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11 Sep, 2014

Australia Most Expensive Place for Foreign Study – HSBC Report

HSBC media release, 10 Sept 2014 – Australia is the most expensive destination for overseas students, according to research from HSBC. The average international student would need USD42,000 a year to meet university fees and living costs in the country.

The research was carried out by Ipsos MORI on behalf of HSBC’s Retail Banking and Wealth Management (RBWM) business, drawing on publicly available sources including university websites. Singapore, the US and the UK were the next most expensive of the 15 destinations examined, with average annual costs of more than USD35,000. Costs in the least expensive destination, India, were less than one fifth of those in Australia.

Perceptions of the quality of education available in these countries differ. HSBC published a report in April 2014 called The Value of Education Springboard for success, exploring the attitudes of parents towards their children’s education. It was based on a survey conducted by Ipsos MORI of more than 4,500 parents in 15 countries and territories.

The Value of Education survey found that more than half of parents (51 per cent) rated the US among the top three countries in the world for quality of education. It was the clear leader in terms of reputation. The UK came second. Australia’s reputation was strong in Asian countries: it was ranked among the top three by parents in Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia.

Comparing the Value of Education findings with the latest cost data on attending universities abroad suggests that, broadly speaking, parents think that expensive destinations also tend to offer a higher quality of education.

Parents will have to plan carefully if they want their children to study in these locations. More than half of those surveyed for the Value of Education wished they had started saving for their children’s education earlier.

Simon Williams, Group Head of Wealth Management, HSBC, said: “The key reasons to send children overseas are the acquisition of foreign languages, international experience, and independence. But an international education brings an extra dimension of complexity to planning, particularly financial planning. The majority of overseas education is privately funded by parents, and while the concept of a college fund is well established in the US, it is still the exception elsewhere.”

Cost of international university study

Country Annual university fees (USD) Annual cost of living (USD) Annual cost total (USD)
Australia 24,081 18,012 42,093
Singapore 18,937 20,292 39,229
United States 24,914 11,651 36,564
United Kingdom 21,365 13,680 35,045
Hong Kong 13,444 18,696 32,140
Canada 16,746 13,201 29,947
France 247 16,530 16,777
Malaysia 2,453 10,488 12,941
Indonesia 4,378 8,527 12,905
Brazil 59 12,569 12,627
Taiwan 3,338 8,573 11,911
Turkey 1,276 10,089 11,365
China 3,844 6,886 10,729
Mexico 750 8,710 9,460
India 581 5,062 5,642


1. Research into costs of international study

The research into the costs of international study was carried out by Ipsos MORI on behalf of RBWM between May and July 2014. It was compiled from publicly available data in 15 countries and territories. The figures have been rounded. The annual university fee for each country is calculated on the average annual cost of tuition for undergraduate international students at the 10 largest public universities in each country (sourced from individual institutions’ data). Different fees are often charged for different courses. Medical courses, for example, will almost always command higher fees than humanities courses. However the information sources used, including the universities’ own websites, typically provide an average annual university fee for an international student. The annual university fees for Mexico and Indonesia are calculated on the fees for the top 10 universities in terms of their QS university ranking (http://www.iu.qs.com/university-rankings). These rankings are calculated based on a range of metrics including academic reputation, employer reputation and faculty student ratio. Annual fees for each university are either sourced from the university website, by phone via their admissions departments or from other credible websites. In Brazil and France, the fees for each university were not readily available, so a number of sources that provide the range of fees in public universities have been used. Cost of living is based on the average cost of living in the cities where the universities are located, using data from the Expatistan website, www.expatistan.com. US dollar conversation rate as of 1 June 2014: 1.68 USD to GBP.

2. The Value of Education Springboard for success

The Value of Education Springboard for success report represents the views of 4,592 parents in 15 countries and territories: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Singapore, Taiwan, Turkey, the UK and the US. The survey was conducted online in December 2013 and January 2014 among parents who have at least one child under the age of 23 currently or soon to be in education, and who are solely or partially responsible for making decisions about their child’s education. This independent research study was commissioned by HSBC and carried out by Ipsos MORI.

Click here to download The Value of Education Springboard for success Global Report.