You Can Afford To Study Abroad!

That was the theme of the aptly named Affording Study Abroad Workshop held Tuesday evening, on September 24, 2019. Hosted at the Wesleyan Resource Center, the workshop was a collaborative effort between representatives from the Office of Study Abroad and the Financial Aid Office. The presentation addressed student concern regarding program costs, the billing process for studying abroad, and answered questions regarding financial aid disbursement. The workshop also went over three case studies which gave students insight into the billing process through visual representation. By comparing the costs associated with each case, students were better able to understand how aid disbursement was affected by program costs and features.

The impetus for the event was stated early on in the presentation, with the presenters Emily Gorlewski, the Associate Director of Study Abroad, and Michelle Jarvis-Lettman, the Associate Director of Financial Aid and Study Abroad Liaison, reasserting Wesleyan University’s belief that study abroad is an essential part of a comprehensive liberal art education that all students should have attainable access to.

The bottom line of their presentation: if you can afford to attend Wesleyan, you can afford to study abroad.

Here are some tips and things to keep in mind regarding affording study abroad:

1.) Financial aid is mobile 

When it comes to studying abroad for a semester or academic year, one’s financial aid is mobile. Yes, mobile! It will go with you and help cover the expenses.  So, recipients of financial aid packages should expect their family contribution amounts or student contribution amount to remain the same! That is so long as the total costs per semester do not exceed $38,772 (The $38,772 is the per-semester cost of attendance at Middletown for the Fall 2019/Spring 2020 school year). This makes studying abroad far more accessible than one might anticipate.

2.) Students are billed for Wesleyan tuition while abroad, but not Wesleyan room and board 

As the students will be receiving Wesleyan credit on their transcripts and have access to the same supportive resources while abroad, they will be charged Wesleyan tuition. This is called the “home school tuition model”. The rationale behind this model is that if you can afford to attend Wesleyan, you’ll be able to afford to study abroad as resource services, such as financial aid, are still available to you. However, where they may discover some variance is in a program’s room and/or board. Housing accommodations and the cost of living may differ program, which may work in students’ favor.

3.) Consider location 

The cost of living can vary from country to country, region to region. It is important to keep that in mind while you narrow your search. Think rationally about what you want to prioritize during your experience. How do travel expenses compare to dining out? Some destinations may require more advanced planning or frugal spending. The check from dining out in Copenhagen or London will be significantly different compared to that of Prague or Mexico City.

4.) Thoroughly examine program features 

While a good rule of thumb is to be mindful of a location’s cost of living it is equally if not more so important to look at what features are included with the program. Many providers budget in travel and cultural excursions, while others go are far as to cover transportation expenses/metro cards, phone plans, or allocate spending stipends. Knowing what is included can eliminate headaches and allow you to weigh your options more thoroughly.

5.) Regarding scholarships  

If you are not a recipient of financial aid, scholarships are an excellent avenue to pursue to help cover your semester abroad. However, for students on financial aid, they often wonder how scholarships affect their financial aid awards and if they are worth pursuing. If your expected costs exceed $38,722, then yes, as the scholarship could help cover the cost difference.  If your expected costs are below $38,722 the scholarship is applied directly to your Wesleyan bill, but your expected family or student contribution wouldn’t change.

6.) When it comes to crowdfunding 

Crowdfunding has become an accessible and visible means to raise awareness and financial support for our passions. While one might think that it is a great option to help finance studying abroad, that is not always the case. Any resources gained crowdfunding are officially seen as money you can contribute to the program costs and will lessen your Wesleyan financial aid.

If you are interested in studying abroad and/or want to know more about your financial options, don’t hesitate to contact the Office of Study Abroad at, or come in during their open advising hours MWF 10-12pm, TTh 2-4pm.