One aspect that may deter students from studying abroad is the cost. Studying for a degree course overseas is much more than simply paying for your tuition; there are several elements that can make it more expensive than you originally thought.
The main expenditure for students is their tuition fees, the amount they have to pay to study abroad. Tuition fees covers the cost of enrolling and attending university and is usually charged per annum, or per term depending on your institution of choice.
In the UK, there are public (government funded) or private student loans companies which offer to pay your tuition fees for you. However as Student Finance England, the renowned government body which deals with the majority of UK students fees, are not available, students who study abroad need to find their own source of funding. Some companies or the universities themselves offer scholarships to prospective students, research to find where these are available and if you’re eligible to be awarded.
Grants and maintenance loans abroad
Most EU countries offer EU nationals the same grants and loans that they would offer students who are native to the country. This means that you can study in an EU country, such as France or Germany, and have the ability to apply for funding. This type of funding is to aid with rent, textbooks, groceries and utilities, however it won’t fund your entire stay and most students will need to find part-time work to help them along the way.
Most universities in the EU have a Housing Department which you can contact for information on accommodation. These will help you to secure a place when you move abroad however many have long waiting lists so it’s best to apply as soon as you receive an offer. Even if students aren’t allocated student housing as soon as they arrive in the country, the Housing Departments will have a list of trusted properties or student hostels which are safe.
With everything else to consider; tuition fees, living costs and accommodation to name but a few, most students forget to think about how they’re going to travel to their new home. Whether you choose to fly, catch a train or sit on a long coach journey to save cash, travelling will become a part of your outgoings. There may be times when you feel homesick and need to travel back during term breaks, come back for special occasions or even for emergencies and bereavement, ensuring you have enough funds to travel back home on a whim will relieve any pressure in case the unexpected happens.
Travelling home aside, everyday travelling to and from lectures will cut into your costs, just as they would back at home. Another factor to consider is that you’ll be in the EU, a place with light internal border controls allowing for spontaneous trips to other countries. Weekend trips across the border are a tempting idea and you’ll need to budget for these adventures.
Extra funding for international students
Whether you are an EU or an international student, the university or the government of your chosen country may offer extra help. Contact the embassy of the country you’ll be studying in or research online for more information on extra funding.
Depending on your university or whether you’re applying from a publicly or privately funded source for financial support, you may or may not be eligible for help. Some funding requires information about your income or information on your family income to aid their decision. If this is the case you need to research the eligibility criteria to find out how much you could be awarded.
An important note to remember is that privately funded sources are different to publicly (university or government) funded aid. Being funded by private companies is similar to taking out an actual loan, the repayments usually start straight away and you’ll need to make sure you can make the repayments in time.
Bursaries are a sum of financial aid that students aren’t required to pay back. These are usually awarded to students with a low income household or other circumstances.
Cost of living
The cost of living for each country is different, there are some countries in the European Union which have a higher cost of living than others and you should include this in your financial calculations. Check out our separate country section where we have included the average price of everyday items to give you an idea of average costs.
Most students forget to budget their leisurely activities when calculating how much it will cost them to live abroad. Every student needs his or her downtime, whether it is reading, going out or travelling. It is unrealistic to assume you won’t go to the cinema, have a meal out or treat yourself to a new outfit and if you don’t factor these into your budget you may find yourself spending money you don’t have. Remember to include enough money, even a small amount, for these extra things so you can enjoy yourself without overspending.
The majority of students, whether studying abroad or at home, pick up part-time work to help them financially. However this can prove more difficult when overseas as there are language and cultural barriers. If you are attending a university in a country where English is fluent, the probability of you obtaining a job is higher however some local businesses may still prefer someone who can speak in the native tongue.
Student budget planner
Producing a student budget planner is one of the smartest things any student can do. It’s easy enough to calculate your bills and allocate your money at the beginning of each term in your head, but you may find that you under-budget for specific areas.
By creating a budget planner, you will be able to allocate allowances for certain areas which are necessary such as rent, utilities, travel and food. Any money left over you can spend on luxuries such as leisurely activities and new clothes.
An exchange programme
Another option to study abroad is to take part in an exchange programme through your UK university. The length of time you spend abroad will depend on your degree course and which university you choose to go to in the UK. If you choose to sign up to an exchange programme, your tuition fees will be covered by Student Finance England and you can apply for grants and extra funding to aid your time abroad.