Located in the Caribbean Sea, close to Miami, Puerto Rico is a territory that officially belongs to the U.S. but is known for its Caribbean flavor and culture, which is sometimes closer to the Latin American region than to the U.S. This island is known for its stunning beaches, its famous singers like Daddy Yankee, Luis Fonsi, or Ricky Martin, and for its delicious foods and products, which include rum, Piña Coladas, avocados, and seafood.

Although it is a small territory, with a little bit more than 3.5 million citizens, Puerto Rico has a strong higher education system that is similar to that in the U.S. There are around 30 universities, and many of them have multiple campuses and affiliated colleges and schools throughout the island. If we include schools and colleges, there are almost 40 accredited institutions of higher education.

 As they follow the American model of education, bachelor’s degree programs last for four years, master’s degree programs typically last for two years, and doctoral degree programs last for three years or more. However, not many universities offer doctorate degrees.

The most important and biggest university here is the University of Puerto Rico, with almost 500-degree programs, 11 campuses, and 58,000 students. The curricula and system of this university have been a model for the rest of the higher education institutions in Puerto Rico. In this article, we will cover the cheapest universities in Puerto Rico.


Tuition Fees for International Students at Puerto Rican Universities

Out-of-state tuition, which is what you’ll have to pay as an international student, goes from 7,000 USD to 10,000 USD per year. By finding cheap universities in Puerto Rico, it is possible to find less expensive universities and colleges and to apply for scholarships or grants.

Check Also: Available Programs for International Students


The Language of Instruction and Puerto Rican Universities

Although the territory of Puerto Rico belongs to the U.S., the island was a Spanish colony for more than 40 years. This is why both Spanish and English are the official languages, but Spanish is the primary language. Actually, English is the primary language of less than 10% of the population and a big part of Puerto Ricans aren’t fluent in English, despite being taught at school.

Many universities, like the University of Puerto Rico, only have programs in Spanish. Luckily, there are a few institutions and international campuses that offer programs in English or assistance for international students that want to learn Spanish.

You’ll have much more options if you decide to learn Spanish and complete your program in this language, but it won’t be impossible to find a couple of programs in English.


Admissions at Puerto Rican Universities

In general, the admissions process is similar to admissions in other universities. The most important difference would be that they don’t have a national standardized test for all the universities.

Besides a high school diploma and a good GPA, most universities will require you to take an entrance exam. Depending on your results, many of them may also invite you to an interview.


What else should I know before moving to Puerto Rico?

When considering studying in Puerto Rico, you must consider that its territory belongs to the U.S., so, depending on your nationality, you will need a visa to enter the country. Make sure to complete all the legal procedures before moving or to get more information at the U.S. embassy in your country if you’d like to go there to visit universities before making a decision.

Regarding living costs, life in Puerto Rico is more affordable than in many U.S. states. You should budget between 450 USD and 600 USD for renting a one-bedroom apartment and around 30 USD for transportation. Utilities cost around 200 USD plus the internet service and eating out at a local restaurant can cost about 12 USD.


Cheap Universities in Puerto Rico

1. Antillean Adventist University (UAA)

The Antillean Adventist University (UAA in Spanish) came to life after two institutions merged together: a Puerto Rican academy and the Antillean College, which was originally located in Cuba. Programs of the UAA were accredited in 1989.

Located in the municipality of Mayagüez, this cheap university in Puerto Rico has five schools of science and technology, business administration, theology and music, nursery and health sciences, and education and philosophy. Unfortunately, they don’t have programs in English, but there are intensive language courses for international students.

They offer detailed information for international students, especially related to legal procedures. You’ll have to make a deposit of 4,000 USD in order to get the I-20 document, which is mandatory to get your F1 visa. The money will be transferred to your account throughout your studies.

Regarding admissions, they accept scores from standardized tests like the SAT, ACT, or College Board. They also have their own entrance exam in case you didn’t take any of those. Click here to get more information. They also have student residences for those who are less than 21 years old, which cost about 800 USD per semester.

Tuition fees per semester are 3,375 USD. Other expenses like books and medical insurance cost 2,750 USD in total. Learn more by visiting their FAQ section. Remember to select your preferred language by clicking the “Translate” button in the upper right corner.


2. Atlantic University College (AUC)

Opened in 1983, the Atlantic University College (AUC) specializes in the field of digital arts.

This cheap university in Puerto Rico offers eight undergraduate programs and three master’s degree programs. These are available in the areas of business administration, graphic design, art sciences, and video game design, digital animation sciences, digital cinematography, and digital photography.

Regarding admissions, you’ll have to pay an application fee of 30 USD. Some programs require you to have a specific minimum GPA and/or a portfolio. In case you don’t have a portfolio, you’ll have to take an entrance exam. Click here to see the list of documents required.

Regarding tuition fees, the cost of the complete programs goes from 10,000 USD to 25,000 USD. Each academic year is divided into four trimesters. If you’d like to learn more, explore their website and fill a form to get more information via email or through a phone call.


