Applying for a place on a further education course signals that you are ready to make a big commitment to your future, but choosing to leave your home country to study abroad significantly increases the level of seriousness at play. While educational visas will be a major priority, choosing where to go and how to pay will be at the top of your to-do list.
Prices of further education courses vary greatly from country to country, and even more so within the boundaries of said countries. Different regions can choose to charge as they see fit, and scholarship placements are not guaranteed.
Take a look at this guide to paying for education in a US college, to get more of a definitive understanding of what could lay ahead.
Choose where you want to attend.
Not all colleges are created equal and the higher up the impressive scale you reach, the more you should expect to pay. In the US, it is estimated that students will spend just shy of $100,000 to attain their degree.
State residents can take advantage of far lower tuition fees, with external candidates having to pay at least double. This translates to little over $25,000 per year for foreign students, and that’s just fees, for a public college. Private institutions charge just over $35,000. Add in lodgings and food and you have an idea of how expensive studying abroad is likely to be.
Discuss a payment plan
Just as in the UK, you should be able to pay for your tuition abroad in instalments, usually per term, or semester if you are in the US. This allows you to retain control of your money and budget accordingly, while also taking advantage of more fortuitous rates of personal foreign exchange.
When every penny counts, it would be churlish not to look at when exchange rates will work most on your favour. A strong UK pound performing well against the US dollar will help you to make significant savings, if you choose to pay for your tuition fees on the right day.
Look into the financial aid available
Published costs make studying abroad seem inaccessible for everyone (bar the elite), but figures show that very few students pay full price for their education in the US, even those that have come to study from another country. Various financial aid options are available, as well as scholarships and work-study schemes and grants. Universities are obligated to include a financial aid calculator on their websites to allow you to estimate help that might be available to you.
Don’t forget about living costs
It’s worth noting that accommodation and food costs will all be additional to tuition fees. It can be easy to forget about the cost of subsistence, but accommodation in particular will be a large expense payable to your institution of choice, alongside tuition fees. This is another element that will need to be budgeted for.
Consider lump-sum payments
It would definitely be worth saving as much as you can, so that when a good exchange day arrives, you can quickly and simply wire through a lump-sum payment to clear a little more of your debt and save some money. By following a structured repayment plan to the letter, you could put yourself at risk o significantly increased costs for no good reason, so building an element of flexibility into your agreement is crucial.
Think about the graduation date
You will need to have all monies paid in full by the time graduation comes around, so make sure that you put aside more than you need on a regular basis. There is no guaranteeing what the exchange rate will be like when it comes time to make your final payment and release your degree paperwork and a weak pound will not be a good-enough reason for delaying your account payment.
The UK has some world-class universities, but if there is an institution somewhere else in the world that’s more geared to your specialism and garners the best results, you will naturally want to apply. It’s a relief to know that paying for tuition fees is as simple as it is at home, but exchange rates will make an enormous difference between an affordable learning experience out in the world or something that has to remain as just a pipe dream.