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How much does it cost to study? What financial costs should I expect?

A key consideration for most students is cost. There are usually two areas of cost to think about.

Firstly, there’s the money you’ll have to pay the university for your tuition. Secondly, there’s the money you’ll need to support yourself while you’re studying.

Tuition fees

Different universities and countries have different rules on tuition fees. Sometimes universities will charge fees running into tens of thousands of dollars – and they’re usually higher for international students than for students from the country you’re studying in. Sometimes it might all be paid for you by your government, by the government of the country where you’re studying or by a charity or international body. It not only depends on the country you’re proposing to study in, but where you’re from and your personal circumstances. At some universities, fees will be payable up-front and sometimes there are (usually government-backed) schemes to allow you to borrow the money to pay for your course and then you pay it back once you’ve graduated. Often these schemes aren’t open to international students. Before investing a lot of time in researching a particular university, it’s important to get a clear idea of the level of fees you’d be paying, how they’re paid, when, and what support might be available to you.

Living costs

Some parts of the world are hugely expensive places to live (such as Japan, the US, the UK, Scandinavia and some other parts of Europe), but even in those countries the variation between one city or region and another can make the difference between being able to afford to live there as a student or not. Usually the largest living cost to think about is the roof over your head. The university you choose may be able to provide you with somewhere affordable or at least point you to help to find suitable housing. On top of that you’ll need to pay for food, clothes, books, computers, local travel, entertainment and all the daily necessities. Just like housing, all these costs vary hugely depending on where and how you live. If you’re travelling far to study, international flights may be a big slice of your budget. You may need to think about whether you can afford to travel to the other side of the world to study, especially if you imagine coming home more than once a year. Unless you qualify in your own country for financial support to study internationally, students can’t often get financial assistance for their living costs if studying abroad. Occasionally there are scholarships for the highly able or, even more rarely, special grants for those in financial need. Few people can afford not to think about what it will cost when choosing the right university for them. Ideally, most of us would prefer only to let it become important if we’re deciding between otherwise equal options. However, the harsh truth is that many students can begin by ruling out whole parts of the globe where it would just be too costly to consider studying.

How 51 can help

51 does not (currently) list courses and the costs related to them. That’s because it depends too much on your personal circumstances for us to give you an accurate picture. We’d rather help you find out on your own than mislead you. With that in mind, on each university’s profile (to find it, click on a university’s name), there’s a link through to the university’s own website. That should provide further details of course costs or – at the very least – direct contact details so you can enquire further. To compare universities your way, click on, Best university for me.

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