If you want to get your master’s degree, but are worried about the cost, consider going to graduate school abroad. You can get a top-notch degree for a fraction of what it would cost in the United States — plus, you could get to live in a new country and work on your foreign language skills.
However, researching study abroad graduate programs takes a little more work than choosing a school in the United States, since university requirements and costs can vary by country.
If you’re thinking of going to grad school abroad, here’s what you need to know:
According to the Urban Institute, the average full-time master’s student in the United States pays $15,600 per year in tuition and fees, and has a student budget of $32,550 to cover the total cost of attendance (the Urban Institute defines a student budget as consisting of “the amount allocated for tuition, fees, books and living expenses”). For a two-year program, a master’s degree would cost about $65,000, on average.
By contrast, attending graduate school in another country could be much cheaper. For example, the annual tuition for most programs at the University of St. Andrew’s in Scotland is £9,450, or $11,519.98 USD, for the 2020-21 academic year, while at Japan’s University of Tokyo, annual tuition for a masters degree is listed at ¥535,800, or $5,004.37 USD. A degree earned from either of these two schools would cost significantly less than a master’s obtained in the United States.
In some countries, you could go to school for a greatly reduced cost — and in some cases, your education could be nearly free:
Austria: Students from countries outside of the European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) can attend and pay €726.72 ($784.50 USD) per semester.
Czech Republic: Higher education in the Czech Republic is free of charge for programs taught in the Czech language. If you’d like to study in another language, such as English, you’ll have to pay additional fees.
Germany: Most programs at German public universities are tuition-free, even for international students. Some schools and regions do charge non-EU citizens small fees for their education, but they’re a fraction of what you’d pay for tuition in the U.S.
Norway: The majority of Norweigian universities are publicly funded and do not charge tuition fees, even for international students.
When thinking about where to go to school, make sure you consider each country’s cost of living. While the country may offer free or discounted tuition, it may be an expensive place to live, off-setting your savings. For example, relocation assistance provider InterNations reported that Norway is an extremely expensive place to live — you can expect to spend between $2,176 and $4,352 USD per month to live in the country.
If your selected university does have a tuition fee, make sure you’re familiar with the school and country’s payment requirements and practices. For instance, in China, universities typically suggest that students pay the tuition in person when they register at the school, and many universities there only accept cash payments in renminbi, the official currency of China.
Length of program
How long does grad school take? In the United States, most master’s programs take two years to complete. But in other countries, you may be able to complete your master’s degree in as little as one year: For example, students at the University of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates can complete their master’s of business administration (MBA) in just 12 months.
With less time to earn your degree, you could save money on living costs, and start working and earning a salary sooner.
When deciding on the best grad schools for you, pay attention to your language preferences. If you are only comfortable speaking in English, you’ll want to make sure you choose a university — and a country — where the majority of the population is fluent in English. The following countries are classified as being mostly English-speaking:
If you’re bilingual, you may want to select a school with a focus on that language to build your fluency. However, you also want to make sure that you’re fully comfortable speaking and working in that language, as the coursework can be intensive. If you’re less-than-proficient in the country’s language, you may struggle to keep up.
Depending on where you intend to go to school, there may be tests you need to pass before you can be accepted into a graduate program. Some countries will require you to pass language tests to prove you can understand and converse in their language. For example:
Czech Republic: Foreign students need to pass the Czech Language Certificate Exam.
Germany: Foreign students must pass the TESTDaf or DSH exams.
Norway: Students must prove proficiency in Norwegian by passing a level three examination at a Norweigian university, pass a examination from a one-year course in language and culture for foreign students or pass the Bergenstesten, an advanced level language exam.
Some schools and countries have general entrance exams; you’ll have to pass that test to get into grad school. According to the Graduate Management Admissions Council, universities and organizations in 110 countries use the GMAT exam as part of their selection process to assess candidates for MBA programs. The LSAT is used as part of law school admissions, most commonly in the United States and Canada but also for some Australian institutions.
In many countries, you will need a visa if you’re going to study abroad for a semester, year or longer. To find out your selected country’s specific requirements, visit the embassy or consulate website.
Each country will have its own visa requirements. However, you’ll generally need to have the following:
Proof of funds to support yourself while abroad
Proof of enrollment
Proof of housing in selected country
Fingerprints or other biometric
When you do apply, the visa application process can take a few days to a few months, depending on the country, so it’s a good idea to apply well in advance. Keep in mind that some countries have restrictions on who may be eligible for a visa. For example, China does not allow anyone with mental health disorders, leprosy, AIDS, venereal diseases, contagious tuberculosis or other infectious diseases to enter the country.
While many degrees, such as master’s of arts or MBA degrees, will transfer over and maintain their credibility, some degrees may not transfer over. Highly regulated degrees, such as those in the medical or legal fields, will likely not be recognized in the United States.
