The basics
Malaysia: Student Finances - Must read

Financing your studies in Malaysia

Living and working in Malaysia

Affordable tuition fees in Malaysia is one of the big draws for international students, with pre-university studies costing anywhere from USD2,290 to 3,230 per year.

Bachelor's and postgraduate degree programmes vary in price dependent on the type of college and subject of study. Malaysian private universities generally offer the cheapest courses, while foreign branch campus universities' degree programmes are likely to be more expensive. A business degree, for example, could cost anything from USD8,570 to 11,430 at a Malaysian private university and up to USD24,000 at a foreign branch university.


Cost of living

The cost of living in Malaysia is relatively cheap. The average total cost of living for a student in Malaysia, therefore, ranges from RM12,000 to RM17,000 (USD3,750 to USD5,625) per year, and between RM1,000 and RM1,500 (USD313 to USD469 ) per month. It works out significantly cheaper than any other student destination.



Accommodation is priced reasonably depending on location. You should estimate about RM300 (USD94) to RM450 (USD141) for your accommodation per month.

The rental will vary depending on the geographical area, the type of accommodation (on-campus living in a hall of residence; or off-campus living in an apartment, condominium, double-storey house, etc.), the facilities provided in the house (e.g. with or without air-conditioning) and of course, the number of people sharing the accommodation facilities.

You also need to check what kind of facilities are provided with your accommodation as utility bills and other expenses such laundry RM60 (USD19) can also add up.

Basic (Electricity, Gas, Water, Garbage) for 85m2 Apartment       150.00 RM

Internet (6 Mbps, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL)                           149.00 RM


Food and other expenses

Other essential expenses such as food and transportation can cost between RM700 and RM950 (USD200 - USD 270) per month.

Your food and other additional expenses are estimated to be around RM400 to RM450 (estimated USD133). This is based on about RM12 to RM15 (USD4.2) for three meals per day. Cooking at home and sharing meals with friends will push this amount down.

  • Combo Meal at McDonalds or Similar            11.00 RM 10.00 13.00
  • Domestic Beer (0.5 litre draught)                     8.35 RM 7.00 12.00
  • Imported Beer (0.33 litre bottle)                      12.00 RM 9.00 15.00
  • Cappuccino (regular)                                       8.00 RM 6.00 10.00
  • Coke/Pepsi (0.33 litre bottle)                           2.00 RM 1.60 2.50
  • Water (0.33 litre bottle)                                   1.20 RM


Malaysian food

Public Transport

Students who stay on campus or near campus may not incur any cost of travelling to and from classes. However, other travelling may cost approximately RM30 to RM50 (estimated USD13) per month.

  • One-way Ticket (Local Transport)             RM 2.00
  • Monthly Pass (Regular Price)                     RM 100.00
  • Taxi Start (Normal Tariff)                           RM 3.00
  • Taxi 1km (Normal Tariff)                           RM 2.00
  • Taxi 1hour Waiting (Normal Tariff)             RM  21.73


Telecommunication / Mobile Phone Bills

The mobile phone packages in Malaysia are very competitive. How much you spend will depend on your usage and the promotional package you choose. The average student may spend about RM30 to RM80 (estimated USD17) per month.


Medical Insurance

It is important you budget RM50 (USD16) per month for medical insurance coverage, and some savings in case you need outpatient treatment at a private clinic during the year. This estimate includes the amount you will have to pay for your medical and hospitalisation insurance (from your institutions).

The government of Malaysia is seeking to introduce obligatory medical insurance for international students going to Malaysia, so don’t forget to check the visa application requirements before you apply.


Financing your studies

International students are allowed to work part-time (maximum 20 hours per week during semester breaks or holidays of more than 7 days) while studying full-time in Malaysia, subject to immigration requirements.

Funding varies, but as an international student you might be eligible for a scholarship. It's always a good idea to check the websites of any institutions you are interested in to see what they offer, as many list funding opportunities on their websites.


The prices are just a guideline and are subject to inflation and currency fluctuations.

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Living and working in Malaysia

Aspiring journalist and Cambridge University graduate, Londoner 'by adoption'. Tweeting for @hotcourses_Abrd