When ever students contact us for study abroad advice, we always encourage them to study on cheapest or low tuition in Malaysia and see how the country’s amazing beauty goes beyond its medieval forest trees, national museums and sandy beaches. On top of that, In the urban cities too, you’ll discover loads of activities that’ll occupy your senses from colorful and varied market places to several nicely built mosques, Buddhist temples and Hindu shrines that are usually situated side by side.
As you may already know, Malaysia is one of the world’s most politically stable nations,and is only second to Singapore per regional economic strength, but you’ll find an organic lifestyle in Malaysia more than what Singapore offers. A portion of the country, sits on the southern tip of the peninsula slightly below Thailand, and is called Peninsular Malaysia. This region is home to some of the top ranked and cheapest tuition universities in Malaysia, together with some of the most amazing and vibrant urban places. The other portion is Malaysian Borneo,which shares an island with Indonesia and if you didn’t know is the quieter of the two regions, and thus offer residents solitude, tranquility and natural jungle life.
Applications process, fees and visas
Did you know Malaysia is already the world’s 11th most popular study abroad destination according to UNESCO figures? Inline with this, Malaysia has grand plans to become the sixth-largest tertiary education provider by 2025 with the goal of attracting 250,000 international students by this time.
A proper development initiative introduced to actualize this is a new agency known as Education Malaysia Global Services (EMGS), which will provide necessary support for international students who apply to study in Malaysia. Starting from 2013, students who wish to apply to private universities in Malaysia were encouraged to apply using EMGS with a ‘one stop application’, introduced to simplify the process and make it more efficient and allow students to apply for multiple programs and institutions at once. International students who are keen on studying in Malaysia at a public university, however, will be required to apply for their desired course directly via each individual university.
As you would expect, English is currently the main language of Instruction of private colleges and some government universities in Malaysia, and is used widely by Malaysians. Students who are less proficient in English should note that, most of the colleges offer English proficiency classes.
International Student passes and visas
All international students admitted to schools in Malaysia will need to apply for “Student Pass” and student visa. Typically, obtaining your Student Pass is a simple process, once you are admitted onto a program at an accredited university in Malaysia, the school will directly apply for the pass on your behalf. As part of the documents they will submit for you is a Personal Bond, to obtain this you will have to pay a fee of roughly MYR200-2,000 (US$50-US$500), depending on where you hail from.
The moment your acceptance and Student Pass have been collectively approved, all admitted into their universities (both private and public universities), will have to apply separately for a single-entry student visa through the local Malaysian embassy or high commission in your home country. To apply for this, you will be required to provide evidence of your offer of study and your Student Pass, show evidence of sufficient financial stability to take care of tuition and living fees, show via doctor’s report that you are “in good health and of good character”, and confirm that you are traveling to Malaysia solely for academic purposes. Depending on which country you come from, you may also be required to submit more info and documents.
As you would expect, tuition fees differ between universities in Malaysia, due to the prevalence of international branch campuses and private universities upping the overall average. In general however, tuition cost in Malaysia is cheaper than in many countries, with average tuition costs currently standing at roughly US$3,950 per year.
The highest ranked institution in the country, Universiti Malaya (UM), as a public institution, has an average fee which again is so much lower, sitting as low as US$2,534 per year for international undergraduate students.
As expected, the costs of programs at Malaysia’s international branch campuses tend to be higher, but are still cheaper than their international counterparts, while providing the same value to students. For example, if you were to do a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Monash University’s Malaysian branch campus it would go for roughly MYR41,900 (US$10,000) a year, while at the original Monash University in Australia the cost would be twice that, currently A$32,500 (~US$23,400) a year.
The cost of living for students living in Malaysia is as low as MYR 14,400 (~US$3,440-4,600) per year, and takes care of food, travel and accommodation. While this is relatively low compared to many destinations, it is important to plan your budget as early as possible, given that your visa application will require proof of available funds.
Have at the back of your mind that international students are not allowed to work during term time. The only permissible times students are allowed to work are during semester breaks and school holidays of more than seven days, for no more than 20 hours a week and on a few category of jobs. What this implies is that earning cash for tuition and living expenses on the go may not quite happen.
Scholarships and grants
We all know scholarships and grants are fantastic means for international students to secure funding to study in Malaysia. Select universities in Malaysia equally offer scholarships or fellowships to international plus local students, and information on these can be found on all their websites.
The Malaysian government deploys funds for international students, one such scholarship fund is the Malaysian Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan (CSFP), available to postgraduate students who earned a 2:1 degree or higher, or it’s equivalent.
List of low tuition universities
Tun Hussein Onn University of Malaysia
Universiti Utara Malaysia
National Defense University of Malaysia
University of Malaya
University of Teknikal Malaysia
Universities Malaysia Malaba
International Islamic University