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Program Costs & Fees

Study abroad costs vary widely and may be considerably more or less expensive than the cost of attendance at Northwestern University. Please review this information carefully and discuss it with your parent(s) or guardian(s).

Program Costs

When you study abroad, you will pay the tuition and costs of your program, not Northwestern tuition, for the quarter(s) you are abroad. Program costs vary widely, and may be more or less expensive than the cost of studying at Northwestern. You can find estimates of total costs on each program page, but check your program's website for the most current cost information.

Most study abroad programs operate on semesters, while Northwestern's academic calendar is based on quarters. In part because a semester is longer than a quarter, many (though not all) fall semester study abroad programs tend to cost more than fall quarter at Northwestern. On the other hand, spring semester programs tend to be much less expensive than spending the winter and spring quarters at Northwestern. Full-year study abroad programs tend to be comparable to or less expensive than a full year at Northwestern. Krista Bethel can provide you with specific information about how your study abroad program/term compares to Northwestern costs.

Financial aid for your study abroad term is also based on the cost of your program, not Northwestern tuition.

Study Abroad Administrative Fee (SAAF)

Most students who receive credit for study abroad at Northwestern must pay the Northwestern University Study Abroad Administrative Fee (SAAF). This fee is in addition to program tuition and other charges, and covers all services related to the administration of study abroad at Northwestern. The SAAF is used to fund some of the work of the Study Abroad Office and other campus units, including:

  • Advising students on an individual basis, as often as the students would like.
  • Evaluating potential programs for affiliation and monitoring currently affiliated programs.
  • Monitoring worldwide events and providing assistance during emergencies.
  • Developing and implementing a variety of educational programs, including information sessions, pre-departure orientation and other events, and special events for students who have returned from study abroad.
  • Producing informational materials on study abroad for students, faculty, and administrators.
  • Talking with parents/guardians about the study abroad process and related issues.
  • Registering students for generic study abroad courses while they are abroad so that they remained enrolled.
  • Working closely with faculty and administrators to clarify and streamline study abroad materials and policies.
  • Maintaining contact as needed with students abroad.
  • Facilitating the transfer of credit once students return to campus.

Exceptions: Students attending Northwestern Exchange programs and most Northwestern-sponsored programs offering direct credit are not charged the Study Abroad Administrative Fee. Specific program fees can be found on the individual program pages.

2017-2018 Study Abroad Administrative Fees:

Term/Program Fee
Full Year 2017-2018
(Fall, Winter, & Spring quarters abroad)
1-2 Quarters
(e.g., Fall, Fall-Winter, Winter-Spring, Spring)
Summer 2017 $900

2016-2017 Study Abroad Administrative Fees:

Term/Program Fee
Full Year 2016-2017
(Fall, Winter, & Spring quarters abroad)
1-2 Quarters
(e.g., Fall, Fall-Winter, Winter-Spring, Spring)
Summer 2016 $900

Additional Program fees

In addition to regular tuition, housing, and other related program fees, some study abroad program providers may charge additional fees for various academic, housing, or extracurricular options. These fees will not be invoiced by Northwestern; your program sponsor will bill you directly for these fees, if applicable. Northwestern financial aid is not available for these types of charges.

  • Special course fees or supplemental tuition
    These fees are charged in addition to the regular tuition, academic fees, or program fee, and may be assessed to students for enrollment in certain courses or departments. Some foreign universities may charge a supplemental course fee for courses taken in science, engineering, and other specialty areas, often those involving laboratory, studio, or field work.
  • Additional program courses or options, which may include:
    • Pre-program language courses or workshops
    • Non-credit classes or lessons
    • Field trips or excursions that are not a required part of the program
    • Optional pre-sessions or orientation programs
  • Supplemental housing fees, usually imposed for the following services:
    • Special housing arrangements: Program providers may place students in a different type of housing, such as apartments or homestays, if foreign university accommodations (such as dorms) are not available to study abroad students.
    • Housing with extra features: Full-service facilities, telephone, or computer links. This surcharge may also include student activity fees, mandatory board program fees, or miscellaneous charges such as housing application or registration fees.
    • Housing damage deposit: Such deposits may be refunded to the student after the program, less any damages, fines, or outstanding debts in the student's name.
    • Meal plans: Some programs abroad may assign students to a residence hall with a mandatory meal plan.

Because Northwestern cannot monitor or anticipate the type or amount of any of these special fees, contact your study abroad program provider for billable estimated program costs and to ascertain what fees, if any, will apply.