Advice for UK students on studying abroad
UK students studying abroad
Costs and funding
What will it cost me?
When comparing costs between countries take into account both the costs (tuition fees, cost of living including visas, health insurance and travel costs) and your potential sources of income (eg whether you will be eligible for any financial support locally, whether you can reasonably expect to earn from part-time work while studying).
Bear in mind that exchange rate fluctuations can make the real costs unpredictable if you are transferring your funds from the UK or elsewhere.
How much will I pay for tuition fees?
- Tuition fees vary enormously by country, with many European countries still offering free or cheap undergraduate education. Countries where UK (and local) students currently pay no fees include Austria, Cyprus (undergraduate level), Denmark, Finland, Germany (in 14 out of 16 Länder), Greece, Malta, Norway and Sweden (according to a Eurydice report, 2012). UK and local students pay low fees (ie no more than a few hundred pounds) in France, Italy, Spain and Germany. In some countries courses in the local language are free but fees are charged for "international courses" taught in English eg in the Czech Republic.
- Some UK universities now have campuses abroad, where both fees and living costs might be lower than for the same degree in the UK.
- Find out if you will have to pay the advertised price, or whether any scholarships, bursaries or fee-waivers be available from the institution.
Support from the host country or institution
Most internationally mobile students have to fund their study from their own (or their family’s) resources. Remember that competition for most scholarships is intense, and that it is usually necessary to apply a year or so in advance of the proposed date of admission.
You can ask about government scholarships from the relevant embassy, consulate or education office and about institutional funding from the universities to which you apply.
Do not assume you will be able to fund your studies by working during your degree. You will need to check whether and to what extent you are permitted to work if in the country on a student visa, and also to check the availability of work. It may be a condition of entry that you are able to demonstrate your ability to support yourself (and any dependants) from your own resources. If you don't speak the local language, would you be able to find work?
In some EU countries you may be eligible for some student grants, loans or benefits on the same basis as local students, eg housing benefits, travel concessions or grants towards the costs of study. Check what applies in your proposed country and region of study.
Support from UK sources
Although the UK has signed up to a commitment to portability of educational loans and grants , this has not yet been implemented, so you are unlikely to be able to access the same entitlements you would have if studying in the UK.
A small number of grants are available from UK research councils and professional bodies for postgraduate study overseas. Contact the relevant body for your subject area to find out whether they offer anything suitable.
A small number of educational trusts and charities based in the UK may provide support for UK students studying overseas. In most cases these will only cover a small proportion of the costs involved, and funding from other sources will be needed. Information can be found in directories of educational grant-making bodies (see your local library or careers service).
A very small number of scholarships are available to UK nationals, mainly at postgraduate level, via schemes such as:
- the Commonwealth Scholarships and Fellowships Plan for study in selected other Commonwealth countries
- the Fulbright awards scheme for study in the USA
- EU funded schemes for doctoral students under the Marie Curie scheme.