Is going to graduate school overseas a big money saver?

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If you thought earning a bachelor’s degree was expensive, just wait until you start looking at graduate school!

While tuition and fees can vary widely from institution to institution, the average annual tuition at public colleges and universities for a graduate student is nearly $30,000. If you go to a private school, you’re likely to pay closer to $40,000 each year.

So to cut down on that expense, some potential graduate students have hit on a novel idea…

Read more: Is graduate school worth the cost?

Going to graduate school abroad

Many countries, especially throughout Europe, have English-language graduate-school programs. Because the coursework is often subsidized by the government, you can generally get a degree for tens of thousands of dollars less than you’d pay here.

The Wall Street Journal advises asking the following four questions before deciding to pursue graduate studies abroad.

1. What do you want to do with your degree?

Consider what you want from a graduate degree and where you expect it to take you.

Ask potential institutions you’re considering about their job placement rates for your field of study. Seek out some alumni to see how they’re doing post-graduate school.

Some degrees are universal in a certain sense so you’re likely to benefit from going abroad if it’s cheaper.

Having an M.B.A. from an international school with a good reputation is generally just as good as having one from a domestic school. So for that field, going overseas is a no-brainer if the economics work in your favor.

Speaking of M.B.A. students, they can expect to pay between $37,000 and $46,000 for a degree by going overseas. Domestically, you’re more likely to pay between $38,000 and $63,000.

Those figures vary, of course, based on whether you’re going to public or private school.

2. Will your foreign degree or license be accepted in the United States?

If you’re studying to be a dentist or doctor, you’ll probably want to skip the overseas graduate programs.

For doctors, you need to do your residency domestically and securing one of those positions with a foreign degree may be difficult.

When dentists have a foreign degree, they typically have to do another two or three years of schooling in the United States at an additional cost of $100,000 before they can begin practicing.

Law students, however, may be able to take the bar test in their state with a foreign degree. Though sometimes, additional requirements such as more education at a school accredited by the American Bar Association may be in order before you can sit for the bar exam.

Check with your bar association for confirmation, because this is not a decision you want to get wrong!

3. What’s the school’s reputation?

You can make sure you’re considering a worthwhile school by asking the following questions:

  • Is there a large international student body and faculty at the school?
  • Does the school have any noteworthy global partnerships?
  • What’s the institution’s reputation within its own country?

4. Double check your math…

Ultimately, you have to decide if the lower cost of tuition overseas is worth it and you’ll have to consider hidden costs.

Did you factor the expense of traveling back and forth to visit family and friends in to the equation?

How about the cost of obtaining a student visa? And don’t forget that visa may prevent you from working while abroad — so consider that too.

Read more: SoFi review: Here’s what this unique lender can do for you

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Theo Thimou About the author:
Theo is director of content for clark.com. He has co-written 2 books with Clark Howard, including the #1 New York Times bestseller Clark Howard's Living Large in Lean Times.
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