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With tuition cost increasing, is study abroad a cheaper alternative?

By: Cole Christensen 

· Cheap Study Abroad,Study Abroad,Destinations,College Tuition Cost,CheapestStudyAbroad

Study abroad programs may stand to gain from rising college tuition costs in the United States. The number of U.S. students enrolling in study abroad programs reached 336,000 in 2016, up 350% since 19901 . When it comes to studying abroad, for most students, the question is not “why?” but rather “why not?”.

3. Tuition, Room, and Board averaged across 264 semester long programs for CET, CEA, SIA, ISA, AIFS; “Transportation” cost equals includes flight from New York City plus a city bus pass for the semester; “Other” cost calculated as typical “other expenses” as reported by collegeboard.com multiplied by Cost of Living Index 

In-state tuition at U.S. public universities has grown nearly 20% over the last 5 years and 237% over the last 20 years2. According to collegeboard.org, When considering tuition, room and board, transportation, and other living expenses, U.S. public university students pay on average $12K per semester for in-state tuition and $20K for out of state tuition. For private university students the burden is even greater, with estimated total expenses of $20K per semester.

When the price tag for school in the U.S. is steep, studying abroad offers not only experiences of a lifetime, but for many students, financial relief. We aggregated tuition costs for 264 semester-long (~15 credit hour) study abroad programs administered by five of the largest program providers in the United States. The average cost (including tuition, room, and board) across programs was nearly $15K. When adding transportation and other living expenses, it’s cheaper for private and public / out-of-state students to study abroad in countries like Italy, France, and Spain than stay home for school. Students that enroll in accredited abroad programs can effectively achieve a form of “diploma arbitrage” by substituting U.S. university credits for lower cost credits earned abroad. When this reality is paired with generally manageable coursework and nights spent exploring a new city, the decision to study abroad is made easy for many students.

What’s the most affordable program of the bunch? Students can enroll in ISA’s “Spanish Language, Latin American Studies & Courses with Locals” program at “The Universidad Latina – Heredia” in Heredia, Costa Rica for $8,250. The 15-week program includes housing with a local family, two meals a day, and an excursion to the Arenal Volcano near La Fortuna.

Tags: cheapest study abroad programs, cheap study abroad programs, best places to study abroad, cost to study abroad, cost to study abroad in Italy, cost to study abroad in Spain, college tuition cost

Sources & Assumptions

1. https://www.forbes.com .

2. https://www.usnews.com

3. Tuition, Room, and Board averaged across 264 semester long programs for CET, CEA, SIA, ISA, AIFS; “Transportation” cost equals includes flight from New York City plus a city bus pass for the semester; “Other” cost calculated as typical “other expenses” as reported by collegeboard.com multiplied by Cost of Living Index

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