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Off-Campus Program Financials

It is extremely important to understand the financial impact of your study abroad/off-campus program.

The cost of studying off campus can be very similar to the cost of living on campus. For some programs, the program abroad is more affordable than living on campus. For other programs, the program abroad is more expensive. 

Due to the variety of programs, the financial information on this page is general. Please contact the Global Engagement Office (GEO) for financial information for a specific program, but please be aware that the Global Engagement Office (GEO) can only provide estimated costs due to our program partners' right to change program fees at any time.

The Cost of GEO Off-Campus Program

When students participate in a GEO program, the student will be billed by Lake Forest College for the following:

  • Lake Forest College tuition
  • GEO program fee
    • The GEO program fee can vary drastically depending on the specific program ($1000 - $7500 per semester). Please see the section below for more information regarding the GEO Program Fee.

In addition to what students are billed for by LFC, there are out-of-pocket costs to consider.

Out-of-pocket expenses can include, but are not limited to:

  • Program application fee & deposit
    • Lake Forest College does not charge an application fee or a deposit fee for our internal off-campus application (called the GEO application); however, almost every program itself charges for both an application and a deposit fee. Many programs' deposit fee is billed to the College and incorporated in the student's GEO program fee.
  • Airfare
    • Students who participate in an ISEP Exchange program are eligible for a flight reimbursement award of up to $750.
    • If a student is participating in a program from our program partner, Webster University, they may also be eligible for a travel award of $1000 to cover the cost of a flight.
  • Meals, if not included in the GEO program fee
  • Housing, if not included in the GEO program fee
  • Insurance, if required by the program and not included in the GEO program fee
  • Visa/Residence permit fees (if applicable)
  • Books/Course materials
  • Daily expenses

GEO Program Fee

The GEO Program Fee is different depending on if the student is participating in an Exchange program or a Direct-Enroll program.

Exchange programs:

Quick Note: Only our partner, ISEP (International Student Exchange Program), offers Exchange programs.

GEO Program Fee for ISEP Exchange programs consists of:

  • Lake Forest College room(standard room rate) 
  • Lake Forest College meal plan
  • Lake Forest College miscellaneous fees (Activity, Health & Wellness, & Rec Center)
  • $100 Administrative fee 
  • Fees charged to Lake Forest College by ISEP:
    • ISEP deposit
    • ISEP insurance 

Essentially, with the ISEP Exchange model, students pay for a "spot" at Lake Forest College for an international exchange student to spend the semester living and studying at Lake Forest College. Lake Forest College students who participate in an Exchange program will then receive housing abroad  (type of housing varies depending on the specific host institution) and a meal plan/meal stipend. Please note: due to differences in cost of living across the global exchange membership with ISEP programs, housing and meal benefits are always equivalent, but rarely, if ever equal. Students on exchange always receive housing for the full dates of the program, including 19-21 meals per week. Housing types and benefits at home versus host university are not equal in terms of the monetary amount due to variability in scales of economy, government subsidies, location, cost of living, etc. You can review more information by visiting ISEP's Exchange Model page.

Direct-Enroll programs:

The GEO Program Fee can vary greatly for Direct-Enroll programs.

For Direct-Enroll programs, the GEO Program Fee will include the fees that the student's program bills to Lake Forest College. Many programs do bill the College for the student's housing abroad, but many programs do not include any form of meal plan/meal stipend so meals may have to be out-of-pocket. Some Direct-Enroll programs also include international insurance, excursions, etc. and if these expenses are billed to the College, they will be included in the student's GEO program fee.

There is an administrative fee for Direct-Enroll programs. The administrative fee is $1000 (for programs that do not include a meal plan/meal stipend) or $1500 (programs that do include a meal plan/stipend). Please note, even though the administrative fee is higher for Direct-Enroll programs, there are a variety of Direct-Enroll programs that are still more affordable than an ISEP exchange program depending on the student's situation.

In most Direct-Enroll programs, students overall pay very similar to what they pay to live/study on-campus at LFC. 

Direct-Enroll programs have their own tuition fee; however, Lake Forest College covers the program's tuition on behalf of the student.

Contact the Global Engagement Office with any questions about Direct-Enroll programs.

Working Abroad

Due to visa or residence permit regulations, students are usually not able to work while they are abroad. Students need to take into consideration when planning for a study abroad program that they most likely will not be able to work while on the program.

Financial Aid

Financial aid can apply for approved semester programs.  See our Off-Campus Study and Financial Aid page for more guidance.


Lake Forest College is able to offer a variety of scholarships for approved study abroad programs. Please contact the Global Engagement Office for more information.

There are also a variety of external study abroad scholarships. Students should apply for any scholarships through their specific program if they are eligible. Please contact the Global Engagement Office for more information on external scholarships, including the Gilman Scholarship offered through the U.S. Department of State.