Search and apply for courses at universities, colleges and schools in Australia, the UK, the USA and Canada - StudyLink

« Join the biotech revolution | Main | Student Information Sessions »

Show me the money!

Working out where in the world you want to study is exciting. But working out how you can pay for it is often much harder work. In this article, we look at the different ways you can finance your international education – and top tips for working out your study budget.

First of all, be realistic. There is no such thing as free study abroad. Even if you are smart – and lucky – enough to win a university scholarship, it will probably only cover your tuition fees and (maybe) accommodation. Beyond that, you also have to allow for your return travel, food, books, health insurance, bills, phone calls, clothes, and entertainment.

Most international students use a combination of sources to pay for their education. These include:

A scholarship – this can come from your own country or the hosting country, it could be a private foundation scholarship or awarded by the university. You will need to prove your academic results, and also your motivation and commitment to study, to be eligible. There are no guaranteed scholarships, and they are very competitive.

A bursary or grant – these are like scholarships, but usually awarded to students who can also demonstrate financial need.

Family and friends – if your family can help you with the cost of your education, then this is one of the best ways to finance your dream.

A student loan – although they usually offer deferred repayment or better interest rates, this still leaves you with a debt at the end of your degree.

Your own savings – you may be able to work after school for a few years, and then apply for further study overseas.

Sponsorship – if you are already working, your employer may agree to help you with postgraduate study fees.

Step one: add it all up

To get started, use an online budgeting tool to help you work out exactly how much money you will need, and where you can get it from. This student calculator is very useful for working out how to fund your degree in the UK – but it may also work for other countries too. Remember to convert the currency, to get a realistic picture of how much you need!

Work this out before you make your application – there’s no point in wasting time and money on university application fees if you really can’t get there (yet).

Step two: Research your options

It’s easiest to start with your friends and family. Explain to them exactly what you hope to achieve with this degree, and how you can boost your career prospects when you graduate. Education is a very good investment – research shows that college graduates have nearly double the earning power of workers who don’t complete university.

But you can’t always expect them to fully fund your dreams. Check if the university you want to apply to offers any financial aid or scholarships. Every little bit helps – so even if they offer a small grant it’s worth applying for. Check with your local Ministry of Education as well. You can also look at a database of scholarships, to see which (if any) you might be eligible for.

Still need more money? The education department or consulate of your destination country, such as the British Council, can also advise you on the types of student loans available. It’s best to organise this in your home country. If you take out a loan in the US, for example, you will need to find a US resident willing to guarantee it on your behalf – and that’s not always easy.

Step three: avoid scholarship scams

While you’re looking into all these options, don’t be fooled by promises of ‘guaranteed’ scholarships from ‘official’ companies. There are some fraudulent organisations out there who will take your application fee and run. You should never have to pay in advance to apply for a scholarship.

Step four: allow enough time

Now that you know your study plans are affordable, you can finally apply for your course. This means you need to start thinking about finances at least 18 months before you hope to start studying.

You’ll need proof of funds to apply for your visa, so make sure you keep written sponsorship agreements, loan documents and bank account statements.

Step five: stretch your budget further

Find out ways to save money as a student, before you get to your new campus. There is so much to learn in a new country, and it will take you some time to work out exchange rates and bank accounts. So be prepared.

Here are some top student saver tips from current students:

  • Pay your tuition fees upfront if they offer a discount
  • Apply for a student discount card (such as the NUS card in the UK) so you can save money on travel, shopping and entertainment
  • Take advantage of cheaper transport fares for students, or weekly tickets if you commute regularly to your campus
  • Set up online banking so you can easily control your finances from your new country. Watch out for expensive money transfer fees
  • Use international phone cards to call home – or get skype on your computer for free calls anywhere in the world

We're sure you can think of many more – please share your top saving tips in the comment box below.

StudyLink doesn't offer any scholarships to students. But we can advise you on how to work out your study plans. So for more information on study abroad, contact one of our student counsellors.

Bookmark and Share


is there any age limit in availing any educational opportinities at study link? Pls help... thanks

dear sir/madam

please help me to get a school and i will afford for the cost.

counting on you.


Hello I am Vishal Bhandare from aurangabad,I am from poor family but iI want to study in UK so I want help from STUDY LINK & I wish u help me
Yours faithful

Hi! i have a friend in london but they were just moved there i think 5-6 mos. ago, they were in UK for 2 yrs, my question is can i ask them to be my sponsor even if they were there only for a short period? can they consider the years they stayed in UK? Bec. somebody told me that whoever will be the sponsor he/she should be a residence for at least 2 yrs.? thanks a lot!

im mandeep kaur.i want to study in done my with 60% n i hav 6 ielts band.i ll want to in uk.plz give me the right advice n also tell me the good university.plz also tell me how much money needed during my study in uk.i ll waiting ur response

hello sir
my name is ihsan khan and iam very intresting to go abroat .i am request you to help me about my visa.i passed my fsc axame and obtain707 marks.
if you would help me .i am very thanks full for you.
thanks you

i m Davinder singh n i'm applying for uk on study basis and my uncle is sponsoring me. is it possible that he can sponser me. plz reply as soon as possible.
Davinder Singh

Hello guys,

Study abroad.Let me share a few more tips, esp regarding your air travel.

