Is it Expensive to Study in South Korea?

South Korea is a popular study destination for international students, but is it expensive? This is the question that many students like yourself ask and seek answers to. This post will answer all these questions by exploring the cost of studying in South Korea and what studying in South Korea looks like. We will also take a look at how the cost of studying in South Korea compares to other popular study destinations. 

Studying in South Korea is not expensive to pull. However, having a budget for your study in South Korea will help you make a proper and successful plan. The cost of studying in South Korea depends on different clauses such as your program of study, the type of school, the area in which is the school is located among other factors. You can make your study in Korea a reality with a good plan and average resources.

Studying in Soth Korea can be one of the best means for you to get a degree without spending so much. When you have the right information, you can fulfill your dream of getting a degree in South Korea and join other students with like minds and dreams. Regardless of the type of degree that you want to study, be it a Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Ph.D., South Korea can be your new home while you study abroad.

South Korea is one of the top-performing OECD countries when it comes to sciences and technology. This shows that you can look forward to not just getting an affordable education but also getting high-quality education in South Korea. On the other hand, if you’re not looking to get a degree n the STEM field, you can also plan to study in South Korea.

To help you decide to study in South Korea, we’ll take a look at how much studying in South Korea costs. This will include tuition fees, the cost of living, and other costs that you may not be aware of as a first-timer in South Korea. We will also take a look at the cost of studying in some countries and how they compare to the cost of studying in South Korea.

Whether you are planning to go for an undergraduate or graduate degree abroad, I’ve got you covered with useful and helpful information about studying in South Korea. Keep reading to find out more. 

Tuition fees

The tuition fee is one of the many costs you have to plan to study in South Korea especially if you don’t have a scholarship. Upon getting admission into a higher institution in South Korea, you will be required to pay either full or half of your tuition fee to proceed with your admission into the school. 

In South Korea, there are states universities that are stated funded and private universities that are owned privately. State-owned schools usually cost about 40-50% lesser than privately owned. While the tuition fee of privately owned schools can range from $3500-$6000 per semester, public schools

can be as low as $600 per semester for colleges. Fees are usually listed per semester so this means the amount for a whole year is twice the amount listed per semester.

A lot of factors can determine how low your tuition fee will be. If you are studying a course in Science, Mathematics or Technology, this may increase the chances of having a high tuition fee in South Korean schools. These types of programs are high-priced as a result of the intensity and level of expertise needed to deliver them so schools spend a lot of money on them.

You can find state or public schools in South Korea that are subsidized since they are owned and funded by the state. Although international students pay more than citizens in South Korea, studying in a public school as an international student can considerably reduce your tuition fee. 

Since tuition fees are listed per semester in Korean schools, you can draw up an installment payment plan for yourself and pay the tuition per semester. This will further lessen the burden of paying high tuition at once for you. You can also check with the school to find out the minimum deposit allowed and agree on how you can pay in installments. You can also check to be sure if there is a partial tuition fee waiver so you don’t have to pay the full tuition fee.

Living Costs

South Korea is well known for its high-tech industries and metropolitan society so there are interesting places and cities to see and experience there. However, you can still stay on budget when it comes to your living expenses in South Korea. 

Your living cost is another important cost that you need to budget for. Your tuition fee is just for your studies so it does not cover your living costs. Your living costs include all you’d need to spend on your accommodation, your feeding, your housing, and even your clothing. You need these things to get by in school as you study. 

This includes your basic needs and other important things that you may need to live in South Korea. The highest living expense is usually the rent but you can reduce the cost by looking for low-cost accommodations or students’ shared apartments. Some schools have residents for students which are often shared so you don’t have to pay so much for your rent.

Getting student apartments in places such as Jeju Island or Busan are cheap places for international students to reside in as you only need about $400-$500 per month in regions like this. This will help you cut costs on rent and on your living expenses. 

However, if you are living in Seoul as a student there are low-cost options for you such as looking for shared apartments in guesthouses or volunteering for accommodation. You can volunteer for accommodation by helping out with a few chores in exchange for a place to stay if you are short on cash. However, you may need to verify this with the consulate if it is allowed since you’re only volunteering in exchange for a place to stay.

