Report: Australia the Most Expensive Country for Higher Ed Abroad

A new report reveals that studying in Australia is the most expensive option worldwide for foreign students pursuing higher education. The research, which was released by HSBC, shows that Australia is followed by the United States and the United Kingdom for cost to overseas students, according to David Matthews of Times Higher Education.

The HSBC estimates found that the average annual cost of studying in Australia was $38,516 (USD) compared with $35,705 in the US and $30,325 in the UK. Australia has similar tuition fees to the US at around $25,000, but living costs are higher.

For overseas students, Germany clocked in at the best value as the least expensive place to study out of the 13 countries surveyed. In dramatic contrast, overseas students pay just $635 in tuition and less than $6,000 for living costs in Germany.

United Arab Emirates secured the fourth position, while China came in tenth. Annual costs were all below $10,000 in Russia, Taiwan, China and Spain.

Malik Sarwar, HSBC’s global head of wealth development, said: “With rising affluence, particularly in developing markets, and an increasingly competitive workplace that demands quality skills and a global outlook, we expect appetite for international education to continue to grow. He added: “Even though the market for higher education remains segmented and therefore mis-priced at an international level, the cost is going up everywhere as government subsidies are rolled back.”

The research calculated total costs by combining annual fees and annual cost of living. The fees data is based on the 10 largest universities in each country, while living costs are taken from Global Higher Education Rankings 2010: Affordability and Accessibility in Comparative Perspective, a report by Higher Education Strategy Associates and HBSC research.

International students who want to enroll in universities overseas need to put extra effort into their decision if they want to get the most out the experience. According to Kate Irwin of US News & World Report, when choosing a school each applicant should consider the part of the world they wish to live in, their post-college aspirations, what major to pursue and the value for money.

Specifically, Irwin points out that while getting a degree in a selective college will almost always be a good return on value, the student needs to consider whether the degree will be respected in their home country. She recommends that students also consider that unless a university is one of the best in the world in their selected major, the investment just might not be worthwhile.