There are organizations that provide original credential evaluation reports that show the U.S. equivalents for academic credentials that you earn in foreign countries. The U.S. Department of State recommends two national associations.
If your program or credits do not transfer, you will have to undergo additional education and testing before you can begin working in the United States.
Resources when considering a graduate degree abroad
If you’re looking for additional information, check out these resources for study abroad graduate programs.
Federal financial aid: If you’re getting your degree outside of the United States, you may still qualify for federal financial aid. Visit the Office of Federal Student Aid website to find a list of international schools that participate in the federal student loan program.
Country-specific resources: Several countries offer guides, run by their embassies, specifically for international students. The sites have information on tuitions and fees, the country’s language and culture and the university application processes.
How many years is grad school? It depends on where you go to school, your selected program and how many credits you take per semester. You should expect to spend between one and three years in graduate school.
Can I apply for financial aid to get a graduate degree abroad?
Yes, you may be eligible for financial aid even if you go to graduate school abroad. Some international universities participate in the U.S. federal student loan program, and some schools have their own scholarships and grants for foreign students.
Can graduate programs abroad limit the number of international students?
Some countries, such as Singapore, do have limits on how many foreign students can enroll. If you’re interested in going to school in a country with a cap on international students, apply as early as possible to increase your chances of being accepted.
What are the other graduate degree costs to consider?
Beyond the cost of tuition and room and board, you should also take into account other expenses like airfare and getting a passport. To get your student visa, you may also have to pay hundreds of dollars and fees.
You may also have to enroll in a health insurance plan. While you may qualify for low-cost public health insurance through the university, you may have to purchase a private plan, depending on where you go to school.
What are typical housing options when getting a graduate degree abroad?
When studying abroad, some schools will offer dorms. But some will offer home stays, where you can stay with a host family in the country, or you can live in an off-campus apartment.
Are there grants for American students studying abroad?
Grants for american students studying abroad tend to be limited at the graduate level, but may be available depending on what country you plan to study in. Check with your selected country and university to see if any grants are available to foreign students.
Are there scholarships for American students studying abroad?
There are many scholarships for american students studying abroad. You can find scholarship opportunities on FastWeb and Scholarships.com.
You should also check with your selected country and university, as they may have special scholarships for foreign students. For example, Japan has multiple scholarships for international students, and you can apply through the country’s embassy or consulate.
What are the best grad schools abroad?
When deciding which grad school is best for you, consider the country’s language requirements, the school’s focus and the school’s cost.
According to U.S. News & World Report, these are the 10 best European universities:
University of Oxford
University of Cambridge
Imperial College London
University College London
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich
University of Edinburgh
University of Copenhagen
(tie) Sorbonne University
(tie) King’s College London
University of Amsterdam
Interested in refinancing student loans?
Here are the top 6 lenders of 2020!
Laurel Road is a brand of KeyBank National Association offering online lending products in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. Mortgage lending is not offered in Puerto Rico. All loans are provided by KeyBank National Association.
As used throughout these Terms & Conditions, the term “Lender” refers to KeyBank National Association and its affiliates, agents, guaranty insurers, investors, assigns, and successors in interest.
ANNUAL PERCENTAGE RATE (“APR”)
This term represents the actual cost of financing to the borrower over the life of the loan expressed as a yearly rate.
There are no origination fees or prepayment penalties associated with the loan. Lender may assess a late fee if any part of a payment is not received within 15 days of the payment due date. Any late fee assessed shall not exceed 5% of the late payment or $28, whichever is less. A borrower may be charged $20 for any payment (including a check or an electronic payment) that is returned unpaid due to non-sufficient funds (NSF) or a closed account.
For bachelor’s degrees and higher, up to 100% of outstanding private and federal student loans (minimum $5,000) are eligible for refinancing. If you are refinancing greater than $300,000 in student loan debt, Lender may refinance the loans into 2 or more new loans.
For eligible Associates degrees in the healthcare field (see Eligibility & Eligible Loans section below), Lender will refinance up to $50,000 in loans for non-ParentPlus refinance loans. Note, parents who are refinancing loans taken out on behalf of a child who has obtained an associates degrees in an eligible healthcare field are not subject to the $50,000 loan maximum, refer to https://www.laurelroad.com/refinance-student-loans/refinance-parent-plus-loans/ for more information about refinancing ParentPlus loans.
ELIGIBILITY & ELIGIBLE LOANS
Borrower, and Co-signer if applicable, must be a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident with a valid I-551 card (which must show a minimum of 10 years between “Resident Since” date and “Card Expires” date or has no expiration date); state that they are of at least borrowing age in the state of residence at the time of application; and meet Lender underwriting criteria (including, for example, employment, debt-to-income, disposable income, and credit history requirements).
