Budget and Scholarship Management in Education Abroad

An excerpt from the forthcoming book NAFSA’s Guide to Education Abroad, Fifth Edition, highlights the importance of budget management as a skill for international educators.
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Miko McFarland

Editor’s note: The following excerpt is adapted from the chapter “Education Abroad Budgets” in the forthcoming NAFSA’s Guide to Education Abroad, Fifth Edition. See the full chapter for sample budgets and additional sections on operational budgets and surplus.


Studying abroad encourages students to reach beyond their comfort zone, and budget management oftentimes does the same for international educators as it is frequently the part of the job with which they are least familiar. International educators may come into the field without formal training in accounting or budget management and therefore have to acquire this unfamiliar, yet very important, skill while on the job. The NAFSA International Education Professional Competencies recognizes business acumen as a core competency for the international education professional. This skill includes aligning business models with institutional strategy, championing ethical practices, facilitating contracts, and managing finances and budget.

Program Budgets

In addition to managing the office operating expenses, education abroad professionals must manage the individual budgets that support the programs offered. The education abroad office facilitates a diverse portfolio of program types that vary in enrollment capacity, levels of support, and types of experience. Program types also vary in the type of budget management that is required for each of them. Some education abroad program types require much more budgetary oversight than others.

Faculty-Led Program Budgets

Faculty-led programs can bring enrollment volume but require greater financial and budgetary oversight. Although there are a variety of ways to structure and financially support a faculty-led program budget, a

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