DONOT be a trap of "Student Discount". Instead ask your travel agent to book the routine tickets for you.WHY?

Airlines are smart enough to catch you with slogen of "Student Discount", but whats the background...check it.

Our National Carrier offers 25% student discount for Islamabad to London.Remember, there are two kinds of fares.
1) IATA (intl air transpt auth)fares
2)Market fares.

Discount is applicable only to IATA fares and IATA fares are always more than the market fares.At times 30%-50% more.

So if you are getting a discount on an IATA fare, ou'll still be paying more than the normal price in same class of travel booked on market fare.

Moral : Ask you travel agent to book you on market fare, where there is no discount, but still its cheaper than discounted IATA fare.

Muhammad Umair
[email protected]

Att Vishal, Ihsan, Davidner and all:

A realistic suggestion to you all is : AVOID spending too much money on your school, higher school or even undergraduate degrees.

INSTEAD save till your masters or post-graduate degree from a well recognised /costly college university.

Most of my own class mates practiced this and saved the money for higher degrees which payed them off in the long run. Seconldy INDIA ,PAKSITAN, EAST PAKISTAN and SRILANKA have much cheaper undergraduate studies.

So, do the undergrad from your own country, it would really really cost you less.

Summary : Save money untill you are bumped across with POST GRADUATE.

Dear Mandeep,

Nice score in BSc. Good band in IELTS too.

You are ideal to move to UK.

Use the student calculator link.

Search COLLEGES , instead of UNIVERSITIES in the UK. Got the point. Colleges and University affiliates are much cheaper than Universities or Main Campuses of the Universities.

dear sir/madam

please help me in geting admition in bradford university of england.i m very interested please help me.i shall be very thankful to you.

pls,i am interested in studing abroad,can u people help me to find a nice university for studing medicine,and the tuition fess for the school.thanks pls reply

this is fayyaz i am a student of graduation and i want to study in UK so I want help from STUDY LINK & I wish u help me that how can i manage this . and which course compitable for me at this level .

urs truely
Fayyaz umer

Dear Sir / Madam

Writing from Moroni. I ve just pass for French BacLaureat and i would like to continue my studies in Uk or Aglophone country.... The problem is that i come from very poor family. Kindly guiding in continuing my study abroad.

Thank you


Dear Sir / Madam

Pls help me, i want to continue my study to university in architecture, especially in UK or Singapore but my fam don't have enough money. I'm smart enough, and i always get top rank in my school.
If u have any scholarship info pls tell me.

Thank you,


God bless u...

Dear Sir/madam,
thanks for ur info.
I passed BBA in 2006 and now working in a Freight forwarding company. I have also preserve IELTS Band score6.5.

I would like to complete my higher study from Australia or UK. However, i am in problem with sponsor. From My country, we have to show huge amout of money to be a sponsor.

You are requested to advise how i can solve the problem.

Best regards
Sayed Golam Sorowar

dear sir/madam:
I am willing to study abroad but i do not have enough money to support my studies and I don't have also a friends/relatives their. Please help me
very truly yours,

Guiamila G.Abas

i've completed my bachelor's degree in electronics & commn engg. i want to study in UK, plz help in finding good course & how much money will i require for studying in UK. plz kindly give me the advice

good day sir ma,
am abdul by name and will be needing ur help both moral and financially,i want 2 travel abroad and i need someone who can help me out,i have no money but if u can help me i work 2 pay u back in any country,am 4m
country Nigeria,
state lagos
sex male
age 23
phone +2340824881039

Dear sir
I'm 17 y ear's old.And Ireally want to study abroad so I researched pay of foriegn universities but it is so expensive.Certainly,
my family's income doesn't enough that.Then, apply for you.Pls help me.If you help me,I would thanks for my life.

sir/mam, thanks for the info regarding the steps on how to study abroad(show me the money). i really want to study abroad , but i don't have any relatives in abroad, studying abroad is so expensive and our income is not enough to support it. I hope someday i will be able to find somebody to help pay the tuition fees and other expenses. And i hope this study link will also help me. thanks a lot and god bless and more power.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Bookmark and Share

Subscribe Now

Get your monthly Student Adventures update for free!


Study in the UK
Study in Australia
Study in US
Study in Europe
Study in Netherlands
MBA Courses

StudyLink Discussion Forums

Sponsored Links

Higher Education Blog Directory