The Philippines attracts many international students because it offers a unique academic experience and exciting cultural adventures. International students also like that most Philippine institutions use English as a medium of instruction, operate a dynamic learning environment, and have a welcoming atmosphere.

To top all those, the cost of studying and living in the Philippines is low to affordable, especially compared to other countries. Now, if you want to know more about the financial aspects of pursuing education in the Philippines, you will find answers in this article, as it aims to shed light on the cost of Philippine education.

Costs of Studying in the Philippines

Academic Costs / Tuition Fees

The cost of studying for both undergraduate and graduate programs in the Philippines varies based on the university and the program chosen by the student. To give you a better idea, though, here are the tuition fee ranges for some of the most well-known Philippine universities.

De La Salle University Undergraduate: Php 3,236 to Php 3,860 per unit
Master’s: Php 4,087 to Php 4,315 per unit
Doctoral (Ph.D.): Php 6,245 per unit
University of Santo Tomas Undergraduate: Php 5,397 to Php 93,336 per term
Master’s: Php 3,178 to Php 47,670
Doctoral (Ph.D.): Php 3,812 to Php 57,180
Batangas State University Undergraduate: Php 250 per unit
Master’s: Php 500 per unit
Doctoral (Ph.D.): Php 700 per unit
Adamson University Undergraduate: Php 39,094 to Php 68,445 per semester
Master’s: Php 28,744 to Php 44,197 per semester
Doctoral (Ph.D.): Php 29,797 to Php 48,409 per semester
Visayas State University Undergraduate: 240 per unit
Master’s: Php 400 per unit
Doctoral (Ph.D.): Php 250 per unit

Other Student Costs

International students must understand that aside from the tuition fee, they must cover other studying and living costs in the Philippines, such as non-tuition student fees. They are also sometimes referred to as semester or miscellaneous fees.

These additional fees include application fees, transportation, accommodation expenses, registration fees, ID fees, enrollment fees, healthcare, and stationery. The combination of these charges generally exceeds PhP 2,000 per semester.

Costs of Living in the Philippines

Knowing the cost of living in the Philippines is essential for international students. Hence, when choosing a city where you would like to attend a university, you must pay attention, especially if you are working on a budget. You want to live in a city that is affordable and can provide you with the most necessities without breaking the bank, although most of the financial decisions you will make still depend greatly on lifestyle and preference.

For instance, if you want to stay in a vibrant and affordable city with an average cost of living of about $780, then a good place would be Metro Manila. On the other hand, Iloilo is a more affordable city with an average cost of living of $549 per month, which already includes access to necessary amenities for a comfortable student life. Still, if you are unsure what city suits you best, here are some of the best cities in the Philippines to consider:

1. Metro Manila

Metro Manila is one of the cheapest cities to live in as an international student. This is because the average cost of living in the city is only $780 monthly, although that figure still places it as 5th most expensive city in the Philippines.

International students find the modern atmosphere and diverse culture of Manila appealing, thus, making it one of the most inviting cities for international students. Additionally, the amount they have to spend on expenses is reasonable. For instance, rent and utilities cost about $392 monthly, food costs about $271 monthly, and transportation costs about $47.6 monthly.

2. Baguio

Baguio is another inexpensive city for international students. The average cost of living here is $538 monthly, which is more affordable than in Manila or Cebu, where the cost of living is close to $700. Such low figures may be because accommodation and utilities in Baguio for a single person cost only $244, food is $212, and transportation is around $28.8 monthly.

3. Cebu

Cebu is considered one of the least expensive cities to live in, with an average cost of living of about $752 monthly. Accommodation and daily expenses in this city are quite affordable as international students will likely spend only $372 on rent and utilities monthly, food costs $279 monthly, and transportation costs $40.3 monthly.

4. Iloilo

Iloilo is another affordable city suitable for international students. The average cost of living here is $549 monthly, which is more affordable than in Baguio, Metro Manila, Cebu, and other major cities. That breaks down to $246 per month for rent, $23.8 per month for transportation, and $229 per month for food. International students will also have access to the necessary amenities and enjoy great food and cultural festivals.

5. Davao

Davao is an attractive city for international students. The city’s affordability contributes to its appeal, with an average cost of living of about $613 monthly. That figure covers rent and utility of about $271 monthly, while transportation costs $46.2 monthly and food costs $229 monthly.

Ways to Minimize Academic and Living Costs in the Philippines

1. Scholarships for International Students

Securing scholarships is an effective way of dealing with the cost of living and studying in the Philippines. These opportunities exist to assist students in covering tuition expenses and other costs related to studying as an international student. An example of a scholarship for international students is the Ateneo Freshman Merit Scholarship.


The Philippines is an enticing destination for international students looking for an affordable school that does not compromise academic experience and provides valuable insight into the chosen program. However, international students should be ready to cover other costs of studying and living in the Philippines, including semester fees, food, and rent.


We hope this article is of great help in preparing your budget as an international student in the Philippines. To learn more about studying in the Philippines, check out our articles here. You can also visit these linked pages to discover Open Courses you can pursue or learn about the costs of studying and living in other countries.

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.

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