Study on Cheapest Tuition in Indonesia: Cost of Living, Tuition Fees and Application Process

Did you know Indonesia is made up of thousands of islands? Infact, the name Indonesia means ‘Indian Islands’. Over the last decade, Indonesia has become one of the world’s major emerging economies, with the largest economy in Southeast Asia. It is a melting pot of contrasts and diversity, with hundreds of distinct ethnic groups, languages and cultures. It’s also home to some of the most prestigious universities in the region, offering a vibrant study abroad experience.

Tuition Fees and Cost of Living

International students will be pleased to hear that tuition fees are very affordable in both public and private universities, pegged at around US$3,000-6,100 a year for most subjects, with medical degrees usually at the higher end of this estimate.

The cost of living is also very low in Indonesia. The Universitas Indonesia recommends a budget of US$8,600 per year to cover expenses from accommodation to the cost of books and travel. You may need to consider budgeting more depending on your lifestyle and spending habits, and be aware that living costs in the capital city Jakarta are higher than average in the rest of the country.

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How to Apply

You should apply directly to your chosen Indonesian institution/s, for which you’ll need to pay an application fee of around US$50. The documents you’re likely to be asked to include are:

  • High school certificate or equivalent if applying at undergraduate level, or academic certificate of a bachelor’s degree if studying at master’s level;
  • Academic transcript;
  • Proof of English proficiency with a test such as IELTS or TOEFL, or proof of Indonesian proficiency if studying in Indonesian;
  • A GRE or GMAT test for those applying for a master’s in business or economics.

Student Visa

You’ll need a sosial/budaya (social/cultural) visa to study in Indonesia. You should apply for this at an Indonesian embassy or consulate in your home country after you’ve gained acceptance at an Indonesian university and in plenty of time before the start of your course. The social/cultural visa enables you to stay in Indonesia for 60 days but will be extended, as your university will act as your sponsor. You’ll need to pay a small fee to apply for this visa. You should check the Indonesian Embassy website of your home country for exact information on what documents you’ll need, but generally you should provide:

  • Your passport, which should be valid for at least another six months after your date of entry to Indonesia;
  • Two recent passport-sized color photographs of yourself;
  • Your completed visa application form;
  • Proof that you have enough money to support yourself in Indonesia;
  • A certificate showing you’re in good health;
  • Your letter of acceptance from an Indonesian university;
  • Evidence that all the necessary fees have been paid in advance, or proof of a scholarship if you have one.

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Safety in Indonesia

You must secure health insurance before travelling to Indonesia, as good healthcare can be expensive. You should visit your health professional before leaving for Indonesia to check if you should have any vaccinations. Tap water in Indonesia is not safe to drink without first being boiled or sterilized. There is some risk from terrorism and general unrest, while Indonesia has a number of active volcanoes and the area is prone to earthquakes. Foreigners in Indonesia are advised to remain vigilant and educate themselves on what to do in an emergency, but overall your stay should be trouble-free.  


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