An overseas education for your child costs more than you think

Studying abroad is a great opportunity for your children - a great opportunity with a great cost. 

Studying abroad is an eye-opening experience – the exposure to different cultures and ways of learning is priceless. One of the main reasons students opt to study abroad is the opportunity to see the world. By studying abroad, students will experience a brand-new country with incredible new outlooks, customs and activities. There may be plenty of reasons to send your children for an overseas university education however, the cost of an overseas education is one that cannot be overlooked.

Tuition fees

Regardless of where you may choose to study, if you’re an international student, the tuition fee costs can be exorbitant. Let’s look at the estimated costs for a college education in United States of America, United Kingdom and Australia.

Accommodation & living expenses

“In addition to university tuition and fees, I encourage students and parents to be mindful of the cost of living.  Depending on where you live and study, costs for housing and food can vary greatly.” – Erin Doby, US Embassy Singapore

Other costs to take note of: 

Mobile plans

Phone cards, post-paid mobile subscriptions and other communication-related expenses can eat up a large portion of your allowance if not carefully managed. This is a hidden cost of expat living that can ruin your study abroad. The best option would be to pick out a sim card from your host country and thanks to technology, there are multiple free services to reach your family and friends back home.

Transfer fees

It may not seem like much when you pay a few dollars whenever you use the ATM but after a few months, it can really add up to a significant amount. One way to combat these fees is to use your card less and cash more. You can also avoid some ATM fees by identifying a partner bank and only use those ATMs to withdraw cash


A university education is roughly around 3 to 4 years, and it is highly unlikely that you will stay put in your campus for the whole duration. You need to plan for international flights back home for the holidays and also, you might to make use of the opportunity of being in another country to travel around more. Even to explore the host country or nearby destinations, you will still need to add those airfares, bus tickets or rail passes. Below are the figures calculated to show the cost of about 4 home visits and 2 travel vacations* during the 4-year university education.

 *Assumption: Frugal back-packing vacations

Grand total for an overseas education

It is a known fact that it costs more to study in overseas universities – though it costs around 240k to 320k (way more than a local university education), there are many benefits of studying abroad. Ultimately the decision to study overseas or locally also depends on other factors besides the cost, such as the major you’d like to take, the education experience and your ability to finance the education costs.


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