How Much Does it Cost to Study Abroad in Spain?

Embarking on an expedition to pursue higher education abroad is a stimulating and transformative experience, presenting students with an opportunity to broaden their horizons, immerse themselves in a new culture, and gain a global perspective. Spain, renowned for its vibrant culture, illustrious culture, and renowned educational institutions, has emerged as a progressively sought-after choice among international students in search of an indelible academic adventure. However, before packing your bags and setting off on this exciting endeavor, it's essential to consider the financial aspect of studying abroad in Spain. 

In this article, we will outline the cost of studying in Spain for international students, and answer the question of, how much does it actually cost to study abroad?

Overview of Costs:

To measure the cost of studying abroad, many factors must be taken into consideration. It is crucial to acknowledge that the costs can span a wide spectrum, ranging from being reasonably affordable to considerably expensive. These variations primarily hinge upon the University or Institution chosen, the city chosen, and personal lifestyle choices. Additionally, there are certain unavoidable expenditures, including Visa Fees and Health Insurance, which need to be factored into the overall cost calculation.

Tuition Fees of Universities:

The cost of tuition represents a significant financial commitment and is primarily influenced by whether the chosen university or program is private or public. For private schools, tuition fees can range from approximately €5,000 - €18,000 per year, whereas public schools tend to have an average annual tuition fee of around €1,800. Conducting thorough research on the expenses associated with specific programs is crucial, as costs can vary significantly from exceedingly expensive to comparatively affordable. StudiesIn provides a comprehensive listing of expenses for every Program here, and for every University listed here.

Accommodation for Students:

Accommodation is another expense which depends largely on the city and region chosen. For example, in Madrid, the average price of a single-bedroom apartment in the city center will cost around €1,000 per month, and around €775 per month outside the city center. In Barcelona, there is a similar trend with a single-bedroom apartment in the city center costing around €980 per month and €785 per month  outside the city center. A detailed list on housing costs in Spain can be found here.

Student Living Expenses:

Cost of living in Spain is entirely dependent on individual preferences, habits, and saving strategies. Students making a budget can expect to pay for food, transportation, utilities, groceries, and other personal expenses at around €800 - €1,200 per month. Students planning on making a budget prior to travel can use Numbeo to compare the cost of living in their origin country with Spain. 

Visa Application Fees:

Paying for a visa is a financial obligation that prospective students should anticipate, as it is an essential requirement for becoming an international student. These fees depend on the original country of the applying student, as well as the duration of the program which the student enrolls in. 

  • Under 90 Days: Visa-Free Stay / Schengen Student Visa
  • Programs that require the student to be in the country for under 90 days can attain a visa-free entry if from an eligible country. This will mean no visa fees and no wait time for qualified countries. See here for a list of visa-free entry eligible countries. Those from ineligible countries must apply for a Schengen Student Visa, which will require a fee of around €80.
  • 3 - 6 Months: Short-Term Student Visa
  • Students seeking to join a program in Spain for over 90 days but less than 6 months can expect to receive a Short-Term Student Visa, which will cost around €60-€80. 
  • 6+ Months: Long-Term Student Visa
  • This type of visa must be applied for by students attending a program lasting over 6 months, and has a much more demanding application process. This visa also has a fee of €60-€80, but is more expensive for citizens of the USA, Australia, Bangladesh, and Canada. Prices will vary, but US citizens can expect visa fees of around €132 - €150. 

Health Insurance Costs:

For students seeking to study abroad, health insurance is mandatory, and the cost can fluctuate depending on the duration of stay, the selected insurance provider, and the extent of coverage included. Typically, students have three main options to consider: University-Sponsored Insurance, Private Health Insurance, or the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

  • University-Sponsored Insurance:
  • Some universities in Spain offer their own health insurance plans designed for international students. These plans vary depending on the coverage and specificities of the university, but typically range from around €200-€500 per year
  • Private Health Insurance:
  • Students that are not offered a University-Sponsored Health Insurance or prefer to use a different plan may opt to buy Private Health Insurance for a higher cost. Again, these plans are dependent on the coverage selected but will typically range from €300 - €800 per year. 
  • European Health Insurance Card (EHIC):
  • Citizens of European Union member states may be eligible for a European Health Insurance Card, which essentially gives international students access to the same healthcare as Spanish nationals. This type of coverage is typically free of charge and obtained through the health authority of the students’ home country. 

Total Cost of Studying Abroad:

Overall, the total expense of studying abroad hinges on several key factors. However, students can curtail their expenditures by making smart financial decisions and choosing a program that aligns with their budgetary constraints. For instance, a student from the US may decide to choose a 1-year program priced at €1,800 annually, live outside the city center  for €774 per month, adopt thrifty spending habits to minimize the cost of living to €800 per month, purchase a mid-range health insurance plan costing €500 per year, and cover the expenses of a Long-Term Student Visa at €132. By following this approach, the estimated total cost for this student’s study abroad experience would amount to approximately €21,320.

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Student Financing

Written by

Joseph Almuhana

Undergraduate, 2023

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