How Much Do Host Families Get Paid For Foreign Exchange Students

how much do host families get paid for foreign exchange students

How Much do Host Families Get Paid for Foreign Exchange Students?

In the realm of foreign exchange, one realm that is often overlooked is that of host families for international students. These are the unsung heroes who open their homes and hearts to young learners from across the globe, hoping to promote intercultural understanding and friendship. It is a richly rewarding experience, but naturally, monetary compensation comes into the picture. This article unpacks the financial aspects of hosting a foreign exchange student.

The Basics

Hosting a foreign exchange student is not a job, but host families are typically compensated for the expenses they incur during the student’s stay. The amount depends on several factors, including the student's age, length of stay, and specific hosting program. Keep in mind, the income isn't meant to turn a profit but rather, to offset costs.

Typical Payments

There isn't a universal amount that all host families receive, due to the varying factors. However, on average, host families may receive between $400-$1000 per month. Particularly high-cost areas, like some parts in the USA or major cities in Canada or Australia, might pay at the higher end of the range.

Paid directly or Reimbursement?

The mode of payment vastly depends on the hosting program. Some programs prefer to directly pay a stipend to the host families, while others reimburse the expenditures. Make sure to check with the specific program for their policies.

The Tax Question

One should consult a tax advisor to see if the compensation received by hosting a foreign exchange student needs to be reported as income. In the U.S., the sum is generally considered a financial aid for study and is not taxable.

Australian Payment Model

In Australia, the host families receive a fortnightly payment, and the amounts can vary depending on whether the student is from a government, private, or tertiary institution. For government and private, the range might be from $235-$300, while tertiary students might fetch around $280-$300 per week.

The Canadian Scenario

Unlike in Australia or the US, in Canada host families aren't given a stipend. They are considered volunteer positions, although families receive a provincial tax credit for each student they host via certain high school programs.

Benefits Beyond Money

While being a host family does come with financial aid, remember that the real reward lies in the cultural exchange, bonding, and lifetime friendships that are formed. Host families often talk about the immense satisfaction that comes from making a positive impact on a young person's life.

Concluding Thoughts

Hosting a foreign exchange student is not a 'get-rich-quick' scheme. The compensation exists primarily to ease the financial burden, but the true beauty lies in the overall experience. It's about opening your home and heart, fostering international ties, and becoming a global citizen.


Always remember to do thorough research on the terms and conditions of various foreign exchange programs to understand the financial implications and assist you in making the best decision for your family.