Semester Abroad

Financial Information

Penn Abroad is here to help you navigate the financial considerations that come into play as you prepare for a semester abroad. It is easy to become overwhelmed by some of the questions that may come to mind. How will I fund my abroad experience? How much will it cost for me to live abroad? What other Penn financial considerations do I need to keep in mind?

To ensure you have a full understanding of study abroad money matters, the following information details answers to the most common study abroad financial questions.

In most cases, your financial aid package can be applied towards a Penn-approved study abroad program. The cost of attendance for your semester abroad is based on the budget Penn Abroad provides for each program. This budget may be larger or small than your semester budget at Penn. Students are billed Penn tuition and the study abroad fee regardless of their program, but costs for housing, dining, books, and supplies, transportation, etc. will change depending on where in the world you are studying. Please refer to your program budget, which will detail the charges that are paid through your Penn student account and those for which you are solely responsible.

Estimating the Cost of Your Semester Abroad
Penn Abroad provides a budget sheet for every study abroad program. The budget sheet estimates your total cost of attendance for your term abroad including tuition, the study abroad fee, lodging, meals, international travel, visa fees, local transportation, local insurance coverage, books, and supplies.

Your budget sheet will indicate whether an expense will appear on your Penn bill (billable expense) or if you will be responsible to pay an expense on your own or directly to your host institution (non-billable expense).

Scholarship Opportunities
The “Cost and Finance” tab of every study abroad program brochure includes detailed information about scholarship opportunities relevant to a specific program. In addition, we maintain a list of external scholarships with some awards slated for students going to a particular country or studying in a specific field. 

If you receive a scholarship, you must inform Penn Abroad. The scholarship will either be released to you directly or to Penn Abroad. If released to Penn Abroad, the scholarship will be applied to your student account balance. Your aid package may be adjusted as a result of the scholarship.

Financial aid refunds are distributed approximately three days prior to the start of each semester.

Expenses such as lodging or meals may be billed to you on your Penn Abroad account or directly from your host institution at a later date in the semester. It is your responsibility to budget accordingly to ensure that you will be able to settle any additional abroad expenses by way of the refund check that you receive, even if additional charges are posted after your term abroad begins.

Tuition and Study Abroad Fee
When you study abroad for a semester or year for academic credit, you will be charged tuition and a study abroad fee by the University of Pennsylvania at a rate equivalent to the tuition and general fee on the Philadelphia campus for the corresponding time period. These charges are the same regardless of the program you choose to attend and they will be billed via your student account.

The University of Pennsylvania practices “home school tuition” billing for all Penn-approved undergraduate and approved petition programs for semester and academic year study abroad. This means that Penn students pay Penn tuition for their study abroad experience. Penn in turn pays tuition to the partner institution abroad. Penn students benefit from this practice by earning Penn credit and grades for their study abroad courses as well as having a wide range of program types to select from. Each overseas course is reviewed by academic personnel to determine creditworthiness at Penn, thereby enabling overseas courses to count for grades. Charging Penn tuition enables students continued access to Penn services such as CAPS, academic advising, library resources, and financial aid. It also ensures that programs are selected based on best personal and academic fit instead of cost, and provides access to study abroad for the entire Penn undergraduate community.

Penn’s tuition and study abroad fee charges cover only costs directly related to instruction on the program to which you are admitted and do not cover the costs of accommodation and meals, international and local transportation, books and supplies, optional excursions, personal expenses, medical insurance and passport and visa fees. In some cases where a Penn-affiliated program sponsor charges an all-inclusive comprehensive program fee, Penn will determine with the sponsor the amount of tuition-related charges that will be covered by Penn tuition, and the remaining charges will be posted to your student account.

Program sponsored internships, unless pre-approved by a student’s home school for Penn credit, are not covered by tuition and study abroad fees.

Payment for your study abroad program must be made in accordance with the University’s published schedule for payment of tuition, fees, and other charges.

You are required to maintain health insurance coverage that is valid in your home country for the duration of the time that you are abroad at your own expense.

By studying on a Penn-approved program, you are covered by Penn’s International SOS (ISOS) membership at no additional cost to you. Penn’s ISOS membership includes travel medical insurance and evacuation assistance for the duration of your time abroad.

In many countries, regardless of your home country health insurance and travel medical insurance, you must also purchase national or institutional health insurance. The budget sheet for your program will indicate if you will have additional insurance expenses specific to your abroad program.

Study Abroad as an LPS Student
If you are an LPS student, you will be charged the full-time SAS tuition rate when you study abroad. The SAS tuition rate for your Penn Abroad program is not eligible for tuition reduction.

Financial Holds
You will not be permitted to study abroad if you have outstanding financial debts to the University from previous semesters.

Program Commitment
If you are offered admission to your abroad program, you must confirm your participation with Penn Abroad by selecting to “commit” within your Penn Abroad application within two weeks’ time.

By committing to participate, you authorize the University to make deposits and/or advance payments related to your participation to affiliated institutions.

If you initially “commit” to your abroad program and then subsequently withdraw, you must notify Penn Abroad in writing.

Should you withdraw at any time after you commit to participate in your abroad program, or if your admission to the program is rescinded, you will be responsible for any unrecoverable deposits and/or advance payments made on your behalf via your Penn student account. If you withdraw at any time after committing to participate, you remain individually responsible for any financial obligation due to an affiliated institution or the University of Pennsylvania.

Fee Adjustment
Any adjustment of billed tuition and fees due to involuntary or voluntary withdrawal which takes place before or after your program abroad begins can only be made as approved by your school of enrollment and in accordance with the published university policy on refunds.

In the event a refund is approved by the home school, all financial obligations due to the host institution abroad must be satisfied before any refund may be processed. The withdrawal/refund policy of the affiliated program may affect your refund amount.

In the case of a personal decision to withdraw from a program, you forfeit the full amount of the study abroad fee.

After the Program Begins
The program begins on the date of the first scheduled activity for which attendance is required. After that date, any adjustment of billed tuition and fees due to involuntary or voluntary withdrawal can be made only as approved by your school of enrollment and in accordance with the published University policy on refunds. Note that in the event a refund is approved by the home school, all financial obligations due to the host institution abroad must be satisfied before any refund may be processed.

Penn reserves the right to seek reimbursement for any non-refundable costs expended on your behalf to the host institution or program.