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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 cost of your study abroad program, not Northwestern tuition/costs, for the quarter(s) you are abroad. Tuition and fees for Northwestern-run programs are set by Northwestern.

You can find estimates of total costs on each affiliated program page, but check your program's website for the most current cost information.

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. 

2016-2017 Study Abroad Administrative Fees:

Term/Program Fee
Full Year 2016-2017
(Fall, Winter, & Spring quarters abroad)
1-2 Quarters (same program)
(e.g., Fall, Fall-Winter, Winter-Spring, Spring)
2 Quarters (different programs)
(e.g., Fall Quarter on one program, Spring Quarter on a different program)
Summer 2016 $900

2015-2016 Study Abroad Administrative Fees:

Term/Program Fee
Full Year 2015-2016
(Fall, Winter, & Spring quarters abroad)
1-2 Quarters (same program)
(e.g., Fall Quarter, Fall-Winter, Winter-Spring, Spring Quarter)
2 Quarters (different programs)
(e.g., Fall Quarter on one program, Spring Quarter on a different program)
Summer 2015 $875

Exceptions: Students attending Northwestern Exchange Programs, Global JR programs (Latin America, Qatar, and South Africa), the Northwestern Semester in Qatar, and certain NU-sponsored programs are charged a pro-rated Northwestern tuition and, therefore, are not charged the Study Abroad Administrative Fee. Specific program fees can be found on the individual program pages. View these exceptions.

The SAAF is used to fund some of the work of the Study Abroad Office and other campus units, including:

  • Evaluating potential programs for affiliation and monitoring currently affiliated programs.
  • Advising students on an individual basis, as often as the students would like.
  • 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.

Special fees

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

  • Supplementary course fees
    These fees are charges in addition to the regular program fee, academic fees, and tuition, 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 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 deposit: Such deposits are usually 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.