How Much Does it Cost to Study Abroad?

While the overall cost of studying abroad is a valid concern, one of the most common questions is how much it costs to study abroad?...

How Much Does it Cost to Study Abroad?

Studying abroad is expensive compared to studying in the home country. The cost of studying abroad is one of the most important factors which international students apply to compare countries to study abroad. While the overall cost of studying abroad is a valid concern, one of the most common questions is how much does it cost to study abroad?

However, estimating how much money you will have to save in order to study undergraduate or postgraduate degree studies abroad can be very hard. Especially when you’re going to a country with different cultures, prices, and living standards. This article summarizes the different costs of studying abroad. Explore the costs of studying abroad, including low-cost and free destinations.

Moreover, studying abroad is an invaluable experience that provides countless benefits. From expanding your worldview to gaining international experience, which will enhance both your resume and personal growth. Most people who have studied abroad will tell you that studying abroad was one of the best experiences of their lives.

Meanwhile, there's usually a common barrier which is the total cost of studying abroad, but it doesn't have to be so. That is to say, with tuition fees and living costs varying a lot between universities, cities, and countries, there's certainly an option to suit every budget. Different countries have different fee structures, education systems, the value of the currency, etc. Moreover, it is important to calculate and know the cost of studying abroad. So that you can draw up a tuition budget for yourself, then finalize the country, making your decision process a whole lot easier.

For many international students, this is a very big concern. However, continue reading to learn more,  if you are worried about how you can pay for those big one-off expenses.

How Much Does it Cost to Study Abroad?

It is almost impossible to answer this question without asking a number of follow-up questions like "How long do you plan to study?", "What program will you take?", Where will you study?", etc.

Moreover, placing an average price tag on studying abroad can be inefficient, such that it conceals the intense range of costs between different countries and programs. Nonetheless, estimates also vary widely on the subject. With these facts and a few others that we didn't mention, we come to a conclusion that there's no common consensus on what the average cost of studying abroad actually is.

Therefore, instead of asking "how much does it cost to study abroad?", a better question would be; "what are the costs when you study abroad?". It’s not just about asking how much it costs to study abroad — but also, what is and isn’t covered in that total program cost? The 3 major components that make up the cost of studying abroad include Tuition, Living expenses (accommodation, transportation, personal expenses), and Academic Supplies.

Tuition Fees

These are the sums of money you pay to cover the cost of your higher education. Tuition fees at foreign universities are the first, foremost, and main expense of studying abroad. However, tuition fees vary according to what and where you study. Public universities have low tuition fees compared to private universities, as public universities receive funding from the government. However, the quality of education remains the same depending upon the country you choose.

Some countries (including many in the European Union) have great public education systems. You can study abroad for free but usually, you have to pay the tuition fee but they will charge you very little even as an international student. Others, such as the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia, may end up costing an arm and a leg. Tuition fees can often be your biggest expense when you study abroad, not least in the English-speaking world.

Furthermore, below are ranges of tuition fees according to certain circumstances:

Tuition fees by higher education level

Moreover, tuition fees are also determined by the level of study programs: whether you are taking an undergraduate or postgraduate program. Generally, master's degrees have a higher annual expense than three or four-year undergraduate or bachelor's programs. But their shorter duration means that they can be cheaper in total.

Tuition fees by subject

Furthermore, in some countries like the United States, the tuition fees generally depend on your preferred course. But in countries such as the United Kingdom, students are generally required to pay a standardized tuition fee. Meanwhile, here are some of the most expensive and most affordable subjects you could study:

Most Expensive

  • Business
  • Engineering
  • Health science
  • Physical sciences
  • Art
  • Nursing

Most Affordable

  • Psychology
  • Computer science
  • Criminal justice
  • Education
  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Philosophy

Living Expenses (Accommodation, Transportation, Personal Expenses)

After tuition, rent, and daily costs of living, such as food and other personal expenses is normally the second-largest outgoing for international students. Housing or accommodation expenses are the biggest concern for each student going to study abroad. Many study abroad programs will include this price in the upfront program fees, including if you are living in a homestay or dormitories with meals provided.

