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Money Matters 

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Financial Planning for Learning Abroad

Tuition Discounts

Program Costs & Additional Expectations

Billing Timelines & Due Dates

Making Payments

Making Purchases Abroad

Onsite Financial Obligations

Tax Preparation & Tax Credits

Students Seeking Resident Status

Financial Planning for Learning Abroad

Financing can be one of the most intimidating aspects of learning abroad...but it doesn’t have to be! To help you organize your plans and determine which programs fit your budget, the Learning Abroad Office hosts workshops. A workshop schedule can be found on our website. In this workshop, we discuss:

  • Charges and fees associated with certain programs
  • Tuition for learning abroad
  • Scholarship opportunities through the U
  • Currency exchange rates
  • Long term planning
  • Ways to maximize your scholarship potential

Budgeting is another important part of financial planning. Consider the funds/grants/loans you anticipate receiving. Carefully read the program costs to determine what is included in the program fee. Don't forget to consider your spending habits, the cost of international airfare, passport and visa fees, and your additional travel and meal costs (if you plan to travel during your program). To help you plan, the Learning Abroad Office has developed a budget worksheet:

Learning Abroad Program Budget Worksheet 

Tuition Discounts

Dependents of University faculty and staff should be aware that the Faculty/Staff Tuition Discount cannot be applied to Learning Abroad Programs. Additionally, the medical student tuition waiver for main campus courses cannot be applied to Learning Abroad Programs. If you receive any other type of tuition waiver or discount, contact the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office to determine if that benefit can be used on a learning abroad program.

Program Costs & Additional Expenses

Expenses covered in the program cost vary by program. Contact the Learning Abroad Office to find out what expenses are included in the program cost. Program costs do not include immunizations, passport fees, visa fees, personal expenses, or independent travel. Contact your faculty director about flights. Flight expenses are typically NOT included in program cost and are the responsibility of the student.

All students are required to submit a payment at the time of application. For faculty directed and exchange programs, a $500 payment is paid at the time of application. This fee is applied to the program cost of your program. For affiliate programs, a $500 payment is paid at the time of application. This fee is in addition to the program cost.

Program fees typically appear on your student account in 2 increments:

  1. Initial Payment-Instructions on making an initial payment can be found in your Learning Abroad application.
  2. Learning Abroad Balance-Before departure, the Learning Abroad Office will apply the remaining balance for your program to your student account. You will receive detailed information on billing and due dates during pre-departure orientation.

In addition to the published program cost, you should budget for some additional expenses. The amount of money you will need for additional expenses depends on individual spending habits and other costs you might incur on your program. Review the details of your program fees and be sure you understand which expenses are included and which are not. If you are uncertain about a particular expense, inquire at the Learning Abroad Office for clarification or contact your faculty director. Former program participants can also give you an idea of how much spending money you might need.

Be sure to calculate your expected expenses in both U.S. dollars and the host country currency. A reliable currency converter can be found on-line. Create a budget before departure and stick to it! Planning in advance will alleviate stress on-site. When creating your budget, we recommend that you consider the following:

  • Exit taxes (check with your airline to see if these were included in the cost of your ticket)
  • Meals
  • Local transportation
  • Entertainment and souvenirs
  • School supplies
  • Incidentals
  • Visas and passports
  • Immunizations
  • Independent travel
  • Flights (if applicable)
  • Transportation back to the Airport (if applicable)

Billing Timelines & Due Dates

Billing timelines and due dates depend on when the program takes place. Students are provided with a billing statement at the end of the term preceding their program. For example, if you are participating in a summer program, you will receive your billing statement in April. Bills are sent to students via Umail or will be viewable in pre-departure orientation.

Within a few weeks of receiving your bill, the balance due for your program will be charged to your student account. You are required to pay the amount on your bill IN FULL by the deadline published on the billing statement, even if a lesser amount is showing. Learning abroad scholarships are not likely to be reflected on your account at the time in which your bill is due. Scholarships are typically applied on the following timeline:

  • Fall semester, full year, and fall break programs:Middle of August
  • Winter break, spring semester, and spring break programs:Middle of January
  • Summer programs:Middle of May

If you receive a scholarship and it is not reflected on your student account at the time in which your bill is due, you should subtract the amount of your scholarship award from the balance due and pay that amount. For instance, if your balance due is $2500, and you received a $1000 scholarship award, you should pay $1500 by the due date posted on your billing statement.

