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Univer­sity costs

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On ev­ery mea­sure, Bri­tain is an ex­pen­sive place to study, and stu­dents who shun our uni­ver­si­ties in favour of higher ed­u­ca­tion abroad could save tens of thou­sands of pounds. Tu­ition fees in the UK have now reached £9,250 a year and stu­dents also face some of the high­est liv­ing costs in the world. For­tu­nately there are a num­ber of coun­tries where uni­ver­si­ties of­fer de­gree pro­grammes en­tirely in English.

Here are the main points you need to be aware of and some ex­am­ples of how much it might cost to study for your de­gree abroad.

Find­ing a course

If you want to study in English, be pre­pared to do some dig­ging. Master’s de­grees taught in English are preva­lent through­out Europe and Asia, but un­der­grad­u­ate op­tions are harder to find.

Even if one univer­sity in a coun­try doesn’t of­fer any English­taught de­grees, oth­ers may, and pro­grammes change fre­quently. The web­site Bach­e­lorsPor­tal.com al­lows you to search for de­gree pro­grammes world­wide.

The Nether­lands, Ger­many, Tai­wan, Malaysia, Spain, Italy and China are some of the coun­tries where you can find de­grees taught in English, al­though the preva­lence does vary.

What it will cost

Much de­pends on the univer­sity you choose. In the ta­ble on the right you can see the es­ti­mated costs for uni­ver­si­ties in seven coun­tries, with the costs for Univer­sity College Lon­don and the Univer­sity of Manch­ester for com­par­i­son.

All of these op­tions are cheaper than study­ing in Bri­tain, even in lo­ca­tions where a bach­e­lor’s de­gree course lasts four years.

Liv­ing costs, in­clud­ing rent, have been cal­cu­lated us­ing a com­bi­na­tion of the uni­ver­si­ties’ own es­ti­mates, and fig­ures pro­vided by Mon­ey­corp and data ser­vice Num­beo. We have as­sumed that a stu­dent in­curs these costs for 10 months of the year, al­low­ing for time spent back home. If in pri­vate ac­com­mo­da­tion there may be rent to pay in the re­main­ing months.

We’ve also in­cluded the cost of flights. For the Asian uni­ver­si­ties we have as­sumed two one-way flights at the be­gin­ning and end of the aca­demic year, plus one re­turn flight for a trip home at some other point in the year. For Euro­pean uni­ver­si­ties, more fre­quent trips home have been al­lowed for.

The tu­ition fees used are ex­am­ples, as they can vary by course. Visa costs have been in­cluded where nec­es­sary. Here are three of the op­tions bro­ken down in de­tail.

Univer­sity of Am­s­ter­dam

The Dutch cap­i­tal is not a cheap city to live in, but stan­dard tu­ition fees of £1,800 a year make it sig­nif­i­cantly cheaper than a Bri­tish de­gree at £37,400 for three years all in. There are 14 bach­e­lor’s de­grees on of­fer that are taught in English, in­clud­ing po­lit­i­cal sci­ence, eco­nomics and busi­ness eco­nomics, and ac­tu­ar­ial sci­ence. Nearly all Dutch peo­ple speak English and the univer­sity is ranked 58th in the world by QS, a rating ser­vice.

Tian­jin Univer­sity

Mov­ing to China is not for the faint hearted. Un­der­grad­u­ate de­gree cour­ses at Tian­jin last four years, but the to­tal cost, at £28,800, is still around half the cost of a three-year de­gree in Bri­tain.

Liv­ing costs are only around £400 a month and tu­ition fees are £2,300 a year. Flights will cost £3,600 over the four years. Tian­jin, near Beijing, is one of the world’s largest cities. The univer­sity ranks in the top 500 glob­ally, ac­cord­ing to QS.

Three un­der­grad­u­ate pro­grammes are of­fered in English: chem­i­cal engi­neer­ing, en­vi­ron­ment and en­ergy, and phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal sci­ence.

Univer­sity of Mi­lan

Fees at Ital­ian pub­lic uni­ver­si­ties are means-tested. The Univer­sity of Mi­lan’s fees range from £140 to £3,650 a year. The one bach­e­lor’s de­gree of­fered en­tirely in English – po­lit­i­cal sci­ences – is a three-year course. While liv­ing costs in Mi­lan are high, the sig­nif­i­cantly lower fees make it a cheaper op­tion than a Bri­tish univer­sity.

Fund­ing it

The true cost of a Bri­tish de­gree is the amount you will pay in stu­dent loan re­pay­ments plus any fam­ily as­sis­tance or money from part-time work. In many cases, grad­u­ates will re­pay more than they bor­rowed. Stu­dent loans from the UK are not avail­able to those who head to a for­eign univer­sity for their en­tire de­gree.

Those who study at a univer­sity in the Euro­pean Union will be af­forded the same as­sis­tance as a stu­dent of that coun­try. It is not yet known if this right will be lost as a re­sult of Brexit. In some cases there may be schol­ar­ships avail­able, ei­ther from the uni­ver­si­ties them­selves or from ex­ter­nal bod­ies.

If no sup­port is avail­able, mov­ing abroad to study is a vi­able op­tion only for those able to fund their de­gree through fam­ily as­sis­tance or work­ing. Whether or not stu­dents are able to work part-time to sup­port them­selves will de­pend on the coun­try. If you are study­ing on a visa there are likely to be re­stric­tions.

All of these op­tions are cheaper than Bri­tain, even for cour­ses of four years

Han­dling money over­seas

There are two routes to con­sider: keep money in the UK and use a com­pet­i­tive cur­rency or credit card for the du­ra­tion of the de­gree, or open a lo­cal bank ac­count and move money across in chunks, us­ing a spe­cial­ist cur­rency trans­fer ser­vice to get the best rate.

A bank ac­count may be nec­es­sary. For in­stance, fees may have to be paid by bank trans­fer, and an in­ter­na­tional trans­fer could be ex­pen­sive. Ad­di­tion­ally, a lo­cal bank ac­count could be re­quired to set up pay­ments for a phone con­tract or util­i­ties.

Other con­sid­er­a­tions

Make sure you check the ex­act en­try re­quire­ments for the course, as these will dif­fer from UK uni­ver­si­ties, as will the ap­pli­ca­tion process.

Bear in mind that the aca­demic year and ap­pli­ca­tion dead­lines in other coun­tries may not be the same as in Bri­tain.

For coun­tries out­side the EU, you are likely to need to ap­ply for a stu­dent visa.

Low coun­try: stu­dents could pay £37,000 to study in Am­s­ter­dam, com­pared with £74,000 in Lon­don

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