6 Tips

6 Tips to Choose a Budget-Friendly Program

When researching your UCEAP options, you need to know which programs will give you more for your money. Here are some things to consider when choosing a program that works for you financially.

1. Compare the Cost of Staying at UCSB vs. Going Abroad

The UCSB Financial Aid Office estimates that a nine-month school year at UCSB costs approximately $34,500 in 2019-20 for undergraduate California residents living off campus. That's an average cost of about $11,500 per quarter. 
How does that compare with your UCEAP program? See the Cost tab on your Program page (add UCEAP Fees and Additional Expenses together). Don’t feel like doing the math? Pick up Cost-Comparison flyers at the UCSB EAP Office. Don’t be fooled by the “price tag” of the UCEAP program alone, pay attention to the Year Total on the side of the flyers to compare different options.

2. Go Long!

Choosing a Year-long or Spring semester program works out to be cheaper than a Fall semester program in the same country (see sample above). Similarly, semester programs are cheaper, per month, than quarter-long or Summer programs in the same country.
If you're spending $1200 on a plane ticket, do you want to go for 1 month or 10 months? Things like plane tickets, visas and orientations are things you only pay for once. This means if you go for a semester, it's often cheaper to extend your participation and stay abroad than it is to return to UCSB.
There are also more scholarship opportunities for Year-long programs because the cultural, linguistic, and personal growth that comes from going abroad for a year is significantly more profound than going for a shorter term, and that’s what the world needs.

3. Go Off the Beaten Path

UCEAP Thailand, by Paige P.
The southern hemisphere is generally cheaper than the north. Non-western countries can be cheaper than western countries. Smaller cities, like Granada or Bologna, are also considerably less expensive than big cities in the same countries, like Barcelona or Rome, respectively. 
Smaller cities also tend to have a lot more character, as well as opportunities to make local friends, practice your language, and have unique experiences off the tourist path. Non-traditional locations are also favorable for applying for scholarships.

4. More Seasons = More Savings

The UCSB EAP Advisors are experts at helping 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 because you’ll only pay fees for 1 semester instead of 2 quarters (winter and spring).
Fall semester: The most academically efficient option because you will get a semester's worth of units (up to 24!) and typically only miss Fall quarter at UCSB…and a little bit of Summer. 
Winter or Spring quarter: Short, pricey, and typically with UC students only, but unlike Summer programs your financial aid is guaranteed to go with you. 
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, without local student interaction, and highly structured, all of which drive up the cost as compared to longer programs that more closely resemble the local student's experience. 
However, summer is an appealing choice for non-California residents since they don't have to pay Non-Resident fees on UCEAP Summer programs.

5. Take Classes with Locals

UCEAP Bologna, Italy

Taking regular classes with local students, in what we at UCEAP refer to as an "immersion" program, is usually the most cost effective! It's more expensive for UCEAP to create programs just for Americans than it is for UCEAP to place you in regular classes that the local students are already taking. 

6. Live Where the Locals Live

UCEAP Edinburgh, UK-Scotland, by Allison M.
Homestays may be more expensive, but they often include some meals, you can improve your language skills, and the UC Study Center does the work for you to place you with an experienced family. Living in an apartment with local peers can be the most economical because you can share meals, cookware, etc., plus they know where all the good deals are. Dorms with meal plans are usually more expensive than apartments, just like at UCSB. 

Takeaway: Go for as long as possible on a program where you are fully integrated into the local student lifestyle!