Some Korean universities also have affordable housing options so you contact ahead for this. Some schools have options as low as $1400 for 4 months.

There are also Goshiwons which are tiny rooms with just a bed and a desk. There’s no shortage of Goshiwon in Seoul and many of them are located near university areas so if you’re attending a university or one of their language institutes you’ll be able to find one close by. This is the cheapest place to live as a student in South Korea but you’ll be living in a really small space. You can pay extra fees for other things such as tv, fridge or private bathroom. It costs as low as $250 depending on the features of the room.

When it comes to feeding, you can eat out for $6-$10 for a decent meal. If you are eating out, you should spend lesser than eating out. A student who eats out mentioned that she spends $300 per month on feeding as she eats at home half of the time. This can help you cut costs and reduce your living expenses overall.

Other Expenses

Apart from living expenses, there are other expenses that you’d need to cover. These include miscellaneous and emergencies such as health issues. It is important to get your health covered through health insurance. 

The government has issued a new law for international students to have a mandatory subscription to the Korean National health insurance from March 1, 2021. 

As of 2021, the health insurance fee is about $135. However, the Korean Government decided to allow international students to receive the insurance benefits with a 70% discount from March 2021 until February 2022 with terms and conditions

When you have your health insurance covered, you will be able to take care of your health regardless of how unexpected health issues arise. 

Wifi is also another expense that you have to cover while living in South Korea. Not all accommodations have wifi covered in the rent so you may have to pay additional fees for wifi to be able to use the internet. You can budget $10 per month for the internet as the internet is not expensive in South Korea. 

Other expenses can also include the following;

  • Books
  • Clothing
  • Installations
  • Health insurance
  • Home appliances
  • Membership fees
  • Social activities

Some books are required for you to buy for certain courses in the university so you must budget for this also. In school, there are also some membership fees such as library fees that you have to pay for.

While living in South Korea you may develop your own circle of friends who may invite you to events. This can be a good opportunity for you to unwind and do other things apart from studying so you can budget about $30-$50 monthly for this too.

You can also budget for expenses that may arise as a result of your interest or necessity. 

Comparison to Other Countries

Now that you already have enough knowledge about the costs of your study in South Korea, we can take a look at the comparison between studying in South Korea and other popular countries.

United Kingdom

As mentioned earlier, the tuition fee in South Korea can be as low as $1,500. This is not the same in the United Kingdom as the lowest tuition you can find starts from about $10,000-$12,000. The United Kingdom is a country that is well known for being home to the most ancient and prestigious schools in the world such as Oxford University. This is why such schools in the United Kingdom are expensive. 

Some regions in the United Kingdom can be expensive to study and live in such as London. London has high standards of living and can be expensive to live in, unlike South Korea. The United Kingdom can also be quite competitive as a lot of international students move to study there as it is a business-oriented country.

United States

It costs about $20,000-$60,000 per year to study in the U.S. Someone suggested that being good at sports is an advantage for an international student in the U.S as it can give you an advantage in studying in the U.S. South Korea on the other hand is more about technology and a student with such a background can thrive in South Korea.

Students visas also allow international students to work in South Korea than in the U.S where you are barely allowed to work. You may be allowed to work under certain conditions and by complex guidelines and restrictions issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration service.


You can study in Germany at no cost as most schools are tuition-free. However, you will be required to take care of your living expenses which are essential to your study in Germany. From my research, I can see that most international students spend about 700 to 900 pounds ($939 to $1,207)per month on their living expenses. Most international students don’t try to go below this price range or it may be tight for them if they do. 

Compared to studying in Germany, you can spend as low as $400 on living costs in South Korea.


Most schools in Norway are tuition-free and like most European countries, all you need to worry about is the living costs. To study in Norway as an international student, you need to budget monthly expenses of $1300 – $1500. This is higher compared to average living costs in South Korea. Even though these are the only expenses which you have to worry about, it is almost as high as paying for tuition. 

Asides from this, there are also other expenses that you need to pay for such as the student union fee. These also contribute to the study and living expenses in Norway.


Overall, South Korea is a relatively affordable country to study in. Students should budget their money carefully and make sure they are aware of all the costs associated with studying in South Korea. This will help you prepare as you should.  Make good use of the information in this article and start planning your study in South Korea.