India, Russia and Eastern Europe are cheapest places to study at a ranked university

Research into living costs and tuition fees reveals the cheapest place to study at a world-leading university.
October 9 2015

It’s not a conventional option, but there’s at least one very good reason for foreign students to choose a university in Russia.

The vast country is one of the cheapest places in world to study, second only to India, according to research by FAIRFX currency exchange.

Russia is also home to a top 200 university: Lomonosov Moscow State University, which sits in 161st place in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2015-16.

FAIRFX has calculated the average expenses for UK students across 29 countries that feature in the THE World University Rankings 2015-16. The costs include both tuition fees and living expenses.


Essential advice on the cost of studying at college


Darren Kilner, FAIRFX currency expert, commented: “A three-year course in the UK will cost a student around £63,000 in tuition fees and living costs – three times the amount of a deposit on a new house.

“With the investment costs so high, it’s no surprise that students are looking at cheaper ways of securing their university education, and studying abroad is becoming a much more attractive option.

“Not only can UK students take advantage of lower tuition fees, but the cost of living can also be much lower – so there is a definite financial incentive along with the opportunity to experience a new country and culture.”

According to the research, the UK is still a cheaper option for British students than the United States, South Korea, Singapore or Australia, which would cost them between £23,592 and £27,277 each year.

But for the best value for money option, Belgium might be the place. With average costs of £6,728 a year, it is the cheapest country with a top 50 university in the rankings: KU Leuven.

Alternatively, for only about £1,000 more a year, UK students could live and study comfortably in Sweden or Germany, both of which have universities classed as among the 30 best in the world.

Out of 13 European countries that entered the THE World University Rankings for the first time this year, three are calculated as even cheaper options than all the better-known study-abroad countries included in FAIRFX’s analysis.

Slovenia, Belarus and Ukraine all have universities ranked in bands between 501 and 800 in the World University Rankings, and would cost students about £3,500 a year, if that.

These countries might not yet be compelling options for those looking to study abroad, but as cultural and cost-effective experiences, uncharted European territory could soon be on the map.


Cheapest country for university study: FAIRFX’s ranking of 29 countries by cost

 Rank

Country

Annual average cost

Highest place in THE World University Rankings 2015-16

1

India

£3,630

251-300

2

Russia

£4,450

161

3

Denmark

£5,862

82

4

Mexico

£6,130

401-500

5

Spain

£6,633

146

6

Belgium

£6,728

35

7

China

£6,954

42

8

Taiwan

£6,975

167

9

Finland

£6,998

76

10

France

£7,129

54

11

Turkey

£7,331

251-300

12

Sweden

£7,517

28

13

Germany

£7,814

29

14

Brazil

£8,176

251-300

15

Indonesia

£8,349

601-800

16

Malaysia

£8,395

401-500

17

The Netherlands

£8,798

47

18

Italy

£10,933

112

19

New Zealand

£13,155

172

20

Japan

£14,897

43

21

Switzerland

£15,200

9

22

United Arab Emirates

£18,957

501-600

23

Canada

£19,323

19

24

Hong Kong

£20,721

44

25

UK

£21,000

2

26

US

£23,592

1

27

Singapore

£25,309

26

28

South Korea

£25,566

85

29

Australia

£27,277

33


Average cost of university study at European countries new to THE World University Rankings

Country

Average annual cost

Slovenia

£3,302

Belarus

£3,450

Ukraine

£3,512

Slovakia

£3,741

Luxembourg

£4,738

Serbia

£5,443

Hungary

£6,157

Lithuania

£6,240

Estonia

£6,780

Cyprus

£6,925

Latvia

£7,655

Romania

£7,830

Iceland

£7,986

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