Comparing college tuition in Russia with international universities

Money Works By Andrei Muchnik December 19, 2019

This article was created in partnership with Western Union.

Russia remains one of the few non-EU countries with highly subsidized education, so college tuition is often not an issue for many Russians. If your child gets high scores on the Unified State Exam (EGE), they can fill one of the many open spots at universities all around the country.

However, if your child is set on attending university in another country, you’ll need to consider the costs. Here’s a look at how the cost of education in Russia compares with tuition fees in other countries.

Average cost of college tuition in Russia

According to data from the Ministry of Education, in 2018, out of more than 4 million students, 54.1% financed their own education, while the other 45.9% paid for their college tuition using federal or regional government funds.

Tuition varies greatly across Russia, as outlined by Vuzopedia, with Moscow and St. Petersburg being the most expensive cities for education. Studying at prestigious schools like Moscow State University costs about 400 000 rubles a year, while in provinces you can study for much less. For instance, at Kazan Federal University, you will pay about 120 000 rubles per year.

Financing an international education

The prices of Russian universities are quite competitive, and that’s one reason why many students don’t study abroad. According to statistics jointly gathered by UNESCO, OECD and GeoNames, in 2016, only 56,328 Russians studied abroad. Compared to the number of students in the country, that’s a bit more than 1%.

When students choose to go overseas for education, where do they go? Here are some of the top places Russian students study abroad and how much education costs on average in those countries.


The data shared by UNESCO et al. says that the highest percentage of Russian students abroad studied in Germany. Germany is a popular choice because students can easily fund their studies there. Many German universities have made tuition free for both local and international students, only charging small service fees. According to the German Academic Exchange Service, the average monthly cost of living for a student in Germany is approximately 60 000 rubles, where rent makes up the largest part.

Czech Republic

Two factors make the Czech Republic one of the most popular study abroad destinations for Russians. First, Russians can apply for free education, just like Czechs. Secondly, the cost of living is affordable. The Czech National Agency for International Education assures that housing and living costs can be as low as approximately 22 500 rubles per month.

United States

It’s obvious why U.S. universities appeal to Russians — some of the best schools in the world are located there. On the other hand, costs can be quite steep. According to the College Board, you’d have to pay about 670 000 rubles per year in tuition for public universities, and more than 2 million rubles for private school tuition. These sums do not include room and board.

If your child wants to go to a university in a large city, like New York or Los Angeles, the total costs could be much higher. That said, there are funding and grant opportunities to lower the price of tuition.

United Kingdom

Data published by Top Universities says that undergraduate college tuition in the U.K. for international students can cost anywhere from 700 000 to more than 2.6 million rubles per year, depending on the city and the university. Of course, London universities are the priciest, and living costs there are even higher than in large U.S. cities. One factor to consider is that many British universities offer three-year degrees rather than four-year programs, like in the U.S.


France is a great option if your child is fluent in French and is willing to get higher education in that language. Undergraduate tuition costs around 13 000 rubles per year at public universities, but can go up to 1.4 million rubles at private universities, according to Studyportals. There are also funding opportunities for international students. While the costs of living are quite high in Paris (around 100 000 rubles per month on average), they are more reasonable in cities like Lyon or Nice (around 70 000 rubles per month).

Supporting your child studying abroad

If your child is pursuing an international education, there’s a wealth of opportunities to choose from, but do so wisely, considering all the costs: tuition, room and board. To help you provide for your child while they’re away from home, you can use the Western Union® app to quickly and reliably transfer money internationally.

As your child begins to look for opportunities to study abroad, help them make an educated decision so that no matter where they pursue higher education, you can rest assured that their future is secure.