Financial Aid & Budgeting

Studying abroad can be affordable, but like any educational investment, it requires planning and careful comparison. The international opportunities offered through the Global Learning Office vary widely in cost depending on the type of program, inclusions in the program (excursions, meal stipends, housing, and so on), length of stay, and destination.

This page will cover three sections:

Financial Aid & Marymount Scholarships

Most financial aid that a student receives from for studying at Marymount will automatically be applied to the study abroad program; however there are some exceptions to this, and we advise students to work with financial aid to determine which forms of financial aid they will be able to use for their time abroad. The Clare Boothe Luce Scholarship cannot be used while abroad. Financial aid is capped at Marymount’s cost.

  • Eligibility: You must be a student enrolled in a degree-seeking or eligible certificate program at Marymount University to be eligible for financial aid through MU. Study abroad credit load requirements are the same as they are for on-campus study; Most aid requires a minimum of twelve credits per semester. Summer term students must enroll in at least six credits to maintain minimal eligibility for financial aid. For questions regarding financial aid, please contact the Office of Financial Aid (703) 284-1530 or email us or specific details.
  • Limits: There are limits to how much financial aid you can receive (especially during the summer months), and your financial aid award may or may not cover entire cost of study abroad experience. How much of your costs will be covered depends on your study abroad program cost, your financial need, and the number of supplementary loans to which you will have access. In reviewing your options, you should also consider how much loan debt you are willing to incur.

External Scholarships & Alternative Funding

Students planning to study abroad are encouraged to apply for scholarships early. Many of our provider partners have scholarships they offer to students accepted to their programs. Some scholarships do not require you to be accepted or even applied to a study abroad program to be eligible to apply for the scholarship. In addition to specific study abroad scholarships, you can also use most general scholarships to fund your study abroad experience.

Visit this page to learn more about the excellent study abroad programs and funding options available to U.S. undergraduate and graduate students through the federal government.
Learn more about available scholarships and funding resources for creative ways to fund your study abroad experience.


When budgeting, you should plan for spending carefully. We recommend following these 5 steps to creating a better budget:

Step 1: Calculate your “big picture” number

Before you start breaking down your study abroad budget, you need to know how much money you will have for the duration of the trip. Whether it’s something you’re funding on your own, or with the help of family or friends, knowing your total budget will make it much easier to itemize expenses later on.

Step 2: Convert your currency

Most people are surprised by the vast difference between currencies. Before you start making an expense list, take your “big picture” number and see what it converts to in the local currency. There are various currency converters online that allow you to do this with amazing accuracy. We recommend using Oanda.

Step 3: Figure out your primary needs

Primary needs consist of housing accommodations, food, transportation, and other basic needs you may have. The cost of these necessities should be calculated before you start thinking about the fun stuff. For example, depending on your program, they may set you up with some sort of housing arrangement that includes all meals, a few meals, or no meals at all. Knowing where you stand with these types of items in advance will make a big difference in how much money you will need while you are abroad. Here are a few costs you should keep in mind:

There are some costs you will already have in mind and will be charged via Marymount’s bills such as:

  • Tuition: All Marymount students who study abroad must pay tuition, plus the program’s housing fees which vary by program. Students will be billed for these charges by Marymount, and the Center for Global Education will then pay the study abroad program – students may not pay the program directly, except for the application fee and the required deposit if applicable. Marymount University charges its own tuition instead of the program’s in order to allow Marymount students to apply their college-funded financial aid to the abroad program. There may be other additional fees for not-included excursions and more students may want to/have to pay.
  • Study Abroad Fee: All students going abroad for a long-term program  will be charged a study abroad fee.
  • Housing Fee: Fees vary greatly among programs, depending on the location of the program, the strength of the dollar with regard to the local currency, the type of lodging, the number of meals provided, etc. The most accurate information regarding room and board options and costs are available on each program’s individual website. We recommend scheduling an appointment with one of our staff at the Center for Global Education to get the most up-to-date housing fees.

In addition to planning for the major costs associated with studying abroad such as program deposits, tuition, housing, and airfare, it is necessary to anticipate the less obvious costs that you will undoubtedly incur while living abroad. These costs not charged through your Marymount bill you should keep in mind are:

  • Airfare: Students participating in affiliated programs must pay for their own airfare. For most Marymount faculty-led programs including the short-term summer, graduate and Global Classroom Series programs, airfare is included in the cost.
  • Medical Insurance: Marymount University purchases emergency travel assistance for its students on all study abroad programs however students must still have their own health insurance for emergencies. Some programs may also include medical insurance in their fees.
  • Deposit: For all affiliated (i.e., non-Marymount faculty-led) programs, students should pay the required deposit directly to the program; this charge will subsequently be deducted from the student’s housing fee if applicable. Note that deposits are nonrefundable. If a student withdraws from a program for any reason, the deposit will be lost. Please note that paying the program deposit authorizes the provider (whether Marymount or a third party) to incur expenses on that student’s behalf; should a student withdraw from a program for any reason after paying the deposit, he or she will be responsible for any non-recoverable expenses. These expenses can include (but are not limited to) housing fees, and partial or full tuition.
  • Course Fees: Please be advised that some programs, including Saint Louis University in Madrid and Lorenzo de Medici, charge additional fees for course materials, orientation programs, and/or course-related travel. These fees are not included in the tuition, even if the course is required, and students are responsible for paying them.
  • Miscellaneous Fees: These may include passport and visa application fees, textbooks, immunizations, meals not included in the program, transportation, medicine, and more.

Step 4: Figure out your wants.

Obviously, you’re in a new country and you will want to see and experience everything. To determine how to budget your “fun money”, be sure to consider the following things: nights out, additional program excursions, souvenirs, external travel, and personal expenses. These expenses are the responsibility of the student.

Step 5: Manage your budget.

You have your necessities budgeted, you have your emergencies savings set aside, and you have all of your “fun money” budgeted out for different activities — Now all you have to do now is stick to your budget! Keep an excel sheet or use an app on your phone to track your expenses and make sure you don’t go over your budget. Have a wonderful study abroad experience!