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Pre-Departure Expenses

Some up-front costs related to study abroad occur far in advance of the start of your program, so be sure to budget for these expenses.

If you are a financial aid recipient, your financial aid will be available at the beginning of your study abroad term, but you may need to pay out of pocket for pre-departure expenses before your aid is available. Students with high financial need may be eligible to apply to the Bridge Builder program for assistance with most up-front costs.


If you do not already have a passport that will be valid for at least six months after your intended return to the U.S., you should apply for one as soon as possible.

Program Deposits

After you are accepted to an affiliated program, you may be required to pay a confirmation deposit and/or housing deposit. It is your responsibility to pay the deposit(s) directly to the program, not to Northwestern.

Northwestern students who will attend Northwestern-sponsored programs are not required to pay a deposit, but will be charged a cancellation fee for withdrawing after confirming participation. Northwestern cannot pay or waive deposits for other programs.

Depending on the program, your deposit will be credited either to your Northwestern invoice or to your housing invoice from the program. Deposits are generally non-refundable if you withdraw from the program after confirming.

For financial aid recipients, the amount of your deposit is included in your study abroad aid. If paying your program's deposit is a significant financial hardship for your family, you may contact your program sponsor directly to inquire about having your deposit reduced or deferred.

Student Visas & Consular Fees

It is your responsibility to verify the visa requirements of your host country. Depending on your program or program sponsor, visa expenses may be included in your program fee, or you may need to cover this cost directly (out of pocket) at time of application. For Northwestern financial aid recipients, the cost of visas and related fees will be included in your study abroad financial aid, but you may need to cover this cost out of pocket before your aid is available.

If your student visa application requires a financial guarantee or other letter certifying your finances while abroad, contact your program sponsor to determine if they will provide this certification for you. Otherwise, if you primarily fund your education through financial aid and/or loans, contact Krista Bethel to request a letter of financial support from Northwestern.

International Health Insurance

Northwestern requires all students to have GeoBlue health insurance (or an approved equivalent) for the period of time they are studying and traveling abroad. If your program does not provide the required coverage, you are responsible for purchasing your own GeoBlue policy before the start of your study abroad program. For financial aid recipients, the cost of GeoBlue, if required, is included in your study abroad aid award, but you may need to purchase the policy out of pocket before your aid is available.


Most students are responsible for arranging their own flights to and from their programs; very few programs arrange group flights for participants. Confirm flight arrangements with your program and the date by which you are expected or required to arrive on-site.

Travel Health & Immunizations

If you need to obtain any immunizations prior to your departure, these expenses are your responsibility.

Northwestern financial aid is unable to offer scholarship assistance for the cost of immunizations related to study abroad; however, you may be able to request loan assistance to reimburse you for these costs. Documentation of post-insurance costs is required. Contact Krista Bethel with questions.

Application Fees

There is no application fee for the Northwestern University online study abroad application.

If your program sponsor or host university requires an application fee, this fee is your responsibility. Northwestern cannot pay this fee on your behalf, and financial aid is not available for study abroad application fees, including the Bridge Builder program.

If paying your application fee will present a significant financial hardship, you may want to contact your program directly to inquire if this fee can be waived, but this option is not always possible, especially if you are applying directly to a foreign institution.