Finances

Norway - skiing

One of the big questions you have to ask yourself when you apply for study abroad is ‘How am I going to pay for this’? Most students who go on a study abroad program find that they spend between 1.5 - 2 times what they would spend while studying at the University of Guelph, but if you do your research, there are options that students say cost roughly the same as a semester at Guelph. Your first step to planning to finance your exchange is to make a realistic budget, and we recommend that you do this as soon as possible.

The # 1 reason for students cancelling their exchange later on is because they did not look into costs until the last minute and then realize that they can’t afford to study abroad.


Budgeting For Exchange


Some items to take into consideration when making your budget (find more details below):

  • Tuition/Fees to University of Guelph
  • Mandatory Guard Me International Insurance 
  • Travel documents (passport, visa)
  • Vaccinations (if necessary)
  • Your flight
  • Accommodations (residence or off-campus)
  • Food
  • The cost of living in your host country (research online!)
  • The exchange rate in your host country
  • Your personal spending habits
  • Other travel plans while abroad

Some ideas to balance your budget:

  • Personal savings
  • Summer employment/Part-time job
  • Parent/Family contributions (talk to your family first before assuming that they will pay for your study abroad)
  • Travel grants/scholarships through Student Financial Services or other organizations
  • Student loan through the government or bank

More details about cost and budgeting: 

Some students choose to get an ISIC (International Student Identity Card) before they leave, online here. It costs $20 and you can access the discounts through their app. If you require a physical card you can also order it for a $5 printing fee. You can learn more by visiting isic.org.

Check online for possible rail and bus passes (particularly in Europe). Some must be purchased before you leave Canada. Many travel guide websites, blogs, and e-books (e.g. www.lonelyplanet.comhttp://www.roughguides.com) have lots of tips for travelling on a budget.

Obtaining supplementary travel insurance that covers such things as flight cancellations, lost baggage and liability can save you thousands of dollars should something unfortunate happen. Speak with U of Guelph students who have been on exchange and your new friends in your host country for advice.  They will no doubt have excellent suggestions about living cheaply!

UofGuelph Travel Grants and Scholarships

Most UofG travel grants and scholarships are administered by Student Financial Services. You can look for grants and scholarships by using the award search. For the travel grants based on financial need, students must be on OSAP or other provincial student loans in order to be eligible.

Deadlines vary depending on the funding you are applying for but generally, applications deadlines are:

  • March 15th for Summer study abroad programs
  • June 30th for Fall, Winter or two semesters (it is best for Winter applicants to apply by June 30 as there may not be scholarship money left after this first round)
  • October 1st for Winter study abroad only

If you have questions about travel grants, scholarships, and bursaries offered through the University of Guelph, please contact Student Financial Services.

Program Specific Travel Scholarships

Some faculties at UofG offer scholarships specifically for their students - make sure you check with your department for any travel grants or bursaries they may have and the application requirements and deadlines. In particular, OAC and CSAHS have quite a few travel grants available.

OSAP & Canadian Student Loans

Because you are registered as a University of Guelph student while on exchange, you are eligible for the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) or student loans from other provinces. You will apply for OSAP or student loans as you normally would, for the semester(s) you will be registered at the University of Guelph as on exchange.

Although you will be listing the University of Guelph as your institution on your OSAP application (not your host university), if the length of the semester at your host institution (first day of classes to the last day of exams) is longer than the semester at U of Guelph, Student Financial Services can adjust the living allowance portion of your OSAP for you to receive an additional amount. After you have applied for OSAP, if you want to claim extra living allowance, you will need to contact Student Financial Services at fininfo@uoguelph.ca to indicate that you are going on exchange and to confirm your host university’s semester dates.

For students participating in a short-term summer exchange program or field school, the duration of the program must be at least 4 weeks in order for you to be eligible for summer semester OSAP and you will only receive OSAP to cover your tuition (not living expenses).

Since all matters concerning OSAP are completed electronically, there should be no problem for you to receive your student loan while you are on exchange. When you first apply for OSAP, you indicate whether you want your student loan to be deposited into your bank account or into your University of Guelph student account. If you have chosen the latter, and if there is a remaining loan left over after your University of Guelph fees have been covered, the rest of your OSAP will automatically be deposited into whichever bank account you indicated during your OSAP application process.

Information and links for all federal and provincial student loans can be found on the Government of Canada website.

External Travel Grants and Scholarships

Some countries and even host universities have travel grants, bursaries, and scholarships available for exchange students. Start searching and applying as soon as possible. In some cases, the application deadline may be many months before your planned departure and often require references, transcripts, etc. that can take some time to obtain.

