Is it Expensive to Study in Spain?

Spain is one of the most popular European countries for international students. There are many universities and colleges that offer degree programs in Spain, However, there are some misconceptions about the cost of studying in Spain. In this article, we look at the cost implications of studying and living in Spain.

Yes, studying abroad in Spain can be expensive. However, there are ways to offset the cost so you don’t have to spend so much while studying and living in Spain. You can study at a low cost in Spain especially when proper financial plans are made before the study. 

Studying in Spain can be one of the many means to get a reputable degree without spending a fortune. Most international students get scared away from making plans to study in a country such as Spain. This is because they feel that studying in a European country such as Germany is a feat for wealthy families or families who have saved up a fortune to send their child or ward to school abroad.

You can also look for scholarship opportunities to study in Spain. One that I know of is the Erasmus Mundus Scholarship which is fully funded and allows you to study in at least three European countries with a full grant. The scholarship usually covers all expenses including living expenses, health insurance, memberships, installation costs, and others. The most popular destination for the scholarship programs in Spain. You will also be able to meet international students such as yourself there. 

There are also low-cost schools in Spain that you can apply to so you don’t have to spend a lot of money on tuition. We will examine them in the next section of this article. Applying to such schools can considerably reduce your study costs in Spain. 

Now, let’s take a look at the study costs in Spain and other costs that you may not know about. We will also take a look at the cost of studying in other countries and how they compare to the cost of studying in Spain. Keep reading to find out more.

Tuition fees

After you have gotten an offer or admission into a Spanish school, you may be required to pay the tuition upfront before your admission is finalized. It could be the full fee or part of the fee for the first year or first semester. Either way here is some useful information about tuition fees in Spain that can be helpful to you. 

It usually costs an average of $2,500-$10,000 per year to study in Spain as an international student. The University of Valencia has an average tuition fee of $2600 per year and this is one of the lowest tuition fees in Spanish schools. Studying in low-cost schools can be an effective way to reduce costs if studying in Spain. 

Like most countries, international students pay more tuition fees than domestic students which is usually a result of being nationals of another country. If you are looking to enroll in a private business school, you may pay up to $10,000 since these types of schools are not funded by the state but privately. 

Tuition fees of programs in fields such as science and technology will be much higher than the tuition fees for other programs. So taking up programs in this field means you will have to spend more on your overall study costs. You can look towards taking programs in arts, music, or economics. However, if you are really vested in applying for programs in science or technology, you should consider public universities to reduce your tuition cost to a considerable extent. 

Unlike most European schools, there are no tuition-free schools in Spain. The only way to get free education in Spain is by applying for scholarships that will cover tuition or parts of the living expenses. There are usually scholarships available for international students that are pursuing post-graduate programs or research in Spanish schools. 

You can also 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. Check with the school to find out the minimum deposit allowed and agree on how you can pay in installments. 

Now let’s take a look at the living costs needed while schooling and living in Spain.

Living Costs

After taking care of your tuition fee, you want to ensure that you make proper plans for your living costs. You may not have to bother about planning for your living costs if your scholarship covers both tuition and living costs in Spain. Even if you get a scholarship that covers your living costs, you still want to budget carefully so as not to spend beyond what is allocated to you monthly or per year.

Your living costs include basic things such as your accommodation, feeding, clothing, transport, and other things that get you by in Spain.

The standard of living in Spain is not as high when compared to other European countries. However, you can cut costs on your expenses if you manage your money well by making proper and realistic plans. Accommodation is often the highest expense that you have to take care of as an international student in a new country especially if you don’t have friends or relatives that you can stay with. You may want to start cutting expenses down from your rent so it can positively affect the rest of your living costs. 

You can get accommodation in school residence halls for about €300-€550 and prices start from €200 to €800 per room to rent an apartment outside school. It is advisable to avoid expensive cities or accommodation plans.

I once reached out to a private student accommodation company in Barcelona to inquire about available accommodation plans. Even Though they had very nice apartments for students and many premium services, the least price for one of their standard rooms is €1200. If you are trying to cut costs, you may want to avoid such plans and look for more affordable options. On the other hand, if you can afford it, it can be worth it.

You can decide to go for on-campus lodging where you get to share with two or more other students. Residents share bathrooms, kitchens, and other common areas. This can be another affordable option for you when it comes to finding low-cost accommodations. 

It is not expensive to get food in Spain as food is incredibly cheap there. You can eat out for as low as €6 or get a pizza for less than €4. On the other hand, making your food at home is much more affordable than eating out so you can get groceries and cook at home. Budget about €200 per month to cater for your feeding. 

It is more affordable to use the public transportation system than using a taxi or cab in Spain. Public transportation should not cost you more than €3 per trip which makes it about €90-€100 if you go out frequently. A good way to cut transportation costs is to get accommodation in the school residence hall. 

This way, you don’t have to budget for transportation to the school since the residence is within the school premises. An alternative will be to rent apartments that are not far from the school.  However, you will need transportation to go to other places that are not close to the school. 

You can also get a city bike to take yourself to places you want to go without having to pay for transport. 

Other Expenses

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

You can either budget for public or private health insurance. Health insurance in Spain can cost as low as €50 and as high as €200 depending on the insurance company or type of insurance you’re subscribing to. This is an affordable plan for you as an international student in Spain.  

All international students must have health insurance which can be either public or private as required. You want to ensure that you have yourself covered in case of medical emergencies. This is an equally important cost in your study in Spain. 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 prepare for. 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 as low as €40 per month for the internet. 

You are allowed to work while you study for about 20 hours per week in Spain. You should stick with this and not go beyond 20 hours a week as this can adversely affect your studies. It is possible to make up to €15 per hour working as an international student in Spain which can sum up to $300 per week and $1200 a month. You can work on campus and off-campus. This will help you cover some of your living expenses.  You may be required to buy certain books that are important to your study so you may want to budget for this also. You can also budget for expenses that may arise as a result of growing interest or due to necessity such as membership fees, social events, and others. 

Comparison to Other Countries

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

United Kingdom

The lowest tuition you can find in the U.K schools starts from about $10,000-$12,000. There are lots of prestigious universities in the United Kingdom which partly explains why the tuition is on the high side, unlike Spain where you can get schools as low as $2,500 per year.

Most schools are not tuition-free in the United Kingdom and in Spain, you have to pay your tuition fee upon acceptance into the university. 

Living expenses can be high in the United Kingdom as a result of the high standard of living while essential things in Spain are inexpensive.

United States

Tuition fees in the United States are relatively expensive compared to tuition fees in Spain.

The United States usually requires students to go back to their home countries immediately after their studies while you can extend your stay in Spain with a post-study work visa permit without a minimum time spent. 

You can work for up to 20 hours as an international student in the United States and in Spain


Unlike Spain, 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. 

It is more expensive

Like most countries in Europe, Germany encourages international students to stay back in the country after their programs. The same goes for Spain. 


Living expenses can be higher in Norway than in Spain. In Spain, basic food needs cost so little that you don’t need to spend much to feed. You may need to have as little as $50 per week for feeding in Spain while the same amount in Norway may not get you past few days. 

Schools are free in Norway but you have to pay for living expenses in Norway while schools are not free in Spain.

You can work up to 20 hours in both Norway and Spain.


Studying and living in Spain can be affordable. You only need to budget your money carefully and make sure you are aware of all the costs associated with your study. Spain is one of the least expensive countries to study and live in so make good use of the information in this article and start planning for your study and life in Spain.