 01/27/2012