Want to study at a top university abroad? Worried about how far your budget will stretch?

It turns out that you can still get a high-quality education without paying the world for it.

FairFX, a financial services company, recently analysed the tuition fees and living costs of the top 200 universities in the world, as ranked by the new Times Higher Education World University Rankings. The research reveals the most affordable destinations to study based on tuition fees, living costs, and currency rates.

Looking at individual universities, the cheapest of the world’s top universities to study are Italy’s Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna and Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa which not only offer free tuition but even provide an allowance to cover living costs to the exclusive few successful applicants.

Source: FairFX

Meanwhile, Germany takes half of the spots in the top 10 cheapest universities, led by TU Dresden with no tuition fees but a “term contribution” which totals just £346 a year.

The U.S. is on the other side of the spectrum, however, with average tuition fees of £31,296 and living costs of £14,403, bringing the average total annual university bill to £45,699.

With that in mind, it’s no surprise that the most expensive university in the top 200 is also in the U.S.: Columbia University in New York City, with the combined expenditure totalling £68,800.

Need help figuring out how much it’ll cost to study abroad?

When doing research on the best study destination for you, it can be difficult to get an accurate ballpark figure from university or government websites, which was why the FairFX Study Abroad Cost Calculator was created.

Using the calculator, you can see how much it costs to study at your dream destination, and compare it with other top universities around the world.

Whether you are already studying abroad or are still choosing where to go, make sure you don’t end up paying extra on top of your living and tuition fees by choosing a costly payment method.

FairFX have a few tips on how to reduce the cost of sending money overseas:

1. Do your homework

Many people make the mistake of going straight to their bank or their university’s suggested provider for international money transfers without shopping around first.

Providers such as Western Union reportedly charge as much as 5% on international payments through their student portal on university websites. Make an educated decision about the best service provider, don’t assume it’s your bank!

2. Choose a secure option

Don’t be afraid of venturing away from your bank or the university’s suggestion when making your international payments, but do make sure your provider is registered with the appropriate authority for your country (in the UK, that’s the FCA).

When it comes to security and good rates, you can have your cake and it eat with foreign exchange professionals such as FairFX, as they keep customer funds in segregated accounts for additional protection.

3. Check for hidden fees

Before you use any money transfer service, make sure you check all the fees and charges involved. What is their foreign exchange fee? Do they charge a transaction fee, a “processing” fee or an “out of currency” fee? Don’t get caught out by hidden fees – they just push up the study abroad cost.

4. Don’t leave it until the last minute

You know that you have accommodation and tuition fees to pay, so there’s no reason you should be leaving it to the last minute and getting a bad deal. Speak to an expert before you choose your payment method. This way you can make the most of favourable exchange rates.

Don’t make a great study abroad experience costlier than it needs to be. Do your research before choosing your host nation and university; plan ahead with your overseas transfers so you don’t end up paying a higher price.

You can try out the FairFX Study Abroad Cost Calculator here.

Image via Josh Sorenson/Pexels

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