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Cost & Billing

When you study abroad, some of the cost will be billed to you by Cal Poly and/or your study abroad program provider.  The information below will help you understand these billed costs—both what they are and who will bill you for them. In addition to fixed or billed costs, you should explore what additional anticipated expenses you should budget for. 

As a reminder, the tuition you pay for study abroad—whether to Cal Poly, CSU, or a partner program—covers only the coursework included on your abroad program. If you are considering taking an online Cal Poly course while abroad, you will likely be charged an additional tuition fee by Cal Poly. In general, it is not recommended for students to take additional online courses while on study abroad.


International Center Fee Policy  
All students participating in Cal Poly-approved programs abroad (including Cal Poly Global Programs, CSU International Programs, partner programs, domestic and international exchange programs, and internship programs) or studying through the National Student Exchange must pay the non-reversible/non-refundable $400 International Center (IC) fee.  This fee is in addition to program tuition and other charges and is used to support the administration of study abroad at Cal Poly, which typically includes professional and peer advising, marketing and outreach, application processing, pre-departure guidance, orientation and workshops, program and advising materials, support while abroad, returnee programming, facilitation of academic credit processing, and program assessment.  
At the time a student’s study abroad application is moved to Committed status and a Cal Poly Abroad decision letter is sent, students will have seven (7) calendar days in which to withdraw from their participation in the program and not be assessed the $400 IC Fee. For students participating in Cal Poly Global Programs, the $400 IC fee is included in the student’s non-reversible/non-refundable program deposit. 
The IC fee cannot be deferred until federal financial aid is disbursed for the term in which the student is going abroad.  Failure to pay the IC fee may prevent the student from enrolling in future Cal Poly terms.  Students will be charged the IC fee for each individual off-campus program to which they are accepted. 
The IC fee is non-reversible/non-refundable.  Once a student is committed for a Cal Poly Abroad program, the student is responsible for paying the $400 IC fee even if the fee has not yet been charged to the student’s account.  If a student cancels/withdraws their application after receiving notification of acceptance into a study abroad program, the student is still responsible for paying the IC fee.  For further information on payment policies for Cal Poly Global Programs, see the specific cost/budgeting information for each program.   
Cal Poly Global Programs 
Students on a Cal Poly Global Program that is run through Extended Education will be billed for a Global Program Fee (including tuition); for other Global Programs, students will be billed the Global Program fee plus be assessed their regular Cal Poly tuition 
The Global Program Fee includes the mandatory $400 IC fee, plus student housing, local transportation, excursions, some meals, and travel insurance. The Global Program Fee varies by program based on the courses, duration, location, and activities.  
Please refer to your chosen Cal Poly Global Program for a full list of what will be covered by the program fee, as well as a list of anticipated expenses. 
CSU International Programs 
Students studying with a CSUIP will be billed by Cal Poly for the $400 IC fee
In addition, students will be billed by CSU for the base tuition, a CSU Study Abroad Fee (separate from the Cal Poly IC fee), Mandatory CSU Health Insurance, and any other mandatory fees. Depending on the CSUIP, students may also be billed for housing. 
Please refer to your chosen CSUIP for a full list of what will be charged by CSU, as well as a list of anticipated expenses. 
Cal Poly International Exchanges
Students studying on a Cal Poly International Exchange will be billed by Cal Poly for their normal Cal Poly tuition and fees, the $400 IC fee, and Foreign Travel Insurance.   
Depending on the Exchange, the host university may offer campus housing, in which case students pay that fee to the host school. 
Please refer to your chosen International Exchange for a list of anticipated expenses. 
Partner Programs
Students studying on a Cal Poly Partner Program will be billed by Cal Poly for the $400 IC fee and for a Foreign Travel Overlay Insurance.   
The Partner will send a separate bill to the student for their program fee, which will include tuition and may also include housing, meals, and a required insurance charge. 
Please refer to the Partner’s program page for a list of the costs for which they will bill you and for an estimate of additional expenses. 
National Student Exchange 
All students studying on a National Student Exchange program will be billed by Cal Poly for the $400 IC fee and will pay a $200 application fee to NSE.  
Students on the NSE Host Payment Plan will receive a bill from the host university for tuition. The host school may also bill for housing, meals, and other expenses, such as insurance or parking.  Please refer to the host university’s page on the NSE website for a list of the costs. 
Students on the Home Payment Plan will pay Cal Poly for their regular tuition and fees. The host school may also bill for housing, meals, and other expenses, such as insurance or parking. 


In addition to billed costs (whether billed by Cal Poly or your program), there are other expenses you need to consider when planning to study abroad.  These expenses—often called anticipated expenses or expected costsare items that you will need to cover on your own, either before you depart or as you are living abroad.  
Among the expenses you might expect are the following: 
  • Passport and visa fees 
  • Medical examination and immunizations 
  • International Student ID Card (ISIC) 
  • Round-trip airfare from the United States to your host country 
  • Ground transportation on site 
  • Books and other supplies 
  • Housing (if not provided by the program) 
  • Meals (if the program does not include meals or does not cover all meals) 
  • Other insurance (trip cancellation insurance, personal property insurance) 
  • Optional travel expenses (for personal travel or participation in an optional program excursion) 
  • Cell phone fees 
  • Personal expenses (toiletries, laundry, etc.) 
  • Souvenirs 
  • Gifts, if staying with a host family 
Your study abroad program should provide you with a list of common estimated expenses, but do some additional research on your own.  See the Budgeting & Money Management page for more ideas