One of the things that students who want to study in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) want to know is the cost of education and living there.

The country, which has now become one of the richest countries in the world because of its oil industry, is also fast becoming a top study destination worldwide. According to UNESCO, from around 48,600 international students studying in the UAE in 2011, the number has increased to 77,463 in 2016, with a huge number of students coming from India. 

What makes the UAE attractive to international students are its diverse culture, knowledge-driven economy, and first-rate education system.  The country has some of the best institutions in the world. In fact, eight of its higher education institutions are included in the top 750 universities in the 2021 QS World University Rankings

If you are planning to study in the United Arab Emirates, it is important to have an idea of how much it will cost. The cost of studying in the UAE includes application fees, tuition fees, basic necessities, living expenses, and other expenses. Here’s what you need to know.

Tuition Fees

Public and private universities in the UAE are free to establish their own tuition fees for their study programs. 

Some factors for the varying costs of tuition fees in the UAE include the location of the institution, program, and level of study. For example, an undergraduate degree in Abu Dhabi, a major city in the UAE, may cost around AED 21,600 to AED 34,160 per semester. 

Meanwhile, postgraduate tuition fees in the UAE may cost students around AED 22,000 to AED 120,000 per year. 

Living Costs

Aside from tuition fees, there are also other daily expenses that students need to consider. These include their accommodations, transportation, food, leisure activities, and utilities. Below are the approximate costs of each necessity students in the UAE need to factor into their budget. 

ItemCost
Food (restaurant)AED 27.50
Utilities (electricity, heating, water, cooling, garbage)AED 600.26
MoviesAED 40.00
Accommodation Rent (1-bedroom apartment)AED 3,008.33 to 4,500 
Transportation (Metro/bus)AED 2.5-6.50

Application-Related Expenses

To study in the United Arab Emirates, all international students are required to apply for a student visa, which can cost up to AED 3,000. 

Moreover, before getting accepted into a higher education institution in the UAE, students may have to undergo some standardized tests to prove their readiness. Students may have to take an English proficiency test like the IELTS (USD 245 to USD 255) or TOEFL (USD 180). 

Some students may need to pay an additional fee to take an institution’s entrance exam. The fee for an entrance exam varies per institution. 

Scholarships and Working in the UAE

Tuition fees and living costs in the UAE are not cheap. However, it does not mean that a UAE education is not accessible. 

The UAE government, along with educational institutions, offers financial support and scholarships for students who want to study in the country. Some financial aid programs only cover tuition fees, while others may include living costs or rent allowance. 

Students can also supplement their finances with income from a part-time job in the UAE. Previously, international students were not allowed to take on jobs while studying. However, that changed in 2016. Now, eligible international students with work permits can find part-time employment in the UAE. 

We hope this gives you a better idea of how much it costs to study in the United Arab Emirates. To know more about studying in the UAE, check out our other articles here on MSM Unify.

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