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The cost of studying at a university in Brazil

This guide outlines fees, accommodation, and other costs, as well as detailing financial assistance options if you are planning to study in Brazil

    August 23 2019
    The cost of studying at a university in Brazil


    How much does it cost to study in Brazil? If you are interested in studying in Brazil, one of the most important things to consider is how much everything is going to cost. This essential guide breaks down the cost of every aspect of university life to ensure that you have everything covered.

    Note that prices are correct at the time of publication and may vary from those shown here. The local currency in Brazil is the real.

    Tuition fees

    Brazil has free public education up to postgraduate level for domestic and international students, so most public universities will only charge students a registration fee. 

    Private higher education institutions will charge fees and these will depend on the degree programme that you choose and the university itself.  

    Private tuition fees can cost between R$7,800 and R$40,200 (£1,600 and £8,200)

    Before applying to a university in Brazil you will also need to take a Portuguese language exam to prove that you can speak and write Portuguese to an academic standard. On top of this students will have to pass an entrance exam known as the Vestibular. 

    A week in the life of a student in Brazil

    Accommodation costs

    Very few universities in Brazil offer student accommodation but many will help to arrange homestays. 

    Otherwise students can stay in private rented accommodation.

    An apartment can cost between R$830 and R$1,200 (£170 and £252) a month. 

    The average cost of utilities (which include water, electricity and gas) can be about R$290 (£59). 

    Other essential student costs

    Brazil has a relatively cheap cost of living with many things such as food and transport costing less than they would in other countries around the world. 

    For example, the cost of a one-way ticket on local buses can be as low as R$3 to R$4.50 (£0.63 to £0.92). The buses are frequent and the routes are comprehensive.

    Taxis are also relatively reasonable with one ride costing about R$5.50 (£1.12) and rising by R$2.50 (£0.50) per kilometre. There are also taxi apps that you can use as well as Uber and Cabify. 

    Additionally, if you are studying in Rio de Janeiro or São Paulo then you can use their metro systems. One way fares in Rio cost R$4.30 (£0.87) and R$4 in São Paulo (£0.81).

    Fresh fruit and vegetables are available in abundance across the country and should fit within the student budget. A couple of examples include apples at R$5.88 a kilo (£1.19), and potatoes at R$3.36 a kilo (£0.68). A litre of milk costs R$3.18 (£0.65) and a loaf of bread costs R$5.56 (£1.13). 

    Another cost that is worth taking into account is healthcare. Public healthcare is free to all Brazilian and foreign residents through the national system known as the Unified Health System. However, students may consider taking out private health insurance that allows access to private healthcare, which is often faster and more advanced. 

    The cost of studying at a university in Brazil


    Compared with studying in the UK, the US or Australia the living costs in Brazil are affordable, but due to inflation local prices are rising slightly. 

    Depending on what you like to do in your spare time, there are are plenty of cheap (or free) things to do when you’re not studying.

    For example, a meal at a typical restaurant is, on average, R$17 (£3.55) and a beer can vary in price depending on whether it is imported or local but you shouldn’t expect to pay more than R$9.80 (£2) for a beer. 

    Gym membership can vary depending on the size of the gym and where you are in the country. In Rio de Janeiro it can cost up to R$130 (£26.42).

    A cinema ticket can cost R$20 (£4.17). However, with an abundance of beaches and year-round good weather, there is also plenty of opportunity to spend time exploring the outdoors for free. 

    What financial support is available?

    Universities in Brazil offer financial aid in the form of government grants for low-income students to attend private universities.

    However, international students cannot apply for these so it might be a good idea to see if your university or home country can provide any financial assistance. 

    Read more in this series

    The cost of studying at a university in Japan


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