Some Country Specific Travel Scholarships

  • The Swedish Women's Educational Association (SWEA) offers travel scholarships to students (male or female) participating in an exchange program in Sweden. For more information about the application process, contact CIP.
  • The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) offers information and funding for students studying or conducting research in Germany. Whereas the University of Guelph students usually find out where they have been accepted to go on exchange in early March, the DAAD scholarship application is usually due before this. If you contact CIP, we may be able to issue a tentative acceptance letter for you before the DAAD deadline and this has worked for students in the past.
  • BUTEX offers scholarships for students going on study abroad programs in the United Kingdom.
  • Global Affairs Canada offers scholarships for study and research in specific countries, particularly for graduate students
  • Japan: JASSO scholarships – see KGU application for more information
  • Austria: Ernst Mach Grant for Studying at an Austrian University of Applied Sciences (Fachhochschule)
  • Haventree Bank Scholraship for Canadian exchange students who are taking 50% of their moduels at the Univeristy of Exeter Business School.

The consular representatives (embassy, consulate, etc.) of your host country in Canada may also know of or offer relevant scholarships or bursaries.

Receiving Other Scholarships or Bursaries

If you already receive a scholarship and/or bursary for your studies at the University of Guelph, contact Student Financial Services or the funding organization regarding any conditions for your continued eligibility for the scholarship/bursary, and/or other procedures, given that you will be studying abroad.

Other ways of Financing your Study Abroad Program

You may want to approach your friends and family, and local organizations to see if they would be willing to help support you. For example, if you are willing to write an article for a local newspaper, magazine, etc. you may receive a donation in return. Perhaps an organization or service club (Rotary Club, Lion’s Club, etc.) may give you some funding if you are willing to do a presentation about your exchange experience for them when you return. Also, see if your friends and family are willing to donate Air Miles or any other travel points to you to help cover the cost of your flight.

Tuition and Student Fees

While on exchange, you pay tuition and student fees to the University of Guelph. Students who are going on exchange in the fall or winter semesters must still pay full-time tuition even if they take part-time courses while on exchange. For students participating in short-term summer exchange programs where it is not possible to take a full-time course load, they will be charged part-time U of Guelph tuition for the number of credits they will be able to transfer. While on exchange, you must still pay U of Guelph for the Student Health Plan and student organization fees. The only fee that you do not have to pay is the bus pass. Your U of Guelph tuition and fees are due and paid for the semester when you are considered away on exchange. For example, although the semester in Australia doesn’t start until February, your U of Guelph tuition and student fees will be due in early January. Check WebAdvisor for your account summary, deadlines and how to pay. For questions about your U of Guelph fees, contact Student Financial Services.

Exchange Program Administration Fee - $80

This fee is paid to CIP and covers the administrative costs of sending students on exchange. Please read and follow the instructions in the 'Exchange Program Administration Fee Information' sheet which has been e-mailed to you.

Cancellation Fee - $200 or $300

Should you decide to cancel your exchange after you have accepted your exchange placement online, there is a $200 cancellation fee, or a $300 cancellation fee if you cancel after May 1st for a Summer or Fall semester exchange program, and after August 1st for a Winter semester exchange program. (Students who are cancelling must also pay the $80 Exchange Administration Fee if they haven’t already paid this.) Failure to pay the cancellation fee will result in a University financial sanction. For cancellations due to serious extenuating circumstances, such as serious medical problems or a death in the family, students may apply for an exemption from the cancellation fee.

You are responsible for all exchange student fees required by the host university (excluding tuition, which you pay to the University of Guelph). These fees may include residence fees, meal plan, mandatory health plan (such as OSHC in Australia), athletic centre fees or student union fees.

All students who will be studying abroad must purchase the Guard Me insurance plan at least three weeks before their departure. Guard Me provides comprehensive travel health insurance along with emergency evacuation services (in case of severe political unrest, natural disasters, etc.) You can register for the Guard Me plan and see the full policy at this link.

Note that while Guard Me offers comprehensive travel health coverage, it does not cover everything. Read the policy carefully to understand what exclusions there may be, including, high-risk activities (think bungee jumping, sky-diving, mountain climbing), pre-existing conditions, health care costs due to inebriation; these are standard exclusions listed by most insurance companies. Know your policy and behave accordingly.

There are NO EXEMPTIONS from purchasing Guard Me insurance, even if your host university or country requires you to buy a mandatory health insurance plan (such as OSCH in Australia). While other plans may cover you for basic medical care in your host country, they often do not cover students for such things as travel to other countries, emergency evacuation, repatriation, or flying a loved one to be with you if you are hospitalized. Therefore, having the Guard Me insurance is necessary.