CSU Education Abroad programs can be less expensive than in-state tuition

Austin Fleskes

Beyond traveling to a foreign country for a number of weeks, months or even a whole semester, the price of studying abroad is a factor students must consider.

However, many of the programs offered by the Colorado State University Education Abroad Program can cost as much as in-state tuition or lower. 

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According to CSU’s Office of Financial Aid, the current in-state tuition for the 2017-2018 school year for an off-campus student is $25,424 and $27,300 for on-campus students. 

“CSU takes an approach of ‘we only charge what we need to,'” said Laura Thornes, director of the Education Abroad Program. “CSU really wants to create access for education abroad, so there is much more of a fair cost analysis for students. 

According to Thornes, one of the most popular programs, that is also one of the cheapest, is the University of Economics, Central and East European Studies Program, which takes place in Prague, Czech Republic. 

This specific program, according to the price budget page, has a total 2018 spring semester cost of only $10,083.52, which includes both billable and non-billable items. 

While some programs can go beyond the price range of in-state tuition, students can still receive a number of scholarships, grants and loans to help fund a semester abroad.

Semester at Sea, one of many education abroad programs offered, is one program whose price exceeds the cost of in-state tuition. 

According to Ciara Cole, the director of the Semester at Sea program, the program fee begins at $25,000. This price includes up to 15 semester credits worth of tuition, housing, all meals aboard the ship, premium medical insurance, full-time and on-site residential student services staff as well as advisement and assistance by the Semester at Sea home office.

However, while this price exceeds that of a semester of in-state tuition at CSU, students can receive financial aid to fund the semester.

“The Education Abroad team works directly with students to help find the right program for them based on their individual budget,” Cole wrote in an email to The Collegian. “Ninety-nine percent of scholarships, grants, and loans students receive to study at CSU can be used abroad, including with Semester at Sea.”

Many students receive this financial aid in order to help fund for education abroad semesters, such as junior Josh Curry, who is studying international studies with a Spanish concentration and political science.

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In spring 2016, Curry spent an alternative break in Israel with Dr. James Lindsay and other CSU students studying and surveying the culture and history of the Levant. In spring 2017, Curry spent a semester in Santiago, Chile through the University Studies Abroad Consortium, a business that partners with CSU and other universities to help send students abroad.

Curry’s program in Chile initially cost only $7,500, but after a scholarship he could use abroad, the semester ended up costing $2,500.

“There is a common misconception that education abroad is too expensive, but this could not be further from the truth,” Curry wrote in an email to the Collegian. “Though finances were a concern for me before I began researching my program, these concerns were quickly assuaged when I saw how affordable many of our programs are.”

For students who are looking for the different education abroad programs offered at CSU, the Education Abroad Program List has categorized all offered programs, and offers an advanced search options to find the right program for each student.

For any student worrying about the cost of studying abroad, students can talk to a financial aid adviser as well an education abroad adviser every Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon in the Lory Student Center.  

The Education Abroad office, located in Laurel Hall, can also connect students with peer advisers and other students about similar concerns. 

“Whether it’s Semester at Sea or another education abroad program, these are life-changing opportunities with enormous academic, personal and professional benefits,” Cole wrote. “Education abroad experiences help students gain skills in cross-cultural communication, learn to think critically, and develop self-confidence, flexibility, and an appreciation of diversity – essential components of (a student’s) college education and in today’s global workplaces.”

Collegian reporter Austin Fleskes can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @Austinfleskes07.