Financial Information-Study Abroad - Carnegie Mellon University

Financial Information

Parents wonder “how will we pay for study abroad” and “can we afford to send our son/daughter overseas?”  There is no simple answer; some study abroad experiences cost less than a typical term at Carnegie Mellon and some cost more.    For study abroad during the academic year, students who are otherwise eligible often can use federal and/or state aid.   Federal, state, and Carnegie Mellon aid packages rarely, if ever, apply to summer overseas experiences.  Specific scholarships to support study abroad are available to students who plan well in advance. 

Families and students have options and decisions to make about payment based on the type of study abroad program selected. 

If a student chooses an exchange program or Sponsored Study Abroad program, payment will be made directly to Carnegie Mellon; students who pay through Carnegie Mellon are eligible for scholarships, grants, financial aid and loans (except work study). To determine if a sponsored program is an appropriate financial choice for your student please complete the Sponsored Financial Worksheet.

If a student selects to enroll directly through an external program (such as IES, CIEE, SIT, etc.) or at an overseas university, payment will be made directly to the program or overseas university, not to Carnegie Mellon. 

These examples may help illustrate the options:

  • Exchange.  Joe receives an undergraduate grant from Carnegie Mellon.  He chose the EPFL exchange in Switzerland because of the curricular fit in engineering and long-standing reputation of the program.  He and his parents will pay the then-current standard Carnegie Mellon tuition amount and maintain all financial aid and merit funding.  They will separately pay for room, board, travel and miscellaneous expenses, out of pocket. 
  • Sponsored Programs.  Jane receives a university grant and other scholarships that cover most of her tuition each semester. She chose a sponsored program in Spain because of the curricular fit, her interest in Spanish culture and her funding.  Jane and her family will pay the then-current, standard tuition, room and board through Carnegie Mellon and maintain all funding. Carnegie Mellon distributes the tuition to the study abroad programs and allocates a fund to the students for room, board, travel, and educational expenses where appropriate.
  • External Programs.   Sara receives a Stafford loan.  She chose an external program in China operated by a well respected study abroad organization that offers many US-style services.  In this case, she does not pay Carnegie Mellon tuition, but can use her Stafford loan to study abroad.  She and her family will pay directly to study abroad program which may or may not cover all of her room, board and travel expenses; this varies by program.
  • Summer.  Miho will study abroad in Peru during the summer because this plan fits best into her busy academic schedule.  The expenses for her summer program are about $5,000.  She can not use any of her federal, state or Carnegie Mellon aid for various reasons.  By planning well in advance, she was able to secure $2,000 in study abroad scholarships; all other costs will be paid by her and her family, out of pocket.
Determining the best study abroad program option and understanding the financial implications can be complicated. Please contact a study abroad advisor to discuss your student’s individual needs.