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Frequently Asked Questions - Financial Matters

How much will it cost?

Logistics vary by study abroad program. Each UR program has its own brochure page with cost and date information, as well as information about academics, housing, and eligibility requirements. The travel allowance amount for each program can be found here as well.

Note that cost estimates on the study abroad program page do not include the student's personal recreational travel and entertainment. Recreational travel is the single greatest discretionary expense for most study abroad participants. 

In most cases, Richmond programs charge Richmond tuition, but not room and board, for the semester abroad. Financial aid applies. Housing fees are usually paid directly to the institution or landlord abroad. Most universities abroad do not have meal plans, so students "pay as they go" in university dining facilities or they prepare their own meals in shared kitchens in dormitories or apartments. Cost estimates for each UR semester abroad program can be found on that program’s brochure page.

In addition, financial benefits are provided to all students on UR semester or year abroad programs through reimbursements and allowances, and Richmond offers several study abroad scholarships. Please note that students must submit their eligible reimbursement requests to the Office of International Education within 60 days of the date on the receipts to ensure our office has time to meet the University’s processing guidelines.

Why do I pay UR tuition for the semester my student will be abroad?

The policy of charging home tuition for study abroad is standard among the University of Richmond's peer universities around the U.S. Like other highly selective institutions, Richmond carefully chooses and monitors its study abroad programs, linking only with top tier institutions and programs abroad. Richmond charges home tuition because students on study abroad continue to earn credit towards a Richmond degree. Students going abroad remain Richmond students and thus retain many of the services that they would normally receive on campus (such as IT, counseling, advising, online library and research services, etc.) as well as additional specialized services particular to study abroad. All Richmond financial aid may be applied to Richmond semester or year abroad programs.

What if I use the TuitionPay installment plan to pay my student's tuition at Richmond?

If your family uses the installment plan through TuitionPay (via Sallie Mae) to pay Richmond tuition and fees, contact TuitionPay (1-877-279-6092) to request an adjustment for the semester or year you are abroad. Otherwise, TuitionPay has no way of knowing that you do not owe the usual fees to UR for that semester/year. You should contact TuitionPay after you have looked at the cost section of the website for your program and understand what fees you will owe to UR for the semester(s) you will be abroad and what will be paid directly overseas.

Can tuition insurance be purchased for a semester abroad program?

Yes. Please see the tuition insurance plan information on the Student Accounts website for details.

Does financial aid apply?

Yes. The same types of financial assistance for which students may be considered during enrollment at Richmond also are available for a UR study abroad program during the fall and/or spring terms. Additional scholarships also are available. Check with the financial aid office for more information on applying financial aid to study abroad.

What are the unbilled and discretionary costs?

Students should anticipate pre-departure costs for luggage, ID photos, vaccines (when required), and travel items such as travel alarm clocks, money pouches, converters, etc.

While abroad, most program participants spend $2,500 to $4,000 per semester above and beyond living costs. These expenses include entertainment, souvenirs, and cultural events, but the biggest single category of discretionary expense is recreational travel beyond the student's host city. Students considering study abroad should be encouraged to start saving early if they plan to travel extensively while abroad. Expenses can be reduced by traveling to nearby cities as well as visiting local sites. We suggest students not travel too much outside of their host city or else they will not be able to develop relationships with local students and persons and will not really know the city or town where they are spending the semester. 

How do I send money to my student while s/he is abroad?

Most students use an ATM card to withdraw cash in the local currency while abroad. See the “Money Matters While Abroad” section of the UR Study Abroad Handbook for more details. There is often a fee charged by both the U.S. bank and the foreign bank for using a U.S. ATM card to withdraw cash abroad. Students should check with their individual US banks to find out what these fees will be and if there is any way to have them reduced or waived. 

It is recommended that when students withdraw cash from an ATM that they withdraw the maximum daily amount and then carry around a small portion of it, keeping the rest safely hidden and locked in their rooms. This will help keep withdrawal fees to a minimum. 

Students should be aware that credit cards may work differently abroad than in the United States. Information is available regarding how credit cards work differently and how chip & PIN cards work. As with ATM cards, U.S. banks often charge foreign transaction fees for credit card purchases at foreign vendors.

Some students may choose to open a local bank account in order to get a regional debit card and avoid fees from the U.S. bank. If this option is taken, it should be done soon after arrival, as it can take a couple of weeks to open the account, receive the details such as the PIN number and debit card, and set up online banking. Depending on the bank and country, this option may only be practical for students who will be abroad for the entire academic year.

Tip from a former UR study abroad student: “TravelEx has a debit/ATM card that you can get and parents can load the card with money from the U.S. It's really handy, you can use it for an ATM and debit card because it's a Pin & Chip Card. The withdrawal fees are way lower than if you use an ATM card from the States and it's really handy!”

Does Richmond reimburse for any study abroad-related expenses

We reimburse semester- and year-long study abroad students for a variety of expenses related to their study abroad experiences, with exceptions, and only for receipts under 60 days old. For more information, please visit our Reimbursements webpage.

Please note that reimbursements must be issued to the student, even if the parent/guardian paid for the expense, because the student is the one receiving the benefit (visa, passport, etc). If you paid for an expense on your student’s behalf, he/she can refund you with the OIE reimbursement funds he/she receives.

Is there a penalty if my student withdraws from a program abroad?

If the student voluntarily withdraws from the study abroad program, there is a penalty. Please see the withdrawal policy for details.

If the student purchases a tuition insurance plan prior to study abroad and withdraws from the study abroad program early due to an illness or injury, the student may be eligible for a full or partial tuition refund. The health costs may be covered through the ACE Travel Assistance (AXA) insurance policy if the student notifies the insurance company, files a claim and has an injury/illness that is not listed in the exclusions section of the policy.

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