British charges are highest in Commonwealth

February 20, 2004

UK universities charge international students the highest fees in the Commonwealth - almost 50 per cent more than rival institutions in Australia and New Zealand.

The survey of 180 institutions across the Commonwealth also reveals that although Canada is the country to head to for cheaper postgraduate science degrees, the cost of a Canadian postgraduate commerce course is second only to the cost of a similar course in the UK.

The study, conducted by the policy research unit at the Association of Commonwealth Universities, found that UK universities charge non-European Union international students an average fee ranging from £6,523 a year for an undergraduate arts course to £7,639 for an undergraduate science course. This compares with fees for comparable courses of £4,451-£5,215 in New Zealand, £4,131-£4,389 in Australia and £3,911-£4,081 in Canada.

Postgraduate fees in the UK range from £6,635 for arts to £7,805 for science courses. Similar courses in New Zealand cost £4,826-£6,186, in Australia £4,510-£6,017 and in Canada £3,402-£3,067.

The UK again tops the league for commerce-related courses, with average fees of £6,507 for undergraduate and £8,500 for postgraduate courses. Canada ranges from £4,462 to £7,438, Australia is third most expensive at £4,454 and £5,509 and New Zealand lags just behind at £4,614 and £5,123.

For the survey, ACU researchers selected the four countries from the wide spread of institutions from the Commonwealth's other member states because of their broadly comparable educational structures and because they attract the highest numbers of international students.

They looked at four other disciplines: engineering, education, computer science and communication.

It is the third comparative survey on tuition fees conducted by the unit.

Full survey results at

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