Application Fee

All students are responsible for a $100 application fee.


All students participating in a USD study abroad program will be billed the USD standard full-time tuition rate for 12-18 units. This is a fixed cost and it does not vary across programs.

Program Fee

The program fee varies greatly from program to program and these fees do not cover the same expenses for all programs. The billing and payment structure for program fees also varies from program to program. For some programs, the program fee is paid directly to USD and typically includes housing, on-site support, cultural activities and excursions, and international insurance. For others, all program fees may be paid directly to the partner institution and these inclusions will vary greatly (please see “Billing & Payments” below). Students are responsible for reviewing the budget sheets of each program. Many factors can influence the program fee, which include:

• Location & length of the program
• Housing type and inclusions (such as meals or transportation)
• Number of excursions and activities

Additional Expenses

Additional costs typically include domestic/international transportation, books and other educational materials and supplies, passports and photographs, visas, immunizations, ISIC or other student cards, spending money, independent on-site travel, transportation passes, or incidental expenses. All students incur the cost of passports and photographs and, where applicable, visas and immunizations. The total cost of participating on a study abroad program can be dramatically affected by the individual student’s budgetary habits and the fluctuations of currency exchange rates against the dollar. Students have different lifestyles as well as different personal resources and must adapt their standards of living abroad accordingly. Therefore, the bottom line of each student’s actual expenditures abroad may be different, but all students should approach the prospect of living abroad with maturity and a sense of financial responsibility.

Recommendation to PurchaseTravel/Flight Insurance

The Office of International Study Abroad STRONGLY recommends you purchase flight/travel insurance when making your flight arrangements to protect you in the event that you are not able to participate in the study abroad program (due to an emergency, if you become ineligible due to scholastic probation, if you become ineligible due to conduct infractions, if you become ineligible as a result of failing to complete application requirements including required medical clearance and documentation, etc.).



There are different billing structures for USD semester programs and it is the students’ responsibility to review these structures and adhere to any associated policies. Students will typically be billed one to two months prior to the start of the study abroad program. Below are examples of the types of billing structures used:

  • Billing Structure A: Both tuition and program fees are billed by USD.
  • Billing Structure B: Only tuition is billed by USD; Program fee is billed by the study abroad provider. Students must adhere to the payment deadlines of the study abroad program provider.
  • Billing Structure C: Tuition and insurance are billed by USD. There is no set “program fee” because there are no included excursions or activities and students are responsible for securing their own housing abroad. This structure is common in exchange programs.

Payment Structure & Deadlines

All program-related expenses will be billed directly to students’ USD account. Expenses billed directly by USD (tuition for all programs and program fee for some programs) are due in-full 10 days prior to the start of the program. Expenses billed by study abroad program providers have various payment structures and deadlines and students must adhere to these third party policies.

Students may request a payment plan for semester study abroad programs by contacting their study abroad advisor. Payment plan requests are evaluated and approved on a case-by-case basis by USD Student Accounts—the International Center does NOT evaluate or approve students for payment plans. Student Accounts will review the requesting students’ payment history and determinations will be made based on this information. Students on payment plans are responsible for making payments on the dates established by Student Accounts.

Financial Aid

The USD International Studies Abroad programs listed on this website are regarded as extensions of the University’s academic curriculum. Financial aid, therefore, is available to eligible students for one semester of approved study abroad in a USD-affiliated program with the exception of tuition remission. However, it is important to note that financial aid packages may change depending on which program the student is attending. Students should meet with a Financial Aid Counselor to discuss this prior to the start of their program. It is advised to review the Financial Aid Reminders for Students Studying Abroad for an overview of the recommended steps for students going abroad. For more details on financial aid packages and studying abroad, please read the Guide to Financial Aid Consumer Information available on the Financial Aid website. Students wishing to study abroad for a second semester can only use their Financial Aid if their program is considered an Exchange. International Studies Abroad Advisors are readily available to assist students in finding programs that fit this requirement.


Students should settle on the amount of money they will need while abroad and should make both weekly and daily budgets and stick to them. Learning the value of the local currency, speaking with past program participants. For conversion rates, consult a foreign exchange website such as Oanda.

Diversifying Finances

The safest way to protect your finances abroad is to diversify them by using an ATM card, a debit card, and credit cards. Should one form be lost or stolen, you will have access to your funds through another form.

