Study Abroad

Budgeting & Fundraising Tips

Students who have a good understanding of how to plan financially for their international experience feel much more empowered as they go through the study abroad process. Applying for scholarships is important, but there are also budgeting and creative fundraising actions that you can take right now to help make your study abroad expenses more manageable.

Budgeting Tips

Plan Out Your Payments

You will feel more in control of your finances if you plan out when program payments and expenses are due and when financial aid and scholarships will disburse.

Action Items:

Helpful tips:

  • Financial aid and scholarships disburse at the start of the quarter you are going abroad.
  • Your program/exchange fees will be due on the tuition deadline for quarter you are going abroad (financial aid will disburse to cover this cost).
  • You will need to plan for paying pre-departure expenses such as airfare, passport and visa fees (if applicable) and insurance before financial aid or scholarships disburse. Additionally, if your program starts earlier than the financial aid disbursement date (i.e. early fall and fall semester programs), you will need to cover expenses like food and personal spending money on your own until your aid comes through. To help with these various payments, many students utilize short-term loans through the Office of Student Financial Aid and airfare deposit programs.
  • Make sure you understand how financial aid works for summer and early fall programs, as it is different than for programs that occur during the regular academic year.

Create a Monthly Budget

If you have a good understanding of how you spend your money currently, you will be better prepared to financially plan for your study abroad program. Many people find that once they create a budget and track expenses, there are expenses that can be adjusted or eliminated altogether.

Action Items:

  • Our Study Abroad Creative Fundraising Worksheet provides examples of ways to save and generate money for your study abroad experience.
  • Create a budget for your current expenses in Seattle and see if there are expenses you can reduce to help you save money. This practice in budgeting will also help you keep track of costs once you are abroad.
  • Contact UW Study Abroad for a study abroad program’s estimated budget from a previous year. Refer to our Financial Planning Sample Budget to help you understand which costs are variable and in your control, meaning you can utilize the good budgeting habits that you have developed to help you handle your expenses.

Get Advice

Understanding the budgeting and payments for study abroad can be complex so take advantage of the support our office provides.

Action Items:

Fundraising Tips

Get Creative

Think about the communities you are part of and skills you might have that could generate money. A combination of strategies is usually needed, so don’t feel like you meet all your fundraising goals with a single activity.

Action Items:

  • Explore fundraising ideas from past students:
    • If you have a job, put aside a portion of every paycheck
    • Ask for financial contributions rather than birthday or holiday gifts
    • Organize a car wash, bake sale, garage sale or party fundraiser with friends
    • Ask family members or mentors to donate frequent flier miles
    • Research if any community or religious groups you belong to have scholarship or donation programs
    • Start a kickstarter or gofundme site
  • Read through this 15 Ways to Save Money for Study Abroad list for more ideas

Make a Plan

Small steps can often lead to big results if you start planning early and are disciplined in your approach to raising additional funds.

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