A longer program (semester or academic year) may be proportionally cheaper than a summer program when all costs are considered. These programs also often afford more course choice allowing you to more easily fulfill required coursework.
First, consider the structural financial differences between program types:
SDSU Exchange: students pay tuition at SDSU, but pay housing and meals at their host destination. This is a good program type for all countries, but may be especially affordable in cheaper or lesser developed destinations.
California State University International Programs (CSU-IP): students pay tuition to the CSU and housing and meals at their host destination. These programs can be very good deals as they all run for an academic year and are subsidized by the CSU. Furthermore, scholarships are often more available to students studying for a year.
ISEP Exchange: students pay tuition, housing and meals at SDSU as if living in a dorm. This can be more affordable in a country where living costs are substantially more than living on-campus at SDSU.
ISEP Direct: students pay tuition, housing and meals directly to ISEP, which may be more affordable for students paying out-of-state tuition.
Independent Programs: students pay the third-party program provider organization, which is generally a package price including tuition, housing, meals, insurance, and excursions. When comparing independent programs it is extremely important to compare “apples to apples,” meaning understand that both programs have similar features and services.
Budget & Plan Ahead
Second, do significant financial planning/budgeting during your program search phase. What financial resources you have available may be a good factor in selecting a country and program. There are a wide array of costs both large and small incurred in studying abroad, so using a budget sheet can be useful.
Utilize our Budget Sheet (pdf)
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Visit the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships website for the official SDSU cost of attendance estimates
Third, consider the relative purchasing power in each host destination based on exchange rates and living costs.