Cost of studying and living
In French-speaking Belgium, access to higher education is a priority. This is why the Wallonia-Brussels Federation government chooses to subsidise much of the cost of studying. This means that registration fees are fairly low yet the quality of study is excellent. Although there are general guidelines for registration fees, each higher education institution is free to set its own prices. We therefore recommend that you contact the institution of your choice directly to find out exactly how much you will need to pay in registration fees for your chosen programme.
In addition to the choices made by the chosen higher education institution, the amount of registration fees you need to pay may vary according to your home country and status:
- Students who are nationals of the European Union or European Economic Area pay €835 in registration fees
- Students who are non-European Union nationals pay between €835 and €4,175 in registration fees, depending on the chosen institution and programme and their status.
Please note : for certain advanced master’s degrees and MBAs (issue of a certificate), the amount of tuition fees may differ. Contact the institution of your choice for more information.
Although the cost of living is relatively low in Belgium, it can vary from one town to another. Don’t forget to consider everything (food, transport, free time, health, etc.) when preparing your budget, to avoid any unpleasant surprises. This means that for a student, the cost of living may vary between €700 and €1,000 per month and includes:
- accommodation (between €300 and €500/month);
- food (€300/month);
- study materials (€50/months);
- telephone and internet (€60/month);
- insurance (€30/month);
- local transport (€50/month);
- personal activities (€50/month).
Note that these costs may be considerably higher in the first month (provisional accommodation, rent guarantee, etc.). This is why it is absolutely essential that you have sufficient finances. To obtain your visa, you will, in fact, first need to prove that you have sufficient means of subsistence. To find out the minimum that will be accepted, refer to the Federal Immigration Office website.
Although most higher education institutions offer restaurants, sports facilities and other such services at reduced prices, there are also numerous other advantages and discounts you will enjoy.
The student card
Cinemas, theatres, museums, gym subscriptions and much more besides. The student card entitles you to numerous reductions both at and outside your higher education institution. You can also enjoy discounts in certain photocopying shops, when purchasing software, subscribing to a magazine, etc. And the only condition for obtaining a student card is to be enrolled with a higher education institution.
The ISIC (or international student card) for higher education students
The ISIC card aims to offer Belgian and foreign students benefits and reductions where they most need them. More extensive than the student card, the advantages of ISIC also include travel, certain shops, restaurants, insurance, shows and transport. To order your ISIC card, simply fill in the on-line form.
The European Youth Card
Available for all young men and women (aged under 30), for one year, this card offers discounts and benefits on various activities and purchases, in Belgium and in another 40 European countries. Shows, leisure activities, shops, travel assistance, language schools, magazines and transport… it allows you to discover the country in which you are studying. Available on simple request, it also gives you the right to obtain a free youth hostel members card. For your European Youth Card, register with www.cartejeunes.be
The discount cards offered by the National Belgian Railway Companies (SNCB)
To allow students to travel around Belgium for less, the SNCB offers preferential prices for students aged under 26 years old, in three different cards: the Go Pass 1, the Go Pass 10 and the Go unlimited. Want to visit Europe for less? Interrail lets you visit up to 30 countries with a single railway pass!
To facilitate your stay in Belgium, international students can open a bank account in Belgium. This account entitles you to a bank card that is accepted in stores and ticket offices without extra costs.
A few things to keep in mind when opening a bank account in French-speaking Belgium
- It can take several days to open a bank account.
- Make sure you have plenty of cash available for your first few days in Wallonia-Brussels.
- Credit cards are also accepted in many places.
- Before leaving home, it may be an idea to check with your bank to find out if they have a local correspondent bank in Belgium, which may make things easier.
- Higher education institutions have a social services department that can advise you and make suggestions to help you better organise your student life.