Studying abroad will likely cost more than if you were to stay in London for the semester or summer, though the cost will depend on your destination, the length of your programme, and your lifestyle.
The good news is that there are resources available to help make the experience more affordable. You should start planning a realistic budget and saving for your time abroad as early as possible as you will likely still have to cover some costs associated with going abroad. Get in touch with the Study Abroad team if you have any concerns.
Semester abroad costs
Semester abroad students continue to pay tuition to St Mary's while they're away and do not pay tuition to the host university. Students pay for accommodation to their host university. Other costs include travel, insurance, books, visas and meals.
The costs vary, depending on the destination, but you should generally budget for expenses of around £5,000 to £9,000 for Australia and North America or £3,000 to £5000 to study at one of our European partners.
If you're going away for a full semester, you'll receive your regular student finance loans. After you’re accepted to the Semester Abroad programme, you should contact Student Finance England to inform them that you will be studying abroad. Depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible for an increased maintenance loan and/or early payment of your maintenance loan.
If you receive a maintenance loan, you will likely be eligible for a Travel Grant from SFE. There is a tool to determine whether you're eligible on the SFE website.
The travel grant reimburses eligible expenses associated with studying abroad, such as your visa, insurance and flights. You are required to pay the first £303 toward your costs. The amount of the reimbursement is based on your household income.
The travel grant reimburses eligible expenses associated with studying abroad, such as your visa, insurance and flights, though you are required to pay the first £303 toward your costs. The amount of the reimbursement is based on your household income.
Students who spend a semester abroad at one of our approved European partners through Erasmus+ are eligible for the Erasmus+ grant of €370 to €420 per month to help with living costs while studying. This funding is available until May 2023, which will cover the 2021/22 and 2022/23 academic years. You can find out more about Erasmus and a list of our European partners by subject area on our website.
Grant amounts for 2021/22 will be confirmed shortly. St Mary’s has a dedicated fund to help increase participation in international programmes for fee-paying undergraduate Home students who meet who meet one or more Widening Participation criteria:
- Low-income background (generally with a household income under £25,000/annum)
- From an area with low participation in HE or if your parents did not go to university
- Care leaver, care experienced or estranged from your family
- From an ethnic minority background (including BAME, Gypsy, Traveller and Roma)
- Living with a disability
- Returning to learning as a mature student (aged 21+ at the start of the undergraduate course)
St Mary’s is pleased to announce that we have received funding from the Turing Scheme to support students studying and working abroad between September 2021 and August 2022. This funding is available to students participating in approved mobilities around the world in addition to any student finance they are already eligible to receive.
All students undertaking approved mobilities are eligible to receive standard awards according to the cost of living rates below.
Students from widening access groups are entitled to additional funding as outlined in the priority award section.
Students participating in mobilities for over eight weeks will receive the short-term cost of living rate for the first two months and the long-term rate from month three onwards.
For instance, a student going to the USA for five months will receive £2,228, which is made up of (8 x £136) + (3 x £380).
Cost of living rates for placements lasting between four and eight weeks, such as an internship, summer or other short-term academic programme:
- To Group 1 destinations, including Australia, Canada and the USA: £136 per week
- To Group 2 and 3 destinations: £120 per week
For placements lasting over eight weeks, such as a full semester abroad:
- To Group 1 destinations, including Australia, Canada and the USA: £380 per month
- To Group 2 and 3 destinations: £335 per month
To find details of which countries are in group, visit the cost of living groups page.
Widening access groups
The Turing Scheme is especially committed to supporting international mobility for students from groups that are traditionally excluded from higher education. These students are eligible for a priority award with a higher cost of living grant and additional funding to support travel as outlined below. Eligible students meet one or more of the following criteria:
- Low-income background (with a household income under £25,000/annum)
- Receiving Universal Credit or income-related benefits because they are financially supporting themselves or financially supporting themselves and someone who is dependent on them and living with them, such as a child or partner
- Neither parent attended university
- From an ethnic minority background (including BAME, Gypsy, Traveller and Roma)
- Undergraduate student returning to learning as a mature student (aged 21+at the start of their course)
- Homeless or estranged from their family
- Care leaver or care experienced
- Students with caring responsibilities
- Refugees and asylum seekers
- Living with a disability (See SEND section below)
To find out more about the definition of widening access groups, visit the Turing Scheme’s Widening Access page.
Priority award cost of living rates and travel funding
Students from widening access groups will receive Priority Awards according to the cost of living grant rates and travel funding below.
Students from widening access groups participating in mobilities for over eight weeks will receive the short-term cost of living rate for the first two months and the long-term rate from month three onwards.
For instance, a student from a widening access group going to the USA for 5 months will receive between £3523 and £3683, depending on the distance from London. This includes a cost of living award of £2778, which is (8 x £163.50) + (3 x £490) + travel grant of £745 (East Coast) or £905 (West Coast).
Participants from widening access groups will also receive actual costs for additional travel expenses, including costs of visas, passports, and health insurance.
For placements lasting between four and eight weeks:
- To Group 1 destinations: £163.50 per week
- To Group 2 and 3 destinations: £147.50 per week
For placements lasting over eight weeks:
- To Group 1 destinations: £490 per month
- To Group 2 and 3 destinations: £445 per month
An amount of funding will be provided to go towards the direct costs of travel for HE participants from widdening access. This will be dependent on distance between the home and host organisation and will support the cost of the round trip as outlined below:
- 10 to 99km: £20
- 100 to 499km: £165
- 500 to 1,999km: £250
- 2,000 to 2,999km: £325
- 3,000 to 3,999km: £480
- 4,000 to 7,999km: £745
- 8,000 to 12,000km: £905
- 12,000km+: £1,360
The scheme will provide financial assistance towards expensive travel by exception. If the original amount provided does not cover at least 70% of the actual costs, up to 80% of the actual costs will instead be covered.
Participants will also receive actual costs for additional travel expenses, including costs of visas, passports, and health insurance. We see this as crucial as travel related expenses can often be a deterrent to potential participants.
To find out more about what we define as disadvantaged groups, visit the Widening access page.
Additional support for those with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)
For participants with SEND, the scheme will fund up to 100% of actual costs for support directly related to their additional needs. When necessary, the funding will also cover preparatory visits by the sending organisation to carry out risk assessments and ensure participants will be able to equally access and take part in all elements of a placement. Pre-visits can be for a maximum duration of three days, and funding can be used for both learners and accompanying staff. Pre-visits are not available for any other purpose.
If you are planning on participating in an international work or study placement that has already been approved by the St Mary’s Study Abroad Office, please fill in the application form. We have also put together guidance notes and details about the awards.