Financing Tertiary Education in Hong Kong: Overlooked Costs

Are you planning to pursue your tertiary education in Hong Kong? If that is the case, you need to understand the education costs that you will encounter. And we do not mean the tuition and fees. Going to college in Hong Kong is much more than these costs.

While the primary and secondary schools are sponsored by the government, the tertiary level continues to be exclusive. For the first 9 years of a child’s life, the government will pay for their education – at least those who choose to go to the public institutions. When they go beyond that, the senior secondary education becomes selective and even more so at the tertiary level. You will find that the education fund needed to go to the later levels will rise. This is probably why a lot of teens and your adults opt to study abroad – since it is more affordable.

In case studying abroad is not appealing, let us discuss the different education costs that are usually forgotten when you are calculating the total cost of tertiary education.

Living expenses while studying in a Hong Kong college or university

When you are planning your college education, it is important that you do not forget the living expenses. Some people concentrate on the tuition and fees. While this is the most important cost that you need to prepare for, it is usually not the bulk of your expenses.

Let us take a look at the costs published on the website of the City University of Hong Kong. According to their data, the total cost of living while you are studying for 10 months will amount to HK$45,000. The breakdown per month are as follows:

  • Food: HK$3,000
  • Local Transportation: HK$300
  • Personal Expenses (health-related costs, utilities, laundry): HK$900
  • Academic Expenses (school-related expenses like books): HK$300

The total monthly budget is HK$4,500. If you intend to live on campus, that is possible but you should be prepared to pay around HK$5,600 to HK$9,000 per semester. In case you wish to live off campus, the rental cost will be significantly higher – around HK$10,000 to HK$15,000 per month.

Since the City U is one of the very few institutions that award full and partial scholarship, you should know that it will cost you at least HK$45,000 per school year. The tuition and fees for a Bachelor’s degree in this university will cost an average of HK$40,000++ while an Associate degree will cost more than HK$30,000. If you cannot land a scholarship, you will spend around HK$75,000 to HK$90,000 each year. That is a total of HK$300,000 to HK$360,000 to complete your tertiary education.

You have to understand that these are conservative estimates of the education costs that you have to face at the tertiary level.

As you can see, the cost to study in Hong Kong is quite expensive. In fact, an article published on revealed that it is more expensive to study in Hong Kong compared to Shanghai – around 15% higher. After all, the city is the 14th most costly place to live in the world. So if you are determined to study here, make sure you are financially prepared.

Tertiary Education Costs You May Have Forgotten To Consider

Financial tips to keep your education costs down

Of course, the best way to make tertiary education more affordable is to simply prepare for it. While you can borrow education loans to finance your studies, the interest that it will accrue might make it even more expensive. In case it is too late and that you have to go to school without any savings, there are a couple of things that you can do to help keep the costs down.

Here are the important financial tips that will help you stretch your existing education fund.

  • Apply for a scholarship program. Although the tertiary level does not offer the same funding as the primary and secondary levels, that does not mean you cannot get financial aid. If you are skilled and academically gifted, apply for a scholarship program.
  • Opt to live on campus. Based on the data we got from the City University of Hong Kong, the cost to live off-campus will take you back HK$10,000 to HK$15,000 monthly. It cost to live on campus is even cheaper than that per semester. Not only will you save on rent, you will also save money when it comes to transportation costs. 3 stations in the MTR will already cost you HK$9. Imagine paying for that each day – twice. Your cost will add up.
  • Use the public transportation. If you have to live off campus, make sure to take the public transportation. The public transport system in Hong Kong is one of the most efficient in the world. Try to avoid taxis though, it will cost you a lot.
  • Do not forget to use your student discount. You can get a discount in just about anywhere in Hong Kong. If you have to spend on entertainment, use your student discount. It will make the expense less of a burden when you watch a movie or buy something from the many retail shops in the region. Just present your student ID to enjoy this discount.
  • Cook your own meals. If the place where you live has a kitchen, use it! Instead of buying meals outside, cook your meals from scratch. It will not only cost you less, you can be sure that it will be a healthy meal.
  • Work part-time. This will keep you from running out of cash and will help you save up for the expenses next semester. There are establishments that accept working students. The pay will be smaller but it is a lot better than nothing.
  • Get an internship. A better deal than a part-time job is an internship. Ask the school where you intend to enrol in. The great thing about this program is working for a company that is related to your degree. If things go well, you will be paid for this job and might even be accepted once you graduate.


If you are determined, the expensive education costs in Hong Kong will not hinder you from getting a higher level of learning. Just be wise with your financial choices to ensure that you will reap the benefits of your degree without the burden of education loans.

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