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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 return to the U.S., you should apply for one as soon as possible.

Program Deposits

If your program requires a confirmation deposit and/or housing deposit, you are responsible for paying the deposit(s) directly to the program, not to Northwestern. Program confirmation deposits are generally non-refundable. Depending on the program, your deposit will be credited either to your NU invoice or to your housing invoice from the program.

For students on financial aid, the amount of your program confirmation 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.

Northwestern cannot pay or waive program deposits for students.

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 overall 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.

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 receive financial aid and/or loans through Northwestern, contact Krista Bethel about obtaining such a letter 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.


Although some programs include international group airfare in their program costs, students are usually responsible for arranging their own flights to and from their programs. Confirm flight arrangements with your program and the date by which you are expected or required to arrive on-site.

Some common travel vendors*:

  • STA Travel: STA offers an airfare deposit program, which allows study abroad students to book flights on a buy-now-pay-later model, with a modest deposit to lock in the ticket and fare.
  • Student Universe: Discount flights and travel options for youth and students.
  • Shop around! Your program sponsor may have additional information about flight deals.

*Note: The Study Abroad Office does not endorse these vendors; contracts, agreements, terms, or pricing provisions have not been negotiated with them on behalf of the University.

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

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.