Finances

What will studying abroad cost?

The cost of attendance for your semester abroad is based on the budget the Office of Global Learning provides for each program. Please refer to your program’s estimated budget, which details the charges that are paid through your Cornell Bursar account and those for which you are solely responsible. Find the budget on Experience or contact the program’s advisor.

 

All undergraduate students participating on an Office of Global Learning program or a college program or exchange will continue to pay their regular Cornell tuition regardless of their program. Some programs also have established program fees that are in addition to the cost of Cornell tuition. Other out-of-pocket costs that you will need to plan for are housing (if not included in program fees), meals, round-trip airfare, visa, vaccinations, host country insurance (if applicable), in-country transportation, books, supplies, and personal expenses. Note that your budget may be larger or smaller than for your semester at Cornell, and this will depend on the program you select, the cost of living in your host location, and other factors.

Why do I pay my Cornell tuition when I study abroad?

By charging tuition for study abroad, the university will secure the sustainability of study abroad for future Cornell students. The university is aligning its practice with that of the majority of our peer institutions.

 

Cornell is committed to providing high-quality study abroad options to all students and to making study abroad a more integral and viable educational opportunity for undergraduates from all backgrounds and across all areas of study. For study abroad to be equally accessible to all students, the university must be able to provide institutional financial aid matching what students have while on campus. Institutional aid draws from many sources, but the largest fraction is supported by overall tuition revenue.

 

In addition to the financial aid considerations, students are academically and administratively supported by the faculty, staff, and systems of the university, even when studying away from campus. This now includes the university’s support services through the Office of Global Learning and International Travel Health and Safety, established especially for students who study abroad.

What if the program tuition is more than my Cornell tuition?

If you choose to go on an approved program with a higher tuition cost, you will not be charged more than your home school tuition. 

What if the program tuition is less than my Cornell tuition?

Cornell tuition revenue from students studying abroad is used to cover the tuition cost of the programs students attend. To support the portability of institutional financial aid for study abroad, any tuition surplus is returned to the financial aid pool. 

How will my financial aid apply to study abroad?

Financial aid will apply to all approved semester and yearlong programs. The Office of Global Learning or the college or school sponsoring your program will prepare an estimated student budget based on your approved program and submit it to the Office of Financial Aid on your behalf. Financial Aid will use the cost estimates provided to repackage your aid for the semester(s) that you will be abroad.

 

Financial aid awards are adjusted in line with the higher or lower costs of the program. Your family and student contribution will remain the same as on campus, regardless of the estimated cost of attendance. Your federal work study is converted to a loan when you study abroad. You may choose to take this amount out as a loan or not. If you opt to decline the loan, alternative aid resources will not be available to replace that award. 

What happens to my federal work study when I study abroad?

Your federal work study is converted to a loan when you study abroad. You may choose to take this out as a loan or not.

What if I receive a scholarship from my program?

If you receive Cornell financial aid, and you are also awarded a scholarship or grant from your program provider, it’s your responsibility to notify Office of Global Learning. Email us about your outside aid award. Our office will revise your estimated student budget to report the award to the Office of Financial Aid. Financial aid will reduce your overall Cornell aid award by the amount of the outside award. If loans are a part of your aid package, the award will be applied first toward loans to reduce them. If the award exceeds the amount of your loan, any excess will be applied to university grant aid.

 

Your program provider will note the award on the invoice it issues to Cornell and will apply the award to your overall program costs. We will adjust your program fee charge to accommodate the amount of the award. If you do not normally receive Cornell financial aid, you must still notify the Office of Global Learning, so that we can revise your estimated student budget. Your program provider will apply the award to your overall program costs, and this will be reflected on the invoice sent to Cornell. We will adjust your program fee charge to accommodate the amount of the award.

Do I pay program fees out-of-pocket? What about airfare?

Program fees cover expenses other than tuition. Examples of typical program fees include housing, meals (if provided by your program), program-sanctioned excursions and activities, and on-site orientation programs. Most programs do not cover airfare in their program fees. You are responsible for purchasing your airfare independently.

Do I pay my program fee to the provider or to Cornell?

Many providers have comprehensive program fees that may include housing, excursions, orientation, and other non-tuition expenses. If your program bills Cornell for program fees, we will pay the partner, and the charges will be billed to your bursar account. If you have concerns, please speak with a financial advisor in the Office of Global Learning. Some providers bill students directly for housing and other program-related costs. In these situations, you are responsible for paying the partner directly.

When do I pay my program fees?

The Office of Global Learning follows the same billing schedule as if you were on campus. Fall term charges will be billed to your Cornell bursar account in July and will be due in August; spring charges will be billed in December and due in January. Your bursar bill must be paid by the due date, or else you risk losing your registration and will be prohibited from participating in your study abroad program.

How is my housing deposit handled?

Most program providers or universities require a deposit in advance. You will need to pay your housing deposit to your provider or university directly. 

What happens if I withdraw from my program after I have committed?

If you withdraw after committing to participate in your study abroad program or if your admission to the program is rescinded, you may be responsible for Cornell tuition and any non-recoverable partner deposits, tuition, program fees, and withdrawal fees. You remain individually responsible for any financial obligation to a partner program abroad, the Office of Global Learning, or Cornell University.

Can I get a refund if I decide not to go or if my program is canceled?

This depends on the timing of your decision and your program's specific deadlines. You should talk to your advisor about your chosen program's guidelines and be sure you understand them completely before committing or paying funds. A program can be canceled at any time and for reasons beyond anyone's control. Being subject to financial loss is a risk that each student must consider.

Can I get a refund if my program goes virtual?

This depends on whether you decide to withdraw from the program and from Cornell for the remainder of the semester, on the timing of this decision, and on the withdrawal, cancellation, and refund policies of the program. You should talk to your advisor about your chosen program's guidelines and be sure you understand them completely before committing or paying funds. A program can be changed to virtual instruction at any time. If you choose to remain enrolled and continue the program in the virtual format, no refund will be issued.

Will Cornell pay for my flight home or reimburse me if my program is cut short?

No. A return flight from a study abroad experience is an expected cost of participation and should be planned for regardless of what the next few months hold. Other expenses—such as housing, program tuition, and visa costs—are also at risk of forfeit.

Will I have to quarantine at my own expense?

This depends on your specific program's arrangements. All housing is at your own expense in one sense or another. Still, the degree to which you will be supported during an initial quarantine or secondary quarantine or isolation due to exposure will be program-specific. Speak with your advisors regarding program guidelines. Make sure you review the applicable program policies in detail and understand the financial, academic, and logistical risks involved.

What other financial concerns should I have about studying abroad during COVID-19?

Be prepared to pay out-of-pocket for any COVID-19 testing that your program may require once you arrive on site or throughout the duration of the program. There may be additional costs incurred, as each country and location has different entry and testing requirements. At this time, we are unable to specify all additional costs that you may encounter.

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