Making Payments

A billing statement will be sent to your Umail account or will be viewable in pre-departure orientation. Be aware that the charges will be posted in increments, and the full amount must be paid by the due date specified in the payment information you receive from our office, even if a lesser amount is showing.

If the full balance is posted on your account, you can make your payment on-line through CIS. If the full balance is not posted, payment must be made in person. Checks should be made out to the University of Utah and should include your U of U ID#. Payments may also be made in person at the Cashier’s Window, 165 Student Services Building or by phone, (801) 581-7344.

Making Purchases Abroad

Most countries do not use U.S. dollars as their currency. You can exchange U.S. dollars for foreign currency at most airports and banks. You are likely to get a better exchange rate at a bank than at the airport. If you prefer to have local currency before departure, contact your bank. Many banks can exchange currency for a fee. Contact the bank at least two weeks before departure. Some currencies are not readily available and need to be ordered in advance.

A credit or debit card with ATM capabilities is necessary when traveling abroad. With most ATM cards, you can withdraw money in the local currency. Check with your bank for information about using an ATM card outside the U.S. We also suggest checking with your bank about charges for withdrawing cash and the exchange rates in other countries. Your debit card should have a Visa or MasterCard symbol.

We recommend that you have a credit card to use in the event of an emergency. Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted; Discover and American Express are less commonly accepted. The credit card must be issued in your name. We recommend that you make a copy of the card, along with the appropriate telephone numbers, to reference in case it is lost or stolen. Most countries continue to use cash for smaller purchases and you should not expect to be able to use a credit or debit card with all merchants.

You must contact your Credit Card Company and bank before departure to inform them that you intend to use your card abroad. Your credit or debit card may be disabled if you do not inform the company.

We do NOT recommend using traveler’s checks. Traveler’s Checks can be VERY DIFFICULT to cash abroad.

Students near Salt Lake City can also contact Travelex to obtain foreign currency and debit cards. By presenting a university ID card, you are eligible for discounts on transaction fees, ATM cards, and foreign currency. Contact Travelex at 801-532-3374 for more information.

Onsite Financial Obligations

You are responsible for all expenses incurred at your host institution that are not covered in your program cost (i.e. weekend excursions organized by the host institution, room key deposits, charges for damages to housing facilities, library fines, medical treatment, etc.). Please settle your accounts before you return to the U.S. Unpaid bills may result in a hold on your academic records. Any unpaid charges forwarded to the University of Utah will be directly applied to your student account.

Tax Preparation & Tax Credits

If you will be outside of the United States during the spring semester, be sure to make arrangements for tax preparation before departure. Information about paying taxes from abroad can be found on the IRS website.

Please note that, due to the unique financial structures of learning abroad programs, most program fees and costs are not eligible for IRS education credits. We recommend that you consult an accountant if you intend to claim the costs associated with a learning abroad program on your annual taxes.

Additionally, the University cannot fundraise for individual students. Thus, most private donations given to you are not tax deductible. The University is unable to provide any documentation for personal donations that would allow an individual to consider the donation tax deductible.

Students Seeking Resident Status

Students seeking to obtain resident status can participate in approved Learning Abroad programs without penalty.  The U’s official policy for obtaining residency is found on the Admissions website. .  Learning Abroad is referred to as “study abroad” in the text. To prove that you are participating in an approved program, you must request a letter from Learning Abroad.  The letter will verify your participation in an approved program as well as the official program dates.  To request this letter, please contact Learning Abroad  at learningabroad@utah.edu

Please note that independent travel before or after your program is not considered an approved part of the program.  The policy grants students a 1-week grace period before the official program start date and an additional 1-week grace period after the program officially ends.  Choosing to remain outside of the state of Utah beyond the grace periods may jeopardize your ability to obtain residency.  For further details on the residency policy, please contact Admissions at residency@sa.utah.edu.

Last Updated: 5/5/17