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Program Costs & Fees

Study abroad costs vary widely and may be more or less expensive than the cost of attendance at Northwestern. Review this information carefully and be sure to 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 and compare them to the cost of Northwestern for the same academic period. Refer to your program's materials for the most current cost information for each available term.

Most study abroad programs operate on a semester calendar, 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 cost more overall 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.

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

Study Abroad Administrative Fee (SAAF)

Students who receive credit at Northwestern for study abroad must pay the Study Abroad Administrative Fee (SAAF) for affiliated, unaffiliated academic year, and unaffiliated summer programs. This fee is in addition to program tuition and other charges, and covers all services related to the administration of study abroad at Northwestern. If you study abroad on more than one affiliated or unaffiliated program in different terms, you will be charged the SAAF separately for each program you attend. If you receive need-based financial aid from Northwestern during study abroad, the SAAF will be included in your study abroad financial aid.

All Northwestern programs and exchanges are exempt from the SAAF, with the exception of the fall quarter IFE portion of the French Field Studies program.

SAAF for 2023-24 and 2024-25

study abroad fee table by program type and term

Program Type & Term


Summer 2023 or Summer 2024
(affiliated & unaffiliated programs only)


Affiliated Academic Year Program: 1-2 Quarters
(e.g., fall, fall-winter, winter, winter-spring, or spring)


Affiliated Academic Year Program: Full Year 2023-24 or 2024-25
(fall, winter, & spring quarters on one program)


Unaffiliated Academic Year Program
(all terms except summer)


Additional Program Fees

In addition to regular tuition, housing, and program fees, some study abroad programs may charge additional fees for certain 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, but you may be eligible for a subsidized student loan for additional tuition or housing expenses, as invoiced by your program.

Special Course Fees or Supplemental Tuition

These fees may be charged in addition to the regular tuition, academic fees, or program fee, typically for enrollment in certain courses or departments. For example, some programs or 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

These 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

These fees may be imposed for the following services:

  • Catered housing or meal plans: Some programs abroad assign students to a residence hall with a mandatory meal plan, which may carry an additional charge.
  • Single rooms: There may be an up-charge if you opt for or are assigned to a single room.
  • 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 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.

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