How do university fees in the UK compare to those of the rest of the world? We tracked down the minimum yearly university fees in 59 countries around the world to answer this question.
Prospective students balking at the size of a UK student loan won’t be surprised that the UK is the fifth most expensive, at £9,250, but the USA sits comfortably at the top with yearly fees of almost £20,000. See the map above for the rest of our findings.
If you’re an aspiring student who’d consider leaving the UK for your studies, it’s worth taking into account living costs as well as the university fees themselves. In the table below, we’ve combined the uni fees with estimated yearly living costs for each country’s biggest city, so you can compare the total costs you could expect in each.
Many countries in the EU offer free tuition to other EU citizens (which, for now, we still are). However, higher living costs in these countries compared with some of the Latin American and Middle Eastern countries mean that they might still not be the cheapest options, although they do still turn out significantly cheaper than staying in the UK.
If you really want to study on a shoestring, our analysis suggests that Turkey could be your best bet, with yearly fees of only £468, and cheap living costs. In Istanbul, for example, you could get by with less than £5,000 for the whole year.
The full list of countries
Minimum yearly fee for students from UK
Most populated city
Estimated yearly living cost
More useful facts about studying abroad
The university fees used in this piece were taken from TopUniversities study destination guides.
Where available, the cheapest option for an undergraduate degree was used. All fees are for UK nationals studying at a public university.
If a total course fee was supplied, this was divided by the length of the course.
Similarly if a semester fee was supplied this was multiplied by the number of semesters in each year to give a total year cost.
If a per-credit cost was supplied, the year cost was calculated by multiplying the credit cost by the number of credits required to pass.
Where a university course incurred administration fees this was divided by the course length and added to the total to give an accurate representation of the cost of the degree.
The cost of living in each city was taken from cost-of-living site Numbeo. We used Numbeo’s estimate for a single person’s living costs excluding rent in each city, and added on a third of the average rent for a three-bedroom flat outside of the city centre.
*In Taiwan the largest city is actually New Taipei. However, the cost-of-living data was unavailable for this city, so we used Taipei (the capital) instead.
“The rise of technology and cheap flights has made the prospect of studying abroad much more realistic and less daunting than it was for previous generations. A large amount of international courses are being taught in English, and if British students don’t feel like our universities offer them value for money then they won’t hesitate to consider alternatives.
Something worth keeping an eye on is whether Brexit leads the UK to leave the European Economic Area (EEA) as well as the EU. In this scenario, it is likely that tuition fees for Brits would have to be negotiated with each country, increasing the likelihood that they might shoot up. Also bear in mind that traditional student loans aren’t available when studying abroad, although some countries do offer schemes to help foreign students fund their stay”.
– Jon Ostler, UK CEO at finder.com
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Noi is the publishing innovation and data analysis manager at finder UK. She likes writing articles about numbers, and sometimes writes about herself in the third person. Hi, yes it was me all along. Hope you're enjoying your time on the site.
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