Slovenia in Central Europe takes the top spot for being the cheapest country in the continent for yearly tuition fees and living costs / Gilad Rom/flickr/Creative Commons

As the UK becomes one of the most expensive places in the world to study, new research sheds light on the cheaper alternative options available for British students

They teach in the English language, provide a degree of comparable quality from an institution of equal heritage – and all for a tenth of the fee or less when compared with Britain. So, is it any wonder more and more UK students are looking into heading for Continental Europe for a university education?

With the release of this year’s Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings, academics and a former politician all took to their soapboxes to warn how the excellent reputation of British universities is being put at risk.

Upcoming vice-chancellor of the University of Oxford, Louise Richardson, issued the starkest of warnings saying that, not only will the UK “be impoverished” if international students find it too unwelcoming to travel to the country to attend its universities, but also cautioned how “British students are going overseas to get a ‘debt free’ education”.

As one university in the Netherlands revealed how enquiries from the UK and Ireland have surpassed its expectations this year, travel money company FAIRFX compiled a list of the most affordable countries in Europe to be a student, based on average annual tuition fees and living costs.

Charging on ahead of the UK – where the average annual cost is £21,000 – a total of 13 new European countries entered the THE World University Rankings this year, including Belarus, Cyprus, Iceland, and Luxembourg.

According to FAIRFX’s analysis, three of these new countries would take the lead as the cheapest study destinations in the world, thanks to low tuition fees and living costs.

Currency expert with the company, Darren Kilner, also acknowledged how higher tuition fees are making the UK’s students consider their options when it comes to choosing a university. He said: “A three year course in the UK will cost a student around £63,000 in tuition fees and living costs – three times the amount of a deposit on a new house.*

“With the investment costs so high, it’s no surprise students are looking at cheaper ways of securing their university education and studying abroad is becoming a much more attractive option.”

Not only can UK students take advantage of lower tuition fees across Europe, he added how the cost of living can also be much lower, meaning there is a “definite financial incentive” along with the opportunity to experience a new country and culture.

Urging prospective students to look to the future, he said: “It could become a real alternative to taking a gap year. With the Ucas deadline approaching in January, UK students have some big decisions to make over the next three months.”

*Comparative calculations based on exchange rates on 16 September 2015 compared with 16 September 2013

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