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Paying for Off-Campus Study

Bowdoin tries to make a semester/year off-campus affordable for every student and family. Families will not be billed Bowdoin tuition while their student is off-campus; the only charge is a $1,000 administrative fee per program attended. This fee partially subsidizes the College’s support for students studying off-campus before, during, and after their time away. This includes, but is not limited to, work done by the offices of Off-Campus Study, Residential Life, Registrar, Student Aid, Bursar, Health Services, Counseling Services, Information Technology, Dean of Student Affairs, Dean of Academic Affairs, and individual faculty members. It contributes to student health and well-being, emergency response, maintenance of high-quality program choices, continuation of student access to online resources (Bowdoin email, online library subscription services), and more. 

Families who do not receive Bowdoin aid will simply pay their student’s program/university fees directly to that institution and provide for related expenses such as flights, visas, and books out of pocket.

Families who do not receive aid but take out loans often are able to continue to do so for an accredited off-campus institution and can work with the Student Aid Office (SAO) in this process. 

Families who do receive Bowdoin aid will be able to transfer that aid toward the total cost of their student’s program/university, up to the total cost of a semester on-campus. Families should expect to pay approximately the same for a semester off-campus as for a semester on-campus.

Please refer to this Student Aid and Off-Campus Study FAQ to become familiar with how financial aid supports students studying off-campus.

 Important Considerations

  • If the total cost of a semester at the program is more than the cost of Bowdoin, the family must pay the difference.

  • Families who have 529 accounts and/or a monthly payment plan and/or tuition insurance can read more about this at the Bursar's office OCS FAQ. Off-campus programs based in the U.S. may offer a payment plan similar to those at Bowdoin, although their agencies may be different. Parents interested in using this payment method should inquire directly with the program's business office. If a student has directly enrolled in a university abroad, payment plans are not typically available. In these cases, full payment is expected when the student is invoiced by the university, usually upon arrival. Parents may re-enroll in Bowdoin's payment plan prior to the student returning by contacting the agency. 

    If a student intends on enrolling in an English-speaking university, the SAO will cover the costs associated with direct-enrolling and basic accommodation. If the student wishes to enroll in the university through a program provider such as IFSA-Butler, the SAO will base the student’s aid package on the direct-enroll costs, not the program costs, and the family will be responsible for paying the difference in cost. The same is true if the student selects non-basic housing (e.g. a single instead of a double).

  • Living in Brunswick, ME is relatively cheap! Students should consider allocating more spending money for their time off-campus to cover the costs of personal travel, purchases, and dining.  It is often not possible for students to work while abroad due to visa restrictions so it is advisable to save accordingly.

  • If a student receives aid at Bowdoin, it is highly recommended that the student make an appointment with SAO (fall/year students: January to May; spring students: September to November) and become familiar with how student aid works when studying off-campus. 


Outside scholarships are available through a variety of sources for study abroad. Students are responsible for researching and applying for these themselves, but below we provide a sampling of different scholarship sources.

Scholarships offered by program providers/organizations:

Scholarships offered by the U.S. State Department

  • Boren (for language study in critical countries)
  • Gilman (for underrepresented students in study abroad)

Scholarship Databases