When researching your UCEAP options, it is vital that you understand that program costs can be less than, equivalent to, or more than the cost of staying at UCSB. Below are some things to consider.
Locate the "Cost" section of your UCEAP program page. Scroll down and use the “Customize Your Estimate” calculator to get the most accurate estimate for you.
The Estimated Total Cost consists of tuition, fees, housing, meals, insurance, roundtrip airfare, books, incidentals, transportation, etc. but not personal entertainment and leisure travel expenses. Use this Financial Planning Form to help you understand if you can afford your program.
Note: If you are subject to nonresident supplemental tuition at UCSB, you will continue to pay this on UCEAP (except for summer programs). Be sure to indicate that you are not a California resident in the “Customize Your Estimate” tool.
Compare the Cost of Staying at UCSB vs. Going Abroad
The UCSB Financial Aid Office estimates the cost of attendance for a nine-month school year at UCSB in 2021-22 to be approximately $34,750 for undergraduate California residents living off-campus. That's an average cost of about $11,600 per quarter.
How does that compare with your UCEAP program? Refer to the Cost-Comparison Guides to find out. Don’t be fooled by the Estimated Total Cost of the UCEAP program alone. Pay attention to the "Year Total" on the side of the guide to compare different options and to determine your total educational cost for the academic year. For example, it will cost you less to study abroad in Sweden for certain terms than staying at UCSB for the entire academic year. There are many Year-long UCEAP programs that cost less than the cost of staying at UCSB.
Go for Longer!
Choosing a year-long or spring semester program may cost less than a fall semester program in the same country (see sample above). Summer programs are not the most cost effective because in addition to paying for fall, winter, and spring quarters at UCSB, you would also need to pay for your summer UCEAP term. Financial aid is also limited in the summer. Consider going abroad during the academic year when you're already planning to pay tuition and when more financial aid is available.
If you're spending $1,000+ on a plane ticket, do you want to go for 1 month or 10 months? Items like plane tickets, visas and orientations are things you only pay for once.
There are also more scholarship opportunities for year-long programs because the cultural, linguistic, academic and personal growth that comes from studying abroad for a year is significantly more profound than going for a shorter term.
Summer vs. Semester
More Seasons = More Savings
We can help you go abroad for as long as you can while staying on track academically and financially. But if you really can’t go for a year, here’s what you need to know:
Spring Semester: More economical than fall semester programs because you’ll only pay fees for 1 semester instead of 2 quarters (winter and spring). However, determine if the projected number of UCEAP units will keep you on track academically.
Fall Semester: The most academically efficient option because you will earn more units than an average fall quarter and typically only miss fall quarter at UCSB and a little bit of summer if your program begins this early. However, some fall programs end in winter quarter so be sure to check the "Dates and Eligibility" section of your UCEAP program page for details.
Winter or Spring Quarter: Short and typically with UC students only, but compared to summer, more financial aid is available.
Summer: Not an economical choice for most students. There is less financial aid available because you can only use whatever is left from your previous school year’s aid, and there are fewer scholarships for summer. Summer programs tend to be shorter, have limited subjects/courses available, lack local student interaction and are highly structured, all of which drive up the cost as compared to longer programs that more closely resemble the local students' experience.