The financial aspect of the year abroad is one that often is a concern for students as the approach their departure date. It is vital that you start to consider your financial situation as early as possible in the application process, as you will need plenty of time to apply for financial support.
It is also important to note that some study abroad options will open up more opportunities for funding, so it is worthwhile taking some time to research.
The links and information below should address most of the key areas of study abroad finance. If you have further questions, please contact the Study Abroad Team or for more information on other sources of funding available to UCL students, please contact the Student Funding Office.
It is extremely important that you draw up a realistic
budget to help you handle your finances whilst away on your year abroad.
To help you do this, the Study Abroad Team have put together a simple
spreadsheet which you can use to help you outline expected costs.
Download Budgeting Worksheet (right click and 'Save As' to download)
It is vital that you make sure you have sufficient money for
your arrival costs, which can be significant - accommodation deposits and first month's rent; purchase of bedding, utensils; orientation costs, tickets for start of term events.
Additionally, you should make sure you have enough to cover you for living
expenses until your student funding arrives. Given that many students arrive at their placement abroad, there can
sometimes be a significant period of time before you Student Loan is paid - this can only be paid early for students who are starting their term a full 25 days before the UCL term starts.
It is extremely important to make sure that you have a source of emergency money which you can access in the event that you experience problems with your funding.
The simplest way to arrange emergency fallback money is to apply for a credit card before you go away. Make sure that it has a sensible credit limit and then keep it somewhere safe (ideally not in your wallet or purse in case it is stolen) and only use it when you have a genuine need.
If you cannot get a credit card or do not wish to, make sure that you have access to a fund specifically set aside for emergencies, or make an agreement with a parent, guardian or other friends or family for an emergency loan should you need it.
UCL Student Funding are there to support UCL students in financial hardship, and can assist students who find themselves unexpectedly in a difficult situation; however, it is important that you take responsibility for your own financial arrangements and do your best to make sure that you have a fallback plan just in case.
- UCL Tuition Fees
i) If your degree programme began in or after September 2012 and you are away in 2016/17
- Students who are studying abroad for less than a full academic year will pay full UCL fees as normal.
- UK and EU fee payers undertaking a study abroad for a full academic year (whether at a university or work placement, Erasmus or otherwise) will pay 15% of the normal fee amount to UCL, roughly £1350.
- International students (or their sponsors) will pay 50% of their normal fee amount to UCL.
2014/15 UCL Tuition Fee Year Abroad Students will pay: UK and EU students (inc. Channel Islands & Isle of Man) £9,000 15% of full-time fee (around £1350) Overseas Students £15,660/£18,130/£20,700 Half of full-time fee Overseas Sponsored Students £15,660/£18,130/£20,700 Sponsor pays half of full- time fee
N.B. Self-paying students are expected to pay their fees before or by the start of the session. These may be paid in two instalments, the first being due by the start of the academic year, the second by 1 February. Any enquiries regarding payment of fees should be addressed to Student Fees, Student Centre 2 - Chadwick Building, Monday to Friday between 10am - 4pm. (firstname.lastname@example.org).
ii) If your degree programme began in September 2011
Please contact UCL Study Abroad to discuss your tuition fee arrangements.
- Host Institution Tuition Fees
Students on an exchange programme with one of UCL’s partner universities will not be required to pay tuition fees to the host institution.
Erasmus students will not be charged for tuition by the host institution, but may be charged a student enrolment or registration fee. You are expected to pay this fee (typically in the region of €250) yourself from your Erasmus grant. Such fees are therefore non-refundable by UCL.
Students who opt to study abroad outside of a formal exchange will have to pay tuition fees to their host institution. Providing the preconditions explained below have been satisfied, these fees will be reimbursed (up to certain limits) by UCL.
- Reimbursement of Tuition Fees Paid Abroad
Tuition fees for approved study outside an exchange framework are reimbursable by UCL, but there are preconditions:
- Prior to reimbursement, UCL must have received your tuition fees from the relevant source (Student Loans Company, sponsor or yourself);
- The particular course(s) and institution(s) you are attending must have received the prior written approval of your department. You will not be reimbursed for fees if, for example, you change your year-abroad programme of study without obtaining the written consent of your Study Abroad Tutor(s). They will inform the Study Abroad Team, who in turn will inform UCL Student Fees).
- Only tuition fees are reimbursable. Costs incurred for board and lodging, photocopying, books etc., are not reimbursable and neither are enrolment fees for Erasmus students.
- The refund request must be lodged within 6 months of your return to UCL.
- The maximum amount which can be reimbursed is equal to the amount of tuition fees paid to UCL for the year spent abroad. As an example, if you are a UK/EU student abroad in 14/15 paying 15% of your £9000 fee to UCL (i.e. £1350) you can claim back a maximum of £1350. If you are an overseas student paying 50% of your tuition fee to UCL (i.e.£7600) this is the maximum reimbursable amount.
To obtain reimbursement of tuition fees you must:
- Provide UCL Student Fees with the original receipted invoices or receipts from the host institution indicating sums paid and specifying to what those costs relate. Non-specific receipts will not be accepted. Ensure you obtain detailed invoices/receipts at time of payment: you may encounter difficulties in obtaining this detailed information at a later date.
- Send receipted invoices/receipts with a covering letter to Mr Mike Smith, Student Fees, University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT.
