Best-value places to study abroad

Germany is the most affordable country for international students, with good-value opportunities elsewhere in Europe, Africa and Asia

January 12 2017

University applicants can now predict the cost of studying around the world with a new cost calculator for the top 200 universities covering 27 different countries.

The tool, created by currency experts at FairFX and released ahead of the Ucas deadline in January 2017, reveals that Germany is the most affordable study destination for UK students looking to go abroad.

As Times Higher Education previously exposed, many top-ranked universities outside the UK offer greater value-for-money than those in the UK, given their high-quality teaching, research and innovation alongside low or entirely free tuition and affordable living costs.

Ian Strafford-Taylor, CEO of FairFX, commented: “To get the very best value, students must consider not only tuition fees but also the local living costs when you get there, as these can vary considerably.”

The 10 most affordable countries to study

Tuition fees and living costs listed are annual

Rank

Country

 Average tuition fee

 Average living cost

 Average total

1

Germany*

 £332

 £6,374

 £6,706

2

Sweden*

 £13

 £6,712

 £6,726

3

Finland*

 £88

 £7,232

 £7,319

4

South Africa

 £3,984

 £3,934

 £7,917

5

Taiwan

 £2,650

 £5,312

 £7,962

6

Denmark

 £0  

 £8,198

 £8,198

7

Austria

 £651

 £7,657

 £8,308

8

Belgium

 £742

 £7,856

 £8,597

9

Spain

 £1,530

 £7,976

 £9,507

10

Luxembourg

 £340

 £9,176

 £9,517

*no tuition fees are typically charged, only semester/student/admin fees 

Two Italian universities top the list of best-value institutions, primarily because of scholarships that reduce living costs to zero, although only for a select few applicants.

Italy does not appear in the top 10 countries for affordable study. South Africa is the cheapest place to study outside Europe, followed by Taiwan.

Denmark is one of the few countries where the average tuition is zero, compared with Germany, Sweden and Finland, where a small administration fee is charged.

Six of the spots in the table of the 10 cheapest universities are claimed by German institutions, but KTH Royal Institute of Technology pulls ahead of all the German competitors as the third best-value institution.

Among the university’s notable alumni is astronaut Christer Fuglesang, the first Swedish citizen in space.

Top 10 best value universities to study

Tuition fees and living costs listed are annual

Rank

University

Country

Tuition fee

Living cost

Total

1

Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa

Italy

 £0

 £0

 £0

2

Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna

Italy

 £0 

 £0 

 £0 

3

KTH Royal Institute of Technology

Sweden

 £0 

 £4,582

 £4,582

4

TU Dresden

Germany

 £346*

 £5,105

 £5,451

5

University of Bonn

Germany

 £231*

 £5,700

 £5,932

6

University of Münster

Germany

 £408*

 £5,530

 £5,939

7

Free University of Berlin

Germany

 £518*

 £5,530

 £6,048

8

University of Würzburg

Germany

 £177*

 £5,956

 £6,133

9

Aarhus University

Denmark

 £0  

 £6,381

 £6,381

10

University of Mannheim

Germany

 £237*

 £6,168

 £6,405

*no tuition fees are typically charged, only semester/student/admin fees 

Average living costs across the 27 countries range from under £4,000 a year in South Africa to more than £15,000 a year in the United States and Switzerland.

The high cost of living, coupled with the highest average tuition fees, sees the United States in first position as the most expensive study destination for international applicants.

Columbia University takes the spot of most expensive university in the top 200, with combined expenditure totalling £74,000.

Studying in the UK is the sixth most expensive option, slightly more affordable than America, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Hong Kong.

Top 10 most expensive countries to study

Tuition fees and living costs listed are annual

Rank

Country

 Average tuition fee

 Average living cost

 Average total

1

USA

 £33,691

 £15,505

 £49,195

2

Australia

 £19,382

 £13,178

 £32,560

3

New Zealand

 £17,324

 £12,304

 £29,627

4

Canada

 £16,825

 £8,765

 £25,590

5

Hong Kong

 £13,598

 £5,854

 £19,452

6

United Kingdom

 £8,994

 £9,311

 £18,305

7

Singapore

 £12,079

 £5,892

 £17,971

8

Israel

 £2,697

 £13,932

 £16,629

9

Switzerland

 £1,175

 £15,095

 £16,270

10

Japan

 £5,725

 £7,833

 £13,557

 FairFX’s tips on getting the best value if you decide to study abroad:

  • Research ahead of time. Can you apply for a scholarship or funding that will support you through university? Does the university offer exchange programmes? Can you apply for a student loan in that country?
  • Plan ahead. Taking advantage of exchange rates when they move in your favour could save you hundreds of pounds when it comes to making payments abroad or sending money to your overseas bank account for day-to-day living.
  • Set up a currency tracker to monitor rates, which will alert you to the best time to buy currency. This also rings true for parents sending money to their children overseas.
  • How will you manage day-to-day spending? Debit and credit cards are fine as a back-up, but you may find you’ll be hit with a string of fees for using those cards abroad – as well as an exchange rate chosen by your provider.
    Instead, get a prepaid currency card that you can top-up at any time and you can use for free in shops, restaurants and even the students’ union bar.
  • If you’re planning on opening a bank account overseas, watch out for hidden fees when transferring money and shop around for a good rate; don’t just default to your bank.

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Related articles