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Information for Parents: Money Matters

What about the cost?
Each of our programs includes information on total estimated costs. Some of these are fixed costs – like tuition or the program fee for faculty-led programs – but others are estimates based on information from alumni, partner campuses and staff research; actual costs may vary from the estimates because of factors such as fluctuations in currency exchange rates and airfares. Still, the cost information is designed to provide students with a starting point for planning.

Exchange programs (semester or year-long programs at our partner schools) do not have a program fee. Students pay regular UWG tuition and fees, and don’t pay tuition at the host campus. Students pay for other costs – like airfare and housing – on their own, and can use financial aid in the same way they would on campus. The one exception is work-study, since overseas institutions will not be able to provide U.S. Federal Work-Study positions.

Unlike exchange programs, faculty-led and consortium programs all have a specific program fee that covers much of what students need to live and study at the destination. Each program page lists what’s included in the fee; airfare, housing and insurance are always part of the package, while other items, such as meals, transportation on-site and excursions vary based on the program’s itinerary. As with exchange programs, students may apply financial aid to program fees and tuition. Because these are educational programs, students also have access to resources (like low-interest loans and scholarships) to help cover the cost that they wouldn’t have access to later. Keep in mind that programs like these can negotiate group prices, so costs are usually lower than what students would pay to spend a comparable length of time abroad on their own.

This website contains additional information for students on ways to finance a study abroad program (click here). The university offers scholarships to assist students in studying abroad, and our office provides workshops on external funding opportunities, as well.

Once a student is abroad, how can they get foreign currency?
Technology has made obtaining foreign currency and making purchases much easier these days. Visa and MasterCard are generally accepted in urban areas around the world; American Express and Discover are also often accepted, although not as universally as Visa and Mastercard. ATMs are plentiful and accept most bank cards. To be sure, it’s best that ATM cards bear a major credit card logo or are part of either the Honor or Cirrus networks. Be aware that both the foreign ATMs and your local bank will charge a transaction fee, but these are generally much less than the fees that would be incurred by exchanging dollars for local currency at a bank. Students may purchase a small amount of foreign currency prior to departure at major banks in Atlanta (check ahead of time whether a particular branch offers foreign currency services) or at the Atlanta airport: be aware, however, that purchasing currency at a currency exchange desk at an airport carries a higher fee than getting money from an ATM, so it is usually preferable to obtain local currency from an ATM at a student's destination rather than buying it from an exchange desk. Traveller's checks are not recommended since they've become harder to use overseas. Students will receive further information about banking and getting money overseas at the orientation for their program.