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Doodle Nandi

Doodle Nandi is a content editor for Hotcourses India- an IDP company, and helps write articles that help students with their study abroad journey.


16 May 2017 382 Book icon 3 mins Share

Study abroad – what does the tuition fee cover and what it doesn’t?

When planning your budget to study abroad, carefully research about what your tuition fee will actually cover. There could be some hidden costs or additional expenses too that you need to think of.

16 May 2017 382 Book icon 3 mins Share
Doodle Nandi

Doodle Nandi is a content editor for Hotcourses India- an IDP company, and helps write articles that help students with their study abroad journey.


Share this article
what your tuition fee covers and what it doesn't

You got the funds ready, either through a loan or your sponsor’s savings, but when you enrolled yourself to an institution abroad, you found that you had to bear additional expenses and the extra penny went somewhere.

Where did it go? You might be wondering. If you had planned well earlier, then you would have known that there are some hidden costs that some universities don’t talk about and don’t directly include in their tuition fees either.

However, you'll know now what those hidden costs are.

First, – there are six main costs involved at any university or college you study abroad. And these are – Tuition, lodging or boarding, stationeries, personal expenses, activity fees and transportation.

  • Tuition – as the name implies, tuition fee is the money that you pay for your entire academic programme at a university or college abroad. The fee will also vary, could be more or less, depending on the credit hours, type of programme and so on.

 Note: Sometimes, tuition fee might involve the cost of lodging. This is known as ‘comprehensive fee’. If you come across this term, please clarify with the university what exactly they mean by that term.  

  • Lodging or boarding – accommodation cost will vary depending on what type of accommodation you prefer, either homestays, dorm houses or shared apartments. If you are a lone ranger, then you’ll have to shell out more money so think carefully before you decide anything.
  • Stationeries – a typical undergraduate or postgraduate student might be spending nearly USD 1,000 to 3000 for books and stationeries, for the entire duration of the academic programme. Find out if you can make complete use of the library at your institution abroad plus any other library in and around your city. Try to avoid purchasing references that might be unnecessary later.
  • Personal expenses – yes, you need to think about it! You’ll have to keep some money in hand for various purposes, such as laundry, phone calls, movies, dining out and so on. 
  • Activity fee – this includes out-of-classroom activities, such as joining clubs, fraternities and so on.
  • Transportation – one of the ways you can save more money is by controlling your transport expenses. You need to get an international student ID card or a pass to save your transport costs.

Sometimes, universities or colleges abroad might ask for separate ‘parking fees’, if you have your own vehicle, for commuting on-campus. Check with the university what would be the cost of that and plan accordingly.

Now, the above six are base costs that you must consider. The hidden costs that may or may not be linked to your tuition fee could be as follows (might vary!)

1. Enrolment/registration fee – check if you have to pay any registration or enrolment fee for the course you have chosen, irrespective of the size of the course. This is basically an admin fee that might cover even the cost of your graduation robes.

2. Endowment fee – some universities allow a separate body or a committee to raise funds each year, and anyone can use the money from that pool towards purchasing certain equipment or commodities for the university.

This money comes from students and is known as ‘endowment fee’. It could be used to pay for field trips, purchase any new equipment, start new scholarships or fund any needy student and organise career placement programmes.

Note: endowment fee might be known by a different name at a university abroad, such as ‘students’ support services’.

3. University library – using a library is indeed a good idea, but you need to check if your tuition cost involves a library fee. If so, make full use of that.

4. Students’ union – you may or may not come across a students’ union at a university abroad. A union may ask you to pay a minimal fee to support their initiatives, which you may dislike, and in return provide some occasional help to you or your mates. Another name for the money that goes to students’ union is ‘students’ organisation fees’.

5. Health fee – this is optional because not every student will use the health centre or occasional counselling sessions. Still better, you should have a word with the admissions committee whether your tuition money will cover this cost or not.

6. Green fee – some universities demand a ‘green fee’ for the rising energy costs in their campus premises. Find out how much it is, if any, and if it is worth paying that sum.

7. Technology fee – similar to the library fee, some universities and colleges might ask for a ‘tech fee’ that comprises the fee for using computers at their digital library. This money goes in purchasing the software. Check again if this would be covered under the ‘library fee’.  

Concluding lines –

Hence, when paying your tuition fee at a university or college abroad, just look for the following additional costs: library fee, tech fee, endowment fee, registration/enrolment fee and union fee. If you feel that something is discrete or missing from your tuition fee, just enquire with the concerned faculty or admissions committee. 

Hope this helps. Do let us know what you think about this article. Our counsellors are here to guide you further on your study abroad journey. 

Want to study abroad?

Anshul Katyal Anshul Katyal,
IDP Expert
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