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USA among World's Top Three Most Expensive Destinations for International Students

13 August 2013

New York, NY - The United States is now the world's second most expensive country for international students, according to new research from HSBC Group. The combined average annual cost of university fees and living expenses in the U.S. is over US$35,000. However, overseas students at Ivy League institutions can expect to pay far more, with total costs running in excess of US$58,000.

As part of its research, the global bank analysed publically available data on higher education in thirteen major countries and territories around the world. Perhaps surprisingly, it found that Germany scored lowest for international students with combined annual tuition and living costs of just US$6,285. Australia was the most expensive destination coming in at US$38,515. One of the main factors behind this was a notable strengthening of the Australian Dollar against the U.S and other currencies. The U.K. placed third in the study at a little over US$30,000.

International student expenses in increasingly popular Asian study destinations such as the UAE, Singapore and Hong Kong were all above US$20,000 a year, mostly as a result of rising living costs.

Table: Average annual cost of Studying Abroad for International Students

Country Annual Fees Annual Cost of living Annual Total
Australia $25,375 $13,140 $38,516
United States $25,226 $10,479 $35,705
United Kingdom $19,291 $11,034 $30,325
United Arab Emirates $21,371 $6,004 $27,375
Canada $18,474 $7,537 $26,011
Singapore $14,885 $9,363 $24,248
Hong Kong $13,182 $9,261 $9,261
Japan $6,522 $12,642 $19,164
Russia $3,131 $6,310 $9,441
China $3,983 $4,783 $8,766
Taiwan $3,270 $4,987 $8,257
Spain $1,002 $6,004 $7,006
Germany $635 $5,650 $6,285
In US$ per year

Andrew Ireland, Head of Premier & Wealth, HSBC Bank USA, N.A., commented: "With the relationship between educational qualifications and lifetime earnings well established, the desire to pursue higher-education is increasing across the world. Planning for the cost will be a challenge for a large number of people and with many public programs that support students rolling back all over the world, it is inevitable that expenses will continue upwards.

"More importantly this means that in some countries, parents are potentially under-resourced for their children's future education and need to plan ahead. The good thing about education planning is that it is predictable. Children's education needs are tightly constrained to a defined number of years, with the annual cost being the main variable depending on the country chosen for your child's higher-education.

"Those who wish to educate their children overseas need to consider a number of factors such as exchange rates and inflation in their estimates of total costs - which include both tuition fees and living expenses. As such, there is a need for parents to ensure their children's education forms an important part of their financial planning."

In the U.S., HSBC offers a free and helpful financial education tool-kit for those considering such longer-term goals as higher education, home ownership and retirement via its dedicated website: www.yourmoneycounts.com.

Sources and Methodology

  • The research was compiled from data in13 countries around the world
  • Fees represent the average tuition cost for international students based on the top 10 largest institutions in each relevant country (sourced from individual institution data)
  • Cost of living sourced from HESA Global Education Rankings 2010 where possible and adjusted to account for inflation and from Expatitsan.co.uk and HSBC Studying Abroad Research (Oct 2012)
  • Ivy League costs based on total average costs for attending a top ranked US University according to Forbes. Source: http://www.forbes.com/top-colleges/list/
  • US Dollar conversion exchange rate as at July 17, 2013
  • The number of international students enrolled in U.S. colleges climbed 6% to a record 764,495 in 2011, according to a study in the Journal of International and Intercultural Communication

HSBC Bank USA, N.A., with total assets of $183.9bn as of 31 March 2013 (US GAAP), serves 3 million customers through retail banking and wealth management, commercial banking, private banking, asset management, and global banking and markets segments. It operates more than 250 bank branches throughout the United States. There are over 165 in New York State as well as branches in: California; Connecticut; Delaware; Washington, D.C.; Florida; Maryland; New Jersey; Pennsylvania; Oregon; Virginia; and Washington State. HSBC Bank USA, N.A. is the principal subsidiary of HSBC USA Inc., an indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary of HSBC North America Holdings Inc. HSBC Bank USA, N.A. is a member of the FDIC.

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