Graduates may refinance any unsubsidized or subsidized Federal or private student loan that was used exclusively for qualified higher education expenses (as defined in 26 USC Section 221) at an accredited U.S. undergraduate or graduate school. Any federal loans refinanced with Lender are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment.
All loans must be in grace or repayment status and cannot be in default. Borrower must have graduated or be enrolled in good standing in the final term preceding graduation from an accredited Title IV U.S. school and must be employed, or have an eligible offer of employment. Parents looking to refinance loans taken out on behalf of a child should refer to https://www.laurelroad.com/refinance-student-loans/refinance-parent-plus-loans/ for applicable terms and conditions.
For Associates Degrees: Only associates degrees earned in one of the following are eligible for refinancing: Cardiovascular Technologist (CVT); Dental Hygiene; Diagnostic Medical Sonography; EMT/Paramedics; Nuclear Technician; Nursing; Occupational Therapy Assistant; Pharmacy Technician; Physical Therapy Assistant; Radiation Therapy; Radiologic/MRI Technologist; Respiratory Therapy; or Surgical Technologist. To refinance an Associates degree, a borrower must also either be currently enrolled and in the final term of an associate degree program at a Title IV eligible school with an offer of employment in the same field in which they will receive an eligible associate degree OR have graduated from a school that is Title IV eligible with an eligible associate and have been employed, for a minimum of 12 months, in the same field of study of the associate degree earned.
The interest rate you are offered will depend on your credit profile, income, and total debt payments as well as your choice of fixed or variable and choice of term. For applicants who are currently medical or dental residents, your rate offer may also vary depending on whether you have secured employment for after residency.
The repayment of any refinanced student loan will commence (1) immediately after disbursement by us, or (2) after any grace or in-school deferment period, existing prior to refinancing and/or consolidation with us, has expired.
POSTPONING OR REDUCING PAYMENTS
After loan disbursement, if a borrower documents a qualifying economic hardship, we may agree in our discretion to allow for full or partial forbearance of payments for one or more 3-month time periods (not to exceed 12 months in the aggregate during the term of your loan), provided that we receive acceptable documentation (including updating documentation) of the nature and expected duration of the borrower’s economic hardship.
We may agree under certain circumstances to allow a borrower to make $100/month payments for a period of time immediately after loan disbursement if the borrower is employed full-time as an intern, resident, or similar postgraduate trainee at the time of loan disbursement. These payments may not be enough to cover all of the interest that accrues on the loan. Unpaid accrued interest will be added to your loan and monthly payments of principal and interest will begin when the post-graduate training program ends.
We may agree under certain circumstances to allow postponement (deferral) of monthly payments of principal and interest for a period of time immediately following loan disbursement (not to exceed 6 months after the borrower’s graduation with an eligible degree), if the borrower is an eligible student in the borrower’s final term at the time of loan disbursement or graduated less than 6 months before loan disbursement, and has accepted an offer of (or has already begun) full-time employment.
If Lender agrees (in its sole discretion) to postpone or reduce any monthly payment(s) for a period of time, interest on the loan will continue to accrue for each day principal is owed. Although the borrower might not be required to make payments during such a period, the borrower may continue to make payments during such a period. Making payments, or paying some of the interest, will reduce the total amount that will be required to be paid over the life of the loan. Interest not paid during any period when Lender has agreed to postpone or reduce any monthly payment will be added to the principal balance through capitalization (compounding) at the end of such a period, one month before the borrower is required to resume making regular monthly payments.
KEYBANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.
This information is current as of June 23, 2020 and is subject to change.
2 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
Student loan Refinance: Fixed rates from 3.20% APR to 6.44% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 2.99% APR to 6.44% APR (with AutoPay). Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at either 8.95% or 9.95% depending on term of loan. See APR examples and terms. Lowest variable rate of 3.21% APR assumes current 1 month LIBOR rate of 0.18% plus 2.82% margin minus 0.25% ACH discount. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, the fixed or variable interest rate offered will depend on your creditworthiness, and the term of the loan and other factors, and will be within the ranges of rates listed above. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. See eligibility details. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. *To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit inquiry. Unlike hard credit inquiries, soft credit inquiries (or soft credit pulls) do not impact your credit score. Soft credit inquiries allow SoFi to show you what rates and terms SoFi can offer you up front. After seeing your rates, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit inquiry. Hard credit inquiries (or hard credit pulls) are required for SoFi to be able to issue you a loan. In addition to requiring your explicit permission, these credit pulls may impact your credit score. Terms and Conditions Apply. SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.
Splash Financial loans are available through arrangements with lending partners. Your loan application will be submitted to the lending partner and be evaluated at their sole discretion. For loans where a credit union is the lender, or a purchaser of the loan, in order to refinance your loans, you will need to become a credit union member.
The Splash Student Loan Refinance Program is not offered or endorsed by any college or university. Neither Splash Financial nor the lending partner are affiliated with or endorse any college or university listed on this website.
