If you’ve had the opportunity to visit Ukraine on holidays, you probably got to experience the awe inspiring architecture of several cathedrals and monasteries and the adventure-packed (though relatively modest in terms of height) mountain ranges – if you went skiing, hiking, mountain biking or rock climbing (and you definitely must have had alot to do while in Ukraine!).
Ukraine currently also houses more than 800 institutes of tertiary education and has a varied economy, primarily in and around big cities such as Kiev, Zaprozhye, Dnepropertrovsk, Lviv and Odesa. It equally has significantly cheaper tuition fees than other developed countries, both in Europe and across the world. So, whether you’re into history, love nature or simply an aspiring entrepreneur, opportunities to study on low tuition in Ukraine could be just what you’re seeking at the moment.
Applying to universities in Ukraine
Well, applying to universities in Ukraine is quite simple – all you have to do is apply directly to your chosen university with a copy of your passport and your most recent results (i.e. high school grades if applying for a bachelor’s degree and bachelor’s certificate if applying for a master’s degree).
For you to study in Ukraine, international students require an invitation letter that shows their admittance to a chosen university. You are able to obtain an invitation letter directly from the university, or through one of the many organizations that provide this service for both January and September intakes. There’s actually a fee for this service, which can cost around US$300 for bachelor’s programs and US$400 for master’s and PhD programs. If you use an agency, ensure the organization you’be chosen is authorized by the Ukraine Ministries of Foreign and Internal Affairs.
In order to apply for an invitation letter, you are expected to provide a copy of your passport, a copy of your school leaving certificate (this will be a certificate of your most recent educational achievement), and a duly completed application form. These days, it takes around two to four days for an invitation letter to be processed.
The invitation letter is a basically an official document, known as a Visa Support Document or an Official Invitation. This document may be countersigned by the Ukraine Ministry of Education and Sciences, Youth and Sports, and will be processed by the Ukraine Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and is required by the Ukrainian Embassy before they can issue you a student visa to enter Ukraine. The invitation issued is valid for 90-180 days from the date of its been issued, so do well to apply for a visa within the allotted timeframe.
Tuition fees in Ukraine
Typically, tuition fees in Ukraine vary depending on your chosen field and institution. Universities in Kiev are typically more expensive than in other cities. Some students may also find their first year costs more than subsequent years. Ukrainian universities may administer a tuition fee package which would cover costs of textbooks, exams, assistance with opening a bank account and pick-up from the airport by a representative.
That said you should generally expect to pay roughly US$2,500-5,800 per year for a bachelor’s degree, with preparatory programs going around US$1,800. International students who are admitted into a Ukrainian university for the first time will be required to pay the full fees for their first academic year upfront, and then pay per semester for subsequent academic years. Your university could also charge a one-off registration fee on arrival (around US$10-30).
It is well noted that majority of international students in Ukraine finance their academics without help from scholarships and, as such, Ukraine does not award government-based financial aid. Many international students choose to study on cheap tuition in Ukraine due to its lower living costs compared to other European destinations, with students requiring around US$2,500 per year to take care of their costs of living.
If you would to lower costs even further, accelerating your program either through transferring credits from your secondary education or taking additional courses is an option, and students with impressive grades may also be able to apply for a tuition waiver later in the year. You may also be able to gain funding from the government in your country of origin.
Student accommodation in Ukraine
Most students who study in Ukraine live in university-provided student residences in the form of hostels and dormitories. These are available in various forms, and you’ll usually share your accommodation with one or two roommates. You can also decide to live in a flat off-campus with a small group of students, or live with a Ukrainian host family. In this case, please do well to inform your university of your local address.