Hong Kong is the third-highest city of billionaires. It is one of the most developed and civilized cities globally and they offer world-class education which is recognized everywhere in the world. If you get into any university in Hong Kong, you will be exposed to exciting career opportunities. So when deciding on a country to study abroad, do not let the gold city of Hong Kong pass you by.

The country is famous for its culture and diversity. You will not only be getting formal education there but you will be getting life-long experiences and surely making long-lasting friends. The best thing about the education system of Hong Kong is that it is modeled on the education system of the United Kingdom which means that it follows the English language broadly.

If you’re planning to study here with a limited budget, make sure to read more as we cover some helpful tips and scholarship opportunities to start your studies in Hong Kong for free!

How to Study in Hong Kong for Free

1. Study Hard and Prepare Your Application Early to Have a Good Application

The first step for studying in Hong Kong for free is to have an application that stands out. You will need to start working on the application well beforehand because you cannot just magically get good grades overnight. This is why plan ahead if you want to go abroad for your studies. A good personal and educational resume is going to open many doors for you so invest in yourself.

The main things that you will need to consider are your GPA, the subject of your degree as sciences and engineering have the highest number of available scholarships everywhere in the world, extracurricular activities, final year projects or thesis, good referees, publications (only applicable in terms of masters and Ph.D.), and finally, language proficiency test scores. Finally, arrange all of your documents. Get them scanned in color and get them attested if need be.

2. Apply for Scholarships

The next step is to look for any and all available scholarships. Most scholarships are very competitive since they are open to the whole world and also come with a strict deadline. This is why it is important to have a list of scholarships and their deadlines on hand. So when the time comes you can apply swiftly with the application documents that you prepared before.

If you have missed any scholarships, that is fine because the government and private universities come out with various scholarships throughout the year.

3. Apply to Affordable Universities

Another way to study in Hong Kong without breaking the bank is to enroll in cheap universities. By studying in these schools, you can save more. With a combination of scholarships and cheap tuition fees, studying in Hong Kong for free is possible.

Tuition-free Options for Bachelor’s Studies in Hong Kong

Hong Kong has some of the best universities for bachelors. Almost all universities offer scholarships to international undergraduate students.

One of the top most prestigious scholarships for undergraduate studies is the Hong Kong Scholarship for Excellence Scheme which is awarded by the government of Hong Kong. This scholarship covers the subject and degree-related tuition fees of amount upto HK$ 300,000 per year which is a lot of money. Up until 2023, 770 students have benefitted from this scholarship since its initiation in 2014. During the course of the scholarship, the students need to maintain good academic standing.

The Chinese University of Hong Kong ranks 12th on the QS ratings of 2023 in Asia and is one of the most widely known universities in the world. They offer great undergraduate programs in more than 70 programs to its students who are a whopping number of 20,000. The university offers many different scholarships to its students based on their needs and wants. They offer admission scholarships to incoming foreign students and they can cover the whole cost of their studies.

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology is a public university that was founded in 1991 by the British Hong Kong Government. The university offers many different scholarships to local and non-local students on the basis of their academic merit and non-academic merit. There are many ways to get scholarships or financial aid for yourself in this university so make sure you talk to one of their representatives who will guide you in the best way.

Tuition-free Options for Master’s Studies in Hong Kong

There are two types of master’s in Hong Kong. One contains only coursework so is called Taught Postgraduate program and the other one has a considerable research component in it and is called Research Postgraduate program. You will need to provide a research proposal that will outline your abilities and expertise in the research field and also what you want to do in your master’s thesis.

The scholarship Hong Kong Scholarship for Excellence Scheme is a government-funded scholarship that will cover your tuition fee of up to HK$300,00 per year. If your tuition fee is covered by some other means and you still have a great academic or research caliber, the government will award you the title of the scholarship (with no monetary benefits) in recognition of your abilities. These scholarships are competitive so you will need a resume that stands out.

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology offers both types of master’s programs to its students and consequently offers scholarships to both as well. You will need to draft your own research proposal for the research program and for your scholarship application. You can apply for any of the financial aid given by various industrial corporations or you can apply for the university’s own scholarship. As a scholarship recipient, you’ll get to study in Hong Kong affordably.

The Lingnan University (Taught and Research Postgraduate Program) is famous for its research and development around the country and abroad. The university offers world-class education with great exposure to culture and diversity. If you are looking to apply for a master’s program anywhere in Hong Kong, you surely need to look for applying at Lignan. The university has various governmental and industrial financial aids that help students with their tuition fees and living expenses.

Get in touch with the university for more information about their criteria and selection process.

Tuition-free Options for Ph.D. Studies in Hong Kong

Ph.D. is one of the most prestigious degrees anywhere in the world and the universities in Hong Kong know that. This is why they put special care into these degrees and the students they select for them. There are various scholarships available for this degree and they are awarded only to the most brightest and academically fit candidates. Some of the most famous scholarships for Ph.D. in Hong Kong are:

Hong Kong Scholarship for Excellence Scheme offers Ph.D. scholarships as well as it does for bachelors and master’s. The only difference here is that these are way more competitive and challenging to secure than for the lesser degrees. The reason behind it is that a Ph.D. is more like a job and here you are being judged as a worker and not as a student. So you need to make sure that you have a great research and publication record. The university will cover your tuition fees of up to HK$300,00 per year and as a Ph.D. you will also be eligible for a stipend depending upon your research work.

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University offers more than 10 project-related scholarships for students in Ph.D. so you can concentrate on your research and not worry about paying for the university. The Ph.D. scholarship applications are however longer and require a lot of time so make sure you start with them timely.

FAQs: Studying in Hong Kong as an International Student

Is It Cheap for International Students to Study in Hong Kong?

No, it is actually not cheap for international students to study in Hong Kong. The average fees for international students there range anywhere from HKD 90,000 and HKD 265,000 per year but it can be less or more, depending on the university and your course of choice. That being said, there is still a way that you can opt where you will need to pay nothing for education in Hong Kong and that way is of getting a scholarship.

The Hong Kong education system is very open to accepting and accommodating international students which is why it offers many different scholarships on undergraduate and postgraduate levels to students from all around the world. Whether the university is government, public or private, they will offer scholarships to international students.

There are many ways you can study for free in Hong Kong, you just need to find the one that works for you. If you have worked well on your application, you will surely get the fruit of it so be patient and apply wherever you see fit. Good Luck with your application. We hope you get in!


We hope that this article on studying in Hong Kong for free was helpful. Make sure to also check out the Asia Scholarships Page to find out more about universities and scholarships in Hong Kong!

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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