You should review the benefits of your federal student loan; it may offer specific benefits that a private refinance/consolidation loan may not offer. If you work in the public sector, are in the military or taking advantage of a federal department of relief program, such as income based repayment or public service forgiveness, you may not want to refinance, as these benefits do not transfer to private refinance/consolidation loans.
Splash Financial and our lending partners reserve the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen and meet our lending partner’s underwriting requirements. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. This information is current as of May 1, 2020.
Fixed APR: Annual Percentage Rate [APR] is the cost of credit calculating the interest rate, loan amount, repayment term and the timing of payments. Fixed Rate options range from 2.88% (without autopay) to 7.27% (without autopay) and will vary based on application terms, level of degree and presence of a co-signer. Rates are subject to change without notice. Fixed rate options without an autopay discount consist of a range from 2.88% per year to 6.21% per year for a 5-year term, 3.40% per year to 6.25% per year for a 7-year term, 3.45% to 5.08% for a 8-year term, 3.89% per year to 6.65% per year for a 10-year term, 4.18% per year to 5.11% per year for a 12-year term, 4.20% per year to 7.05% per year for a 15-year term, or 4.51% per year to 7.27% per year for a 20-year term, with no origination fees. The fixed interest rate will apply until the loan is paid in full (whether before or after default, and whether before or after the scheduled maturity date of the loan).
The Rate will not change during the term. Repayment examples are for illustrative purposes only. The following Fixed Rate examples are based on a $10,000 loan amount using the lowest APR for each application term listed above. All student loan rates used in calculating the examples are shown without the autopay discount (.25%). There are no application or origination fees, and no prepayment penalties. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan with an APR of 2.88% per year for a 5-year term would be $179.15. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan with an APR of 3.40% for a 7-year term would be $134.17. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan with an APR of 3.45% for a 8-year term would be $119.35. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 with an APR of 3.89% for a 10-year term would be $100.72. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 with an APR of 4.18% for a 12-year term would be $88.43. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan with an APR of 4.20% for a 15-year term would be $74.98. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan with an APR of 4.51% for a 20-year term would be from $63.32.
Variable APR: Annual Percentage Rate [APR] is the cost of credit calculating the interest rate, loan amount, repayment term and the timing of payments. Variable rate options range from 1.99% (with autopay) to 7.10% (without autopay) and will vary based on application terms, level of degree and presence of a co-signer. Our lowest rate option is shown with a 0.25% autopay discount. Our highest rate option does not include an autopay discount. The variable rates are based on the Variable rate index, is based on the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) published in The Wall Street Journal on the twenty-fifth day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month. As of April 27, 2020, the one-month LIBOR rate is 0.43763%. The interest rate on a variable rate loan is comprised of an index and margin added together. The margin is a fixed amount (disclosed at the time of your loan application) added each month to the index to determine the next month’s variable rate. Variable rate options without an autopay discount consist of a range from 2.01% per year to 6.30% per year for a 5-year term, 4.00% per year to 6.35% per year for a 7-year term, 2.09% per year to 3.92% per year for a 8-year term, 4.25% per year to 6.40% per year for a 10-year term, 2.67% per year to 4.56% per year for a 12-year term, 3.44% per year to 6.65% per year for a 15-year term, 4.75% per year to 6.93% per year for a 20-year term, or 5.14% per year to 7.10% for a 25-year term, with no origination fees. APR is subject to increase after consummation. Variable interest rates will fluctuate over the term of the borrower’s loan with changes in the LIBOR rate, and will vary based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a co-signer. The maximum variable rate may be between 9.00% and 16.00%, depending on loan term. The floor rate may be between 0.54% and 4.21%, depending on loan term. These rates are subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change.
Variable APRs and amounts subject to increase or decrease. Variable rates are indexed to the one-month LIBOR rate. The following Variable Rate examples are based on a $10,000 loan amount. Repayment examples are for illustrative purposes only. All student loan rates below are shown without the autopay discount (.25%). There are no application or origination fees, and no prepayment penalties. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan with an APR of 2.01% per year for a 5-year term would be $175.32. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan with an APR of 4.00% for a 7-year term would be $136.69. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan with an APR of 2.09% for a 8-year term would be $113.21. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 with an APR of 4.25% for a 10-year term would be $102.44. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 with an APR of 2.67% for a 12-year term would be $81.24. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan with an APR of 3.44% for a 15-year term would be $71.19. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan with an APR of 4.75% for a 20-year term would be from $64.62. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan with an APR of 5.14% for a 25-year term would be from $59.28.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.19% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.43% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 1.99% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.43% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of June 15, 2020, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 6/15/2020. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at email@example.com, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.
Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown. All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 0.2% effective May 10, 2020.
Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print to help you understand what you are buying. Be sure to consult with a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time.