Accessing Money Abroad

Most students access home funds by using their ATM card on the PLUS or CIRRUS networks. Since many ATMs abroad will only access a checking account, students should be sure to transfer funds into their checking account. Otherwise, ATMs are used the same way that they are here: your home checking account is debited for your withdrawal and you draw out local currency. You are charged a service charge and the current exchange rate. Students should check with their banks at home to ensure that your PIN is valid abroad and to clarify what sorts of charges will be applied.

Credit cards such as Visa, MasterCard, and American Express are honored abroad, though not always as widely as in the United States. Credit cards make foreign currency transactions easy and are invaluable in a financial emergency. Take a credit card along, but use it wisely. Plastic can be dangerous because it is easy to overspend, service fees and interest charges can be costly, and the loss or theft of a card can inconvenience you, especially while traveling. Seek advice from the issuing company as to the card’s applicability abroad and the billing rate for converting the amount of purchases abroad into dollars. Contact your credit card company to learn your credit limit and the number to call in case your card is lost or stolen.

Notifying Banks & Credit Card Companies of International Travel

Students need to contact their bank and credit card companies prior to departure to inform them of the dates and location of their upcoming travels. When cards normally used in the U.S. suddenly begin being used abroad, some credit card companies will cancel the card to avoid possible fraud and other security issues. Also, if your cards are going to expire while abroad, make arrangements to have the cards shipped to you, and again, remind the card companies that these new cards will also be used abroad.

If any of your cards are lost or stolen, you will need to contact your bank and clarify whether it is an ATM, a debit, a credit, and/or a check card. The bank will need the number and possibly the PIN. It is useful to make a photocopy of both sides of each of your credit and ATM cards so that you have the account numbers and phone numbers to call in case they are lost or stolen. Leave one copy at home with a friend or family member and bring one copy with you abroad.

Travelers Checks (TCs)

TCs are inconvenient and are not used as a major source of funds; however, students may wish to carry some reserve funds as travelers checks. Most students only use TCs if they have lost their ATM card or cannot access funds through an ATM. TCs must be cashed at a bank or at a “bureau de change” and it may take some time to get them cashed. Travelers checks in U.S. dollars can be used in case of an emergency abroad and if they are not used abroad, they can be used as cash when you return home. Leave a copy of the serial numbers of your travelers checks at home. Take a copy of this list abroad with you, separate from the checks themselves. As you cash the checks, keep a tally of which ones remain unredeemed.

Other Funds

The best way to ensure that you’ll have adequate funds is to take more than the amount stated in the estimated additional costs in the official program budget. If your money runs out and you have a credit card, you may be able to access funds:

  • If you are a Visa cardholder, you can obtain a cash advance directly from an ATM or bank. The daily amount available varies with the exchange rate, but averages $150.
  • An American Express office can, on presentation of your American Express card, accept a personal check and issue you up to $1,000 every 21 days for a 1% commission. This amount varies with each office. If you don’t have a personal check, American Express can provide a counter check.
  • A MasterCard may be used to draw either cash or MasterCard travelers checks.
    If you do not have an ATM card or credit cards with which to access funds, you have several alternatives, all based on the assumption that someone at home can send you money.

Funds can be transferred or wired from home, but this process is very costly and complicated. Money can also be shuttled from a bank in the U.S. to its branch in a foreign city, if it has one. Banks, however, are notorious for keeping “bankers’ hours.” One after-hours option is Moneygram, (800) 542-3590, a for-profit money transfer service with 23,000 agents in 103 countries. The service charges $40 to send $500 anywhere (more for larger amounts). Another option is to send money via Western Union, which has agents throughout the world. Service fees vary depending on the amount of money you transfer. Finally, you can consider using the local AMEX Office. You can receive funds in about a day, but high fees may apply.

If all else fails, turn to the Bureau of Consular Affairs. After an investigation determines that an American is genuinely stranded, a consular official will seek one of your friends or relatives to help. If no one can be found, an official may advance money, but a “limitation” will be put on your passport, signifying that it is to expire when you reach home and cannot be renewed until the loan is repaid.

Awareness of Pickpocket Risk

Be aware of pick pocketing and keep your money hidden and safe. Contact your card companies immediately if your cards are stolen while abroad. Also, have a plan in place in case your cards are stolen by having cash or travelers checks on hand that will hold you over until your new cards can be shipped to you. Always keep in mind that you may have to survive several weeks with what you currently have on hand, so be prepared for the worst.


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