Financial Considerations for Non-Columbia Students

Cost is an important factor when deciding to study abroad. You may be surprised to learn that in many cases, the cost of going abroad on a Columbia-Led Program for a semester or a year is comparable to staying at your home school. The majority of students receive financial assistance when studying abroad, though the amount or type of support depends on a variety of factors. With careful planning and research into opportunities, you can often afford a study abroad experience on a Columbia-Led Program.

Your first stop is to speak with your appropriate home school office to make sure that the program you have chosen is approved and eligible for financial aid. At any point, please feel free to reach out to your program adviser for general guidance about costs of your program. For information about financial aid, any home school fees that might apply, and payment arrangements please consult with the appropriate offices at your home school.

For most students, the cost of studying abroad varies based on whether you attend a semester, academic year or summer program. Financial aid, similar to what you may receive at your home school, is usually applicable to semester and academic year programs. Summer programs are generally funded individually or with the help of competitive scholarships.

Fall, Spring, or Academic Year


How you pay Columbia for your program will depend on the program you are participating in. Program pages for the Berlin Consortium for German Studies, Columbia in Paris, and the Kyoto Consortium for Japanese Studies each have instructions for their member school students in the financial section for each program. It is important to review this information, so that you know what you are responsible for paying to Columbia and to your home school.

If you are not affiliated with a consortium member school, then you are billed by Columbia and will pay tuition directly to Columbia. You will receive instructions for setting up your Columbia account after acceptance, normally about a month before the program begins.

Other costs, like the program deposit, room, board, living, and travel expenses, are billed directly by the Office of Global Programs, third party vendors, or are out-of-pocket expenses for you. If your financial aid normally covers these categories, you will most likely receive a refund from your home school to use for these expenses after your aid has been disbursed. If your financial aid is normally applied only towards tuition costs, then you will pay these other costs out-of-pocket directly to your program or on-site as specified in instructions you will received upon acceptance. Please be sure to read the program information so that you know when and who you will pay.

Financial Aid and Consortium Agreements

Students who attend a school that is in a formal program consortium should confer with their home school in all matters related to financial aid.

Students who receive financial aid and whose home school is not in a formal consortium with a Columbia-Led Program will need to submit a consortium agreement to Columbia's Office of Global Programs and Fellowships. This agreement ensures that your financial aid can be used while on a Columbia-Led Program. You will normally get the agreement from your home school financial aid office and then send it to your program adviser for signatures. Be sure to speak with a financial aid officer at your home school as soon as you have budget information for your program and before you commit to going abroad.


Summer study abroad is usually not covered with federal aid, but may be available from your home school in the form of a scholarship or other kinds of funding. On summer programs you pay most costs (most often tuition, lodging, etc.) to the program directly. Some costs you will have to pay directly to a service provider (i.e. an airline, housing placement organization). Please note that most programs do not organize group flights and you will often be responsible for booking your own travel. Do not assume that all costs are included in a program fee and be sure to read the program budget carefully.

Fellowships and Scholarships for Studying Abroad

Because semester and academic year programs are frequently funded through financial aid and are usually comparable to staying at Barnard, the resources below are directed primarily to students looking for scholarships to fund summer opportunities.


Most scholarships available for summer study abroad are likely to be competitive, it's important for you to plan in advance how you will pay for your summer study abroad. Many programs require substantial deposits to reserve your place, so while you may be applying for a scholarship, you may want to have an alternative in mind in case you don't win the scholarship.

Begin your research early! Many opportunities will have deadlines in the fall or early winter.

Finding Funding Opportunities

There are a few places that you can look to fund summer study abroad. While location- or program-specific opportunities are listed on individual program pages, there are some scholarships that are more generally applicable to study abroad:

The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship

The Summer Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship

Boren Awards: STEM Initiative

Fund for Education Abroad

General resources:

International Students

If you are an international student, you should read the eligibility criteria carefully, as you may not be eligible for certain scholarships due to your student visa. Program-specific scholarships (noted on the specific program pages) are more likely to be open to international students. You should also research opportunities offered by your home government and organizations that support education in your home country.