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By program option

International Center programs: Most students are billed for 13–15 MU undergraduate credits and applicable fees for a semester (six for summer) according to the regular MU billing schedule. Non-Missouri resident students are charged non-resident tuition fees. In addition, all students pay a study abroad administrative fee to MU. Check each program for detailed budget information. Consult your study abroad adviser for additional information.

MU school/college programs: Contact the program coordinator for information.

Non-MU programs: Students pay the costs of non-MU programs directly to the program providers. A study abroad administrative fee is paid directly to MU in order to maintain registration as an MU student. Also, all MU students are billed for the MU information technology fee regardless of program type. This fee supports students' access to myZou and student email.

Comparing program costs

The cost of studying abroad can vary greatly by program. Many factors help determine the total cost of studying abroad: length and timing, location, what's included in the program fee and program type. Take time to consider each of these factors when determining which program is the best fit for you. You should also know your lifestyle and what lifestyle you want to have while studying abroad. If you are planning to travel, eat out and enjoy the entertainment the entertainment options of your host city, be sure to budget for those additional expenses. It's better to plan an accurate budget than to have unexpected expenses while abroad.

Cost at MU

A good first step in comparing program costs is determining your total cost here at MU. If you know how much you spend during a semester in Columbia, you'll be able to better plan for your study abroad program. The following estimated expenses are based on the undergraduate cost of attendance at MU for one 15-credit hour semester as estimated by the International Center for 2015/16 using information from the MU Office of Student Financial Aid. Use this information in conjunction with the program comparison worksheet to compare your MU costs with the cost of studying abroad.

Tuition $5,897
Non-resident tuition $8,350
Room/board $5,404
Books and supplies $686
Transportation $1,724
Personal expenses $664

Comparing the cost of study abroad

Length and timing: While summer or winter break programs often have a similar price tag, they may end up costing you more per credit. One-time expenses, such as airfare, allow you to get more bang for your buck the longer you stay in one location. The cost per credit hour often ends up being less expensive the longer you are abroad. However, shorter programs in the summer or during winter break may mean that you can continue to work part-time during the rest of the year. In many countries, you are not legally permitted to work while studying abroad.

Location: The cost of your study abroad program can vary greatly because of its location. Consider the cost of living in your host country and host city. If you want to find a more affordable program in a country with a higher cost of living, compare the cost between cities. For example, in the United Kingdom, compare programs in Lancaster and London. You can also consider non-traditional locations, such as countries in South America, Africa and Southeast Asia, as they often have lower costs of living than many European countries. Check out the cost of living around the world page for an example of how location can affect your study abroad cost. Numbeo is also a great resource to help you determine the cost of living in different cities around the world.

What's included in the program fee: It is important to understand what is included in your program fee and what isn't. This varies by program, so carefully compare each program you consider. Often, housing and meals are included in the program fee, making the initial cost appear higher than programs that don't include housing and meals. Don't forget to factor those expenses into the program cost if they aren't included in the program fee. Some programs also include excursions, cultural activities or cell phones in their fees. Keep all costs in mind before you make your final decision.

Program features: The following chart outlines a variety of program-dependent factors that can help you choose which International Center program might work best for you.

  Exchange Direct-enroll Affiliated Faculty-led
Independence level Independent Independent Run through outside organization, travel with cohort of U.S. students Led by MU faculty or staff, travel with other MU students
Extras More "bare bones" More "bare bones" Include more amenities and excursions Include excursions and group activities, earn specific MU credit
Structure Less structured Less structured More structured Highly structured
Term Academic year, semester and summer options Academic year, semester and summer options Academic year, semester and summer options Summer, winter break and spring break options
Support services and cost Often flexible costs for room and board Often flexible costs for room and board, pay international student rates at host university Pay for additional support and services Pay for additional support and services
Cost per week Usually lowest cost per week     Usually highest cost per week