However, not every student gets the opportunity for university accommodation. They have to take shelter in rented places. Moreover, the cost of accommodation varies depending on where you will study and what type of accommodation you choose. Housing prices are generally more expensive in big cities than in smaller places. Furthermore, you can also save money by sharing your room with one or more students.

Then, living costs, on the other hand, includes meals, groceries, telephone expense, electricity bill, internet expenses, etc. In short, your everyday expenses are included in it. It depends on the location you choose to stay in and the way of your lifestyle. international students try to cover their living expenses by working part-time wherever possible along with their studies. But, part-time work has its limitations for different countries.

Moreover, transportation is another major expense that students should include while planning their study abroad arrangements. Along with flight expenses, you should also consider the travel expenses of your daily life in a new country. Although some programs will include the cost of flights to your host country, some won’t. You’ll want to make sure you know exactly what your program fees cover ahead of time.

Academic Supplies/ Study Expenses

Moreover, as a university student, you will be the one responsible for sourcing your own courses materials such as textbooks, notepads, laptops, and art supplies. For studying at abroad universities, you will require to spend some money on your course material and project world. Academic supplies include, but are not limited to, textbooks, stationery, art materials, printers, ink, USB flash drives, etc.

However, before purchasing a coursebook, see whether it’s stocked in your university’s library. If not, you’ll probably be able to find a second-hand copy at a discounted rate online. For a theoretical course, you will require books that sometimes can be borrowed from the library or bought secondhand. For practical courses your need to purchase materials to create the projects.

Other Expenses

Moreover, other expenses you will need to make while studying abroad are as follows:

Health Insurance

It is usually a legal requirement for international students to have valid health insurance in most countries. Otherwise, your visa application will be denied. However, it is essential to have a health insurance policy, even if you're not obliged to provide evidence of your health cover. Meanwhile, the cost of a health insurance policy will depend on the coverage options you choose. However, when purchasing health insurance, make sure you shop around, instead of just accepting the first health insurance quote you’re given.


Most international students studying abroad must get a student visa in order to enter a specific country. However, most countries charge a visa application fee, and some will require payment for temporary residence as well.

Tips on How to Save Money While Studying Abroad

Here are some money-saving tips that could be useful if you are looking to make your money go even further:

  • Pay your tuition fees in advance. Some universities offer discounts, usually between 5 to 15% to students who cover their academic expenses upfront.
  • Consider choosing a smaller college or campus with more affordable fees. The quality of education may be just as good, and you could also benefit from more attention.
  • Consider an online degree program; The tuition fees are considerably cheaper. And also, you won’t need to worry about accommodation costs.
  • Keep your money in a high-interest savings account, and only withdraw when you need to pay for big items. You’ll receive a small financial bonus each year.
  • You should also consider finding employment. Many countries allow international students to work part-time alongside their studies (usually up to 20 hours per week).

How Much Does it Cost to Study Abroad? — Final Thoughts

In conclusion, the cost of studying abroad can also vary depending on the nationality or residence of an individual. It might also prove to be the more economical option. For instance, research shows that the cost of public four-year university education in the US has tripled between 1989 and 2019 after adjusting for inflation. However, direct enrollment at an overseas institution for a semester, year, or even an entire degree has the possibility to save you some substantial cash.

Moreover, some of the costs of studying abroad are also the same if you study at home too. Only that it is easy to spend more money when you study abroad unless you go to a cheap country. For instance, in Europe tuition fees are usually lower than in other parts of the world, but living costs can be high. Whereas, living costs are lower in many parts of Asia than in the Western World.

Furthermore, when budgeting for, and funding, your study abroad trip, the first thought that comes to your mind should be scholarships. There are thousands of grants and scholarships out there offered by universities, government organizations, not-for-profit enterprises, and other private foundations. You can check out or subscribe to our newsletter for scholarship updates.