One of the many reasons why international students choose Malaysia is its cost-effective, high quality tertiary education. As an example, you can acquire a UK engineering degree (3 years) in Malaysia through a 3+0 foreign university franchised degree programme at an estimated RM68,000 (US$17,000). The tuition fee of the same 3-year degree programme at the host university in the UK is about £35,000 (or RM175,000 or US$43,750).

As such, a student can save up to RM107,000 (US$26,750) in tuition fees if he or she chooses to study in Malaysia (see Table 2). If cost of living is taken into account, students who complete their entire 3+0 degree in Malaysia can save up to an estimated RM180,000 (US$45,000).

In a survey on the ‘Most Affordable Cities for Students between 2016-2018’ QS University Ranking found that “Kuala Lumpur has received a good score for affordability, with a combination of low living costs and relatively low tuition fees”. Kuala Lumpur ranks #1 in QS Top Universities ‘Most Affordable Cities for Students’ in 2016 and 2017, falling only one notch to #2 in 2018 and 2019.

The major components of education cost are:

  • Course fees which include tuition fees and other study fees payable to the institution, depending on what you are studying and the duration of your study programme; and
  • Living expenses which depends on where you are staying, your type of accommodation and your lifestyle.

This article explores the tuition for a college or university student in Malaysia.

Tuition fee costs in Malaysia

Your course fees will consist of your tuition fees plus other related study expenses. Below are types of fees that you may incur during your course of study:

  1. Academic Fees:
    • Registration fee
    • Tuition fee
    • Deposit
    • Computer/Science laboratory fee
    • Library fee
    • Other incidental costs such as examination fees
  2. Non-academic Fees:
    • Student visa fees
    • Medical check-up
    • Health and hospitalisation insurance premium

The breakdown of estimated tuition fees at various levels of study at private higher educational institutions (PHEIs) in Malaysia are outlined below.

A. Pre-university programmes

If you have completed IGSCE or O-level and are looking for pre-university studies to prepare for a bachelor’s degree programme or professional courses, Malaysia offers a wide variety of pre-university programmes. Here are some types of pre-university programmes, the duration of study and estimated tuition fees.

Types of pre-university courseDuration of studyNo. of subjects studied/ (typical exam result announcement date)Estimated tuition fee per course (RM)
Cambridge GCE A-Levels, UK15-18 months3 – 4 subjects / (August/January)RM19,000–32,000
for 3 subjects
SACE, Australia (formerly SAM)11 months5 subjects / (December)RM21,500–23,500
AUSMAT, Australia10 months5-6 subjects / (December)RM22,000–30,000
CIMP, Canada12 months6 subjects / (June/December, usually 1 month after exam)RM37,000 (US$9,250)
International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP), (at international schools)24 months6 subjects / (July/Jan)RM60,000–80,000
Monash University Foundation Year (MUFY)12 months4 or 5 subjects / (July/December, usually within 2 months after exam)RM30,000
New South Wales High School Certificate (NSW HSC)12 months5 subjects  (usually within 2 months after exam)RM15,000
University’s Internal Programme (private)10-12 months5-6 subjects / (varies)RM12,000–18,000