Global tuition fees: which university is the most expensive?

Global tuition fees: which university is the most expensive?

Prestige, especially on an international scale, is why some universities can charge much higher fees than others.

Paying for prestige is seen as an investment, not only for a high standard of education but for the long-term employment benefits of graduating from a well-respected institution. The prestige of a university can imply that alumni have the attributes and skills employers desire.

Vita Student take a look at the top five most popular countries for international students – and the premium you pay for studying at their most prestigious institutions.

United States


Average cost of tuition per year at the five most reputable US universities

In a 2014 report conducted by HSBC, the US emerged as the third most-expensive option overall, behind Australia and Singapore. The average annual cost of studying in the US, including both tuition and living expenses, is $36,564 per annum. As most undergraduate courses are four years long, you would be paying over $130,000 for your bachelor degree, and an additional $70,000 for most master’s degrees.

At the very top-tier US universities, the majority of which are private non-profits, fees and living costs are likely to add up to around $60,000 per year. If you want to study at the best universities in the country, then you have to pay a lot of money for the privilege.




Average cost of tuition per year at the five most reputable UK universities


For international students, the average cost per year of studying in the UK at undergraduate level is $17,758, rising to $18,355 at postgraduate level. At universities, you will find that laboratory and clinical degree programs are markedly more expensive, with some universities in London charging as much $51,555 a year.

Studying in the UK would be less expensive than a comparable course in the US, as most UK universities offer more intensive programs, with the average undergraduate degree lasting three years compared to four, and one year for a master’s degree instead of two.

The fact that degree courses in the UK are more intensive, and thus shorter, than those in many other countries has an obvious financial advantage, not only in study and living costs, but also that you have the opportunity to enter, or re-enter, the employment market sooner.




Average cost of tuition per year at the five most reputable German universities


Germany has abolished tuition fees for undergraduate students at all public universities. There is only a small fee, of around $113 – $227 a year, to cover administration and additional costs per semester.

There are some exceptions to this rule, where you may find that some regions charge tuition fees if a degree course isn’t finished on time. Private universities are different, and are financed by tuition fees, so you can expect to pay up to $22,706 per year. 

The average cost of studying in Germany is just $10,410 per year, breaking down to $534 for school fees and $9,877 for 12 months of living.




Average cost of tuition per year at the five most reputable French universities


For undergraduate courses in France, the average fee for tuition is $216 a year. Certain subjects, including engineering and medical degrees, charge slightly higher fees.

Depending on whether they are public or private, the highly selective, and more prestigious, “grandes ecoles” and “grands etablissements” set their own fees, and they tend to cost anything from $568 to $11,353.

Similar to Germany, private universities choose their tuition fees, and these are usually between $1,703 and $6,812.




Average cost of tuition per year at the five most reputable Australian universities


The combined cost of studying and living in Australia is higher than in any other country on average – more so than the UK or US.

The total cost for international study in Australia, including annual fees and cost of living, is calculated at $42,000 a year on average.

Additionally, the cost of education in Australia is disproportionate to the reputation of the institutions and perceived quality on offer. Only 25% of parents, surveyed by HSBC, ranked Australia as within the top three countries for education, compared with 51% and 38% for the US and UK respectively.

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