NB. If you have a UK bank account and provide the following details - bank name, full branch address, sort code, account number and your own full name - UCL will arrange reimbursement by bank transfer. Subject to preconditions given above having been met, reimbursement requests received after 31 October will normally be processed in 10-14 days. Due to the pressures of work associated with the start of each academic session, no refunds can be processed prior to 31 October.
- Student Loans and Grants
Student Finance from Regional and Local Authorities
The statutory student finance package provides maintenance loans and grants to assist with living expenses and a tuition fee loan to cover university tuition fees.
Repayment of these loans commences the following April after you have left or graduated from university and are earning over £15,000. All UK and EU full-time undergraduates who have resided in the UK throughout the three years before the start of their course are eligible to apply. Overseas students are not eligible for student loans.
Students who will study abroad for a period of at least 50% of an academic quarter (normally equivalent to a term) as part of their course may be eligible for an overseas rate of loan for that period. In 2014/2015 the maximum loan for study overseas is:
- Non final-year student: £6,600
Students should make a single application to their Regional Funding Authority (Student Finance England, Student Awards Agency for Scotland, Student Finance NI, or Student Finance Wales). Visit the Current Students website for details of how to apply.
You can also apply for assistance with your travel costs (see below for details). Details of the different kinds of funding provided by Student Finance England can be found in this factsheet.
- Assistance with Travel Costs
Students who are in receipt of means tested support from Student Finance England, Student Finance Wales or Student Finance Northern Ireland should be eligible to receive an additional travel bursary to assist with overseas travel costs. This type of Bursary is called a Travel Grant and can be used to claim back some of the more significant Study Abroad costs, including travel.
Students receiving any support (means-tested or not) from the Student Awards Agency for Scotland on a compulsory study abroad year can apply for funding to cover travel expenses. Please see page 17 of the SAAS Guide to Student Support 2015-2016 for details.
- UCL Undergraduate Bursaries (Hebss)
Students who are entitled to receive the UCL bursary will continue to do so while on their year abroad, provided that they continue to pay their tuition fees to UCL. For further information about UCL bursaries, please refer to: www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/scholarships/undergraduate/hebss_nsp/
- Access to Learning Fund
The UCL Financial Assistance Fund (UCL-FAF) provides discretionary financial assistance for students. All UK, EU and International full-time undergraduates are eligible to apply.
You are not excluded because you are on your year abroad and, if you meet the preconditions for applying i.e. that you have taken out a full maintenance loan to which you are entitled, then you are encouraged to apply. Application forms and guidance notes are available from the Student Financial Support website at: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/current-students/money/bursaries/financial-advice-and-Support/ucl-financial-assistance-fund
Applicants should read the guidance notes carefully and send the completed application form, together with their supporting documentary evidence, to the Student Funding Office, Room G19, South Wing, Student and Registry Services, UCL, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT.
- Erasmus Grants
All students who participate in the Erasmus programme will receive financial support in the form of the Erasmus Mobility Grant. More information will be sent to eligible students prior to departure.
- BUTEX Scholarships
BUTEX UK Scholarships 2017
BUTEX is now accepting applications for its UK Scholarship Programme 2017!
The Scholarship is open to all undergraduate students currently registered at a UK university which is BUTEX-affiliated (UCL is affiliated!).
To be eligible to apply you must have been offered a study abroad or exchange place which is not eligible for an ERASMUS grant.
This round of applications is for students who have a study abroad placement commencing in either Autumn 2017 or early 2018. Your place must be for a minimum of one semester.
The value of each scholarship is £500 and will be paid to the winners once they have arrived and registered at their host university.
For further details of how to apply for this scholarship please visit the BUTEX website.
The application deadline is 15 June 2017.
- British Council Language Assistants
Students who take up a British Council English Language Assistant position are paid a salary comparable to the local rate, and/or are provided with accommodation for the duration of their placement. This will vary according to which country/town/school you will be working in, but by way of an example, language assistants in France and Germany earn c. €800 per month.
Assistants who work in EU countries will be given Erasmus status and therefore benefit, additionally, from the monthly Erasmus grant.
Please note: Students on Erasmus placements (including English Language Assistants receiving an additional salary) are entitled to the normal statutory package of maintenance loans and maintenance grants.
- Work Placements
Although it may well be possible to find a salaried work placement abroad, from a financial perspective it is safer to assume that your employers will provide you only with minimal expenses (e.g. assistance towards transport costs etc…) or that your placement will go unpaid entirely.
Please note: Students who are paid a salary during their work placement may not be eligible for a full maintenance loan or maintenance grant. Please contact your Regional Funding Authority for more details.
- Visas and Immigration
Students wishing to study outside of the EU are likely to require a visa, and will be required to bear the cost of this themselves. In order to obtain a visa, some countries will require you to provide evidence that you will have sufficient funds to support yourself. Typically this could be US$12,000 – US$18,000 (c.£7,700 - £11,500), AUS$12,000 – AUS$14,000 (c.£8,100 - £9,500), or CAN$9,000 – CAN$10,000 (c. £5,750 - £6,400). In addition to this, students going to the US will need to pay a visa application fee of $130 and a SEVIS Immigration Fee, which is normally around US$200.
Certain countries e.g. Australia will require a medical certificate. The details of this will depend upon your nationality, countries recently visited etc., and you will be required to pay for this.
It is extremely important that you draw up a realistic budget to help you handle your finances whilst away on your year abroad. To help you do this, the Study Abroad Team have put together a simple spreadsheet which you can use to help you outline expected costs.
Download Budgeting Worksheet (right click and 'Save As' to download)