3. Central University of the Caribbean (UCC)

The Central University of the Caribbean (UCC) was originally established in 1976 but then changed its location to the municipality of Bayamon. This university specializes in the field of health sciences.

Besides its School of Medicine, UCC has graduate programs in the areas of substance abuse counseling, chiropractic, biomedical sciences, and medical imaging. Check their academics section to learn more.

Admissions depend on the program you’d like to pursue. For the medicine program, prospective students will have to do their application through the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) and take the MCAT. They’ll also have to pay an application fee of 200 USD and be fluent in both English and Spanish. Visit their admissions section to get more details about admissions for the rest of the programs.

Tuition fees depend on the program. Some are calculated per academic year and others are calculated per credit. For example, for the Medical Images Technology program, credits cost 180 USD, but for the Biomedical Sciences program, credits cost 335 USD. Check the information about each program to learn about the fee structure. Contact them to get more information.


4. Herbert Fletcher University (HFU)

Herbert Fletcher University (HFU) is one of the newest universities in Puerto Rico. It was opened in 2013 but was fully accredited in 2016. They specialize in distance education and grant graduate degrees.

As for 2019, this cheap Puerto Rican university offers two programs: a master’s degree in instructional design and a master’s degree in church administration and leadership.

Regarding admissions, you’ll have to pay a fee of 50 USD, include letters of recommendation and complete the application form online.

Programs are divided into trimesters. Tuition fees will depend on the number of credits you take. Each credit costs 143.31 USD. You’ll also have a registration fee of 168.30 USD each trimester. To learn more, contact them and check their FAQ section.


5. Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico (PUPR)

The next university in our list of cheap universities in Puerto Rico is the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico (PUPR), which was founded more than 50 years ago, in 1966. It is a private institution that specializes in engineering programs. It has three campuses: one in San Juan (Puerto Rico), and two in the U.S. located in Miami and Orlando.

It offers more than 20 undergraduate programs and 17 graduate programs. Besides their programs in different fields of engineering, they also have programs in areas like accounting, interior design, marketing, architecture, or business administration. 

In order to be admitted, you must file an online application form, submit a letter of recommendation, have a GPA of a least 3.25 (or equivalent to your country), go to an interview, pay an application fee of 50 USD, among others. Visit their prospective students’ section to get more details. They also accept transfer students.

PUPR has a career and internship program to give students the opportunity of joining the job market faster. They also have student residences, which were opened recently.

Tuition fees are calculated per credit. Each credit costs between 185 USD and 450 USD depending on the major. They also have a price calculator to help you discover how much you’ll have to pay. If you need financial aid, they offer scholarships, loans, and work programs.


6. Ponce Health Sciences University (PHSU)

The Ponce Health Sciences University (PHSU) was founded in 1977 and as its name suggests, it specializes in the field of health. It has a small student population so classes are given to smaller groups. Their medical school recently went from having 360 students to 600, and in total, they have over 1,000 students.

Along with their medical school, which grants a doctor of medicine degree, and their nursing school, they also offer graduate and postgraduate programs. These are available in the areas of public health, clinical psychology, epidemiology, biomedical sciences, neuroscience of learning, and family and couples therapy. Download their catalog to learn more about each program.

Admissions include an application fee of 85 USD. They consider different elements like grades, personal qualifications, achievements at school and in the medical field, etc. However, requirements vary depending on the program, so check the academic section to learn more.

Tuition fees for international students depend on the program and the academic year you are studying. For example, tuition fees for the first year of the master’s degree in public health are 14,112 USD and for the second year, they are 9,261. Similarly, tuition fees for the first year of the Doctor of Public Health in Epidemiology are 13,160 USD.

However, the school of medicine is significantly more expensive. Tuition fees for international students are 60,000 USD per academic year. If you need financial aid, they offer loans and different scholarships.


7. University of the Sacred Heart (USC)

Our last university in our list of cheapest universities in Puerto Rico for international students is the University of the Sacred Heart (USC). It is a private university with more than 4,000 students.

It has five academic departments of natural sciences, business administration, interdisciplinary humanistic and social sciences studies, communications, and natural sciences. Download their catalog to get information about their undergraduate and graduate programs.

USC has student residences. They have two buildings, one for women and the other for men. Rent costs 1,550 USD per semester.

Visit their admissions page to get information about requirements and how to apply. They mainly consist of validating your high school diploma and documents and taking an entrance exam or submitting your SAT or ACT scores. You’ll have to pay an application fee of 15 USD. They also accept transfer students and give you the option to take a few courses as a non-degree student.

Tuition fees are calculated per credit and the academic year is divided into two semesters. Each credit costs 200 USD for undergraduate programs and 230 USD for graduate programs.

They also have a price calculator to help you get an estimated amount of your university expenses. Visit their financial aid section to get information about scholarships and loans. Around 85% of their students receive some type of financial aid.


I hope that this article on the cheapest universities in Puerto Rico was helpful. To know more information on studying abroad, check out the Available Programs for International Students.

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