You should choose to study on low tuition in Malaysia and you’ll discover that the country’s natural beauty goes way beyond its ancient forest trees, national parks and sandy beaches. In the cities as well, there’s plenty to keep you occupied, from colorful and beautiful markets to the mosques, Buddhist temples and Hindu shrines that are often found side by side, and the profusion of annual festivals celebrating both traditional and modern aspects of Malaysian culture.
Malaysia is also one of the world’s most politically stable nations, and is second to Singapore in terms of regional economic power, but offers a much more organic lifestyle than its city-state rival. One half of the country, situated on the southern tip of the peninsula below Thailand, is called Peninsular Malaysia. This location has the highest ranked universities in Malaysia, along with the most diverse and vibrant urban areas. The other region, Malaysian Borneo, has an island with Indonesia and remains the quieter of the two regions, offering solitude, authenticity and jungle life.
Application Requirements, fees and visas
Already the world’s 11th most popular study destination according to UNESCO figures, Malaysia has even grander plans, aiming to be the sixth-largest education hub by 2025 with a target of admitting 250,000 international students by this date.
Among the development initiatives introduced to achieve this is a new agency known as Education Malaysia Global Services (EMGS), which will provide assistance for foreign students applying to study in Malaysia. Since 2013, students wishing to apply to private universities in Malaysia could apply via EMGS with a ‘one stop application’, intended to make the process more efficient and less cumbersome thus allowing students to apply for multiple courses and institutions at a go. International students looking to study in Malaysia at a public university, however, will be required to apply for their desired program directly through each individual university.
English is the language of Instruction at private colleges and some government universities in Malaysia, and is spoken by lots of Malaysians. For those who are less proficient in the language, most colleges offer English proficiency classes.
Student passes plus visas for Malaysia
All international students will be given a “Student Pass” and student visa. Gaining your Student Pass is not a complicated process. Actually once you are accepted onto a program at an accredited university in Malaysia, the school itself will directly apply for you. Among the documents they will submit for you is a Personal Bond, for which you will need to pay a fee of roughly MYR200-2,000 (US$50-US$500), depending on your country of origin
Once your acceptance and Student Pass have been approved, all students (for both private and public universities), will be required to apply separately for a single-entry student visa through the nearest Malaysian embassy or high commission in their home country. For this you will be requested to provide evidence of your offer of study and your Student Pass, show proof of financial stability to meet tuition and living costs, show that you are “in good health and of good character”, and confirm that you would like to live in Malaysia solely for study purposes. Depending on where you’re from, you may have to submit additional documents.
Tuition fees vary from universities/institutions in Malaysia, with the high number of international branch campuses and private institutions bringing the overall average slightly higher. Generally, studying in Malaysia is way cheaper than many countries, with average tuition fees currently standing at US$3,950/ year.
Surprisingly, the highest ranked institution in the country, Universiti Malaya (UM), as a public institution, has an average which is again much lower, standing at around US$2,534 per year for international undergraduates.
Although the prices of programs at Malaysia’s international branch campuses tend to be higher, they are still much cheaper than their international counterparts, while offering the same prestige. What that means is, if you were to take a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Monash University’s Malaysian branch campus it would cost MYR41,900 (US$10,000) a year, while at the original Monash University in Australia the price would be twice, currently A$32,500 (~US$23,400) a year.
The cost of living for international students in Malaysia can be as low as MYR 14,400 (~US$3,440-4,600) per year, including meals, travel and accommodation. While this is relatively low compared to several other destinations, it is of course still important to plan your budget as early as possible, especially as your visa application will require proof of available funds.
Please note that international students cannot work during school period. The only permitted times international students can work are during breaks and school holidays of more than seven days, for no more than 20 hours a week and on a restricted category of jobs.What this means is that getting your tuition and living expenses funds from these jobs will not be feasible.
Scholarships and grants are a fantastic way for EU and international students to find funding to study in Malaysia. Individual institutions in Malaysia will often offer scholarships or fellowships to international as well as domestic students, and information on these is available on all their websites.
The Malaysian government equally offers funding for international students, one such fund being the Malaysian Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan (CSFP), and are available to postgraduate students with a 2:1 degree or higher, or equivalent.