Studying in the “Middle Kingdom” needs to be well planned. Therefore, students should also know what the costs will be. This of course includes the flight to China, the cost of the visa and the foreign health insurance. Most of the cost of studying in China is usually tuition fees and the cost of living. In the following you will get an overview of the expenses you should expect.
Before that, a note: For the Chinese currency RMB (Renminb i), the abbreviation CNY is used internationally.
Tuition fees in China
Students have to pay tuition fees at universities in China. According to top-medical-schools, international students pay more than their Chinese counterparts. How high the tuition fees in China actually are depends on several factors, namely the university, the study program and the subject. A linguistic, cultural or social science degree is sometimes cheaper than a degree in the natural or engineering sciences or a medical degree. The cost of studying in China increases with the level of the academic degree: Bachelor students usually pay less fees than Master’s students, who in turn pay less than doctoral students. Tuition fees are usually higher for studying in Englishthan for one in Chinese language. An MBA in China is particularly costly. If you want to study in China, you have to budget between RMB 15,000 and RMB 100,000 per academic year, depending on the university, study program and subject. So the range is enormous. Usually, students in China pay the tuition fees for a semester in cash at the beginning of the semester.
Just like the tuition fees for a bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree, the fees for a semester abroad in China also vary depending on the university. Sometimes semester students pay a flat rate, sometimes the tuition fees are calculated based on the number of courses. Here are two price examples for a semester abroad in China:
- At the renowned Fudan University, the tuition fees for semester students are currently 55,750 RMB per semester.
- At the Chinese-British Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, students pay around 40,000 RMB for a semester abroad.
In addition to the tuition fees, there are other study costs. For example, students still have to pay an application fee, which is around RMB 400. The universities in China can also charge other administrative fees.
Cost of Living in China
The second major cost factor for studying in China is the cost of living. At least in the major Chinese cities, these are roughly on a par with the German level. However, life in Shanghai is usually more expensive on average than in Germany. The actual cost of living in China depends on the place of study and the individual lifestyle of the students. The more “western” students want to live in China, the deeper they usually have to dig into their pockets.
The rents for students in China vary from region to region and also depend on the type of accommodation. If you want to live in a double room in a student residence hall, you have to calculate around RMB 2000 per month in Beijing and around RMB 1800 per month in Shanghai. The rent for a room in a shared apartment in Beijing is around RMB 3500 per month. In Shanghai, students pay around RMB 3200 per month for a room in a shared apartment. Students would often have to pay additional costs separately.
The cost of meals while studying in China depends on where students shop or where they eat. The average cost of food is roughly the same as in Germany. But imported food is quite expensive in China. Eating out in China can cost both very little and a lot. Western restaurants are often more expensive than Chinese restaurants. On average, the price for a meal in a cheap restaurant in China is RMB 20. It is advisable to budget at least RMB 6200 per month for groceries.
Depending on the place of study, there are a wide variety of leisure activities in China. Culture fans get their money’s worth, because admission is free in many museums. Visits to the cinema cost RMB 80 to 100. Those who like to go to a café have to expect RMB 25-35 per cup of coffee, drinks in a bar cost between RMB 50 and RMB 80.
For local public transport in China, the cost is usually between RMB 2 and RMB 8. Even taxis are not expensive. The costs for cell phone contracts with mobile internet are also quite low in China.
Financing options for studying in China
In order to cover the costs of studying in China, students can fall back on various financial aids.
- Students who want to spend one or two semesters abroad in China can apply for BAföG abroad. If they are granted BAföG abroad, they can receive a grant to the tuition fees of up to EUR 4600 and financial support for travel and living expenses as well as health insurance.
- International students can receive a scholarship to study in China. Scholarships are awarded, for example, by the DAAD, various German foundations and organizations for the promotion of talented students, or the Chinese government. Often the application has to be made one year in advance.
- A third way to finance the cost of studying in China is through student loans and education funds.
Student visa holders are not allowed to work in China while studying.