Australia


Which Countries are the Cheapest and Costliest for UK Students Abroad?

by Ray Clancy on January 28, 2015

Poland, Portugal and Turkey the most affordable places to spend a year abroad and Australia, the USA and Canada the least affordable, new research has found.

Poland is the most affordable destination for British students hoping to study abroad, according to the research from HSBC.

With over 20,000 students spending a semester or year abroad on an Erasmus or similar programme, the research shows the cost of studying outside the UK varies dramatically according to location, ranging from £4,000 to as much as £15,000 for destinations outside Europe.

The available funding  of £9,353.27 for a third year at the University of Warsaw exceeds total costs of £4,119.16 by £5,234.11, giving some all-important extra cash to students wishing to travel around the country, visit home, or to help pay for books and other expenses.

In contrast, students heading to Australia could find themselves with a shortfall of £5,661.23, despite taking all available finance.

students UK

Poland is the most affordable study destination for UK students due to its low living and accommodation costs

With many second year students now beginning to think about a year abroad prior to the June application deadline the research looks at the cost of living, in addition to available funding and grants, at 15 universities outside the UK.

Poland tops the table of most affordable study destinations due to its low living and accommodation costs, as well as affordable travel. Students receive a one off payment of £313.76 from the Erasmus scheme to encourage them to study there and a free intensive language course is included for most Erasmus participants.

The relatively low cost of living and significant amount of funding available in Portugal and Turkey counters higher accommodation and travel costs to put these destinations into second and third place respectively.

Australia is the most expensive country in the world for students spending their third year abroad at £15,003.23 for an academic year. The cost of living in Sydney for the nine month academic year is £5,569.38, the highest out of all destinations surveyed. Despite receiving loans of up to £9,342.00, studying in Australia could leave students with £5,661.23 shortfall, plus a costly travel bill to and from the UK of over £3,000.

The USA, Canada and Japan are also comparatively expensive destinations when taking into account all potential costs.

‘Spending a year abroad whilst at university has become more and more popular, but some destinations may leave a bigger dent in students’ finances than others,’ said Oliver Cook, head of Foreign Exchange at HSBC UK.

‘As students begin to look at options for studying abroad for the 2015/2016 academic year, it is worth researching all the available grants and exchange rates, to give them a better idea about how they might manage their money at home and abroad,’ he explained.

‘International payment services can be used to send money overseas to and from your accounts or to pay bills. Making payments in the currency of your destination country means you can be certain of the exchange rate and of the exact amount you’re sending. By making the most of services like international payments and travel money, the financial side of studying abroad can become much easier to manage,’ he added.

UK students spending a year studying abroad can receive a higher maintenance loan than usual. Students participating in the Erasmus scheme also receive a non-means tested, non-repayable grant which is paid in two lump sums.

For Portugal, Italy, Spain, France, Belgium and Germany, this Erasmus funding equates to £2,623.95 over the course of an academic year based on nine months. For Poland and Turkey this is slightly lower at £2,204.19. All Erasmus students also receive a travel grant of up to £235.32.

Students opting for non-European study abroad will find that there is no formal scheme for monthly grants. While some universities do have bursaries and scholarship opportunities, these are limited to certain conditions such as household income and are therefore not guaranteed.

Turkey is the destination where the most financial assistance can be found, with a total of £9,629.27 available on application. Only the annual maintenance loan of £6,600 is repayable, giving students who visit Turkey £3,029.27 in ‘free’ grants.

Generally, European countries tend to offer lower costs and higher financial assistance. Students looking to study outside the EU may wish to consider Brazil, China or South Africa. The cost of living is low and exchange rates are preferable, whilst the high cost of travel is negated by generous travel grants.

Canada has the least amount of funding available, so students looking to study there may need to qualify for additional scholarships or bursaries to make the cost of a year abroad affordable.

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