7 Cheap Universities in China for International Students

With the highest population around the whole world, China has been rising in terms of its economic state, power, influence, and territory. Not only does its citizens are considered to be one of the smartest people on the planet but they are also the most hardworking, efficient, and effective as the workforce of the country. One of the reasons for having high-quality citizens is a government that provides them with the resources and opportunities to let them explore their options and talent for what they will be good at.

A part of these resources is the taxpayer-subsidized public universities that offer free education for its citizens that gives them the right and opportunity to learn things that could not be learned on the streets or by life experience. This is the reason why aside from being cheap, universities in China are visited and chosen by international students to study in.

The local language barrier may hinder those who could not speak Mandarin but there are still universities that have English as their requirement for an international student to get accepted. In this article, we will go over the cheapest universities in China as well as the basic information you needed to know before going to the largest country.

Cost of Studying in China

Tuition fees, daily living expenses, and monthly living expenses with utilities are the things included and you need to consider when you want to study to any place you want to be. In this case, the average tuition fee in China ranges from 2500 USD up to 10,000 USD annually for public or state universities.

On the other hand, living expenses in China depend on the city you will be residing but on average, around 1000 USD to 1200 USD monthly is the amount to reserve. On accommodations or housing rent, in contrast with their expensive living expenses, rent and accommodation fees are cheaper in metropolitan cities such as Beijing and Shanghai. For around 150 USD to 400 USD per month, you get to stay in some student dormitories. Add another hundred dollars and you get to stay in your apartment depending on the city.

Are Universities Free in China?

Romania’s education system compulsory gives free education for its citizens for 11 years from preparatory school at 6 years old up into grade 12. After that, higher education requires payment because even though the country has been prospering in terms of economy and development, it still lacks the budget and still resolves financial issues on their government.

Currently, they are working on making it possible to also give free education to their students. On the other hand, foreign or international students are required to pay all of their fees and will not get any of the Romanians benefits unless their nationality says so.

What are the languages of instruction for universities in China?

The government in China established a law that Chinese citizens must receive a nine-year compulsory education and it will be considered a crime if the parents of the children deprived them of this right. However, beyond those 9 years of compulsory and free education, the students will decide if they would continue their studies into senior high school and proceed to study in universities.

This is because, higher education, particularly colleges and universities, is not subsidized by the state so they needed funds to run their universities. With this, international students also needed to pay for tuition fees and miscellaneous fees to the university they would be applying because free higher education in China is far from happening.

Cheapest Universities in China

1. Lanzhou University of Technology

  • Tuition Fee for Undergraduate Programs: 16,000 RMB – 20,000 RMB ($2,338 – $2,923)
  • Tuition Fee for Graduate Programs: 18,000 RMB – 30,000 RMB ($2,631 – $4,385)
  • Tuition Fee Link

The Lanzhou University of Technology is not only known for its degrees and courses in the field of technology but also in other fields of studies such as Literature, Fine Arts, and Economics. It is also among the most popular universities for international students having a high satisfaction score from them. With the tuition fee starting from $2,338 USD for undergraduate students to $3,000 USD for graduate students, Lanzhou University of Technology is the cheapest university in China for international students.

This is the reason why the School of International Education or SIE was founded. SIE’s purpose was to be responsible for admissions and management of documents of international students that apply for the university. Moreover, the school also organizes cultural events and cultural exchange activities with foreign students to make a comfortable environment for them.

2. Sichuan University

  • Tuition Fee for Undergraduate Programs: 17,500 RMB – 45,000 RMB ($2,558 – $6,557)
  • Tuition Fee for Graduate Programs: 22,000 RMB – 60,000 RMB ($3,215 – $8,768)
  • Tuition Fee Link

Like most of the universities in China, Sichuan University has also placed its strength in Math and Sciences courses. The university is most renowned for its excellence and achievements in the field of Medicine and Pharmacy in which the university gained 3 key laboratories from the Ministry of Health that supports the needs for materials and equipment of the students.

Currently, the university has established and made connections with over 150 renowned institutions across the globe focusing on projects relating to medical research and medicinal drug formulation.

3. Renmin University of China

  • Tuition Fee for Undergraduate Programs: 21,500 RMB – 29,000 RMB ($3,142 – $4,239)
  • Tuition Fee for Graduate Programs: 31,500 RMB – 60,000 RMB ($4,604 – $8,768)
  • Tuition Fee Link

As the first modern university founded by the People’s Republic of China, Renmin University China has adapted to the modern ways and teaching methods when it comes to sharing education and knowledge to the students. The Renmin University of China is also one of the cheap universities in China.

The university is most famous for its offered courses in humanities and social sciences and this gained them over 2100 international students from a total of 98 different countries. Mostly, international students enroll at this university to get their graduate or doctoral degrees since graduate courses for humanities are limitedly offered in other countries.

4. East China Normal University

  • Tuition Fee for Undergraduate Programs: 22,000 RMB – 32,000 RMB ($3,217 – $4,679)
  • Tuition Fee for Graduate Programs: 22,000 RMB – 45,000 RMB ($3,217 – $6,580)
  • Tuition Fee Link

East China Normal University is one of Shanghai’s top public research universities and is a part of China’s national education projects under their Ministry of Education. As a national university in China, ECNU has been among the ones who are leading in China’s higher education and became the first national university to get sponsored by international institutions. With these achievements and milestones, the university became the goal of many aspiring international students because of the opportunities that could arise when they enroll at this university. If you have universities in your countries that are in a partnership with this university, check the benefits that you might get and make sure to apply as soon as possible.

5. Beijing Institute of Technology

As one of the universities at which most international students enroll, the Beijing Institute of Technology has the largest number of international students and made them first among international universities with an annual growth of 20%. Currently, over 2,400 foreign students reside in this cheap university in China studying their specializations.

6. Xiamen University

  • Tuition Fee for Undergraduate Programs: 24,000 RMB – 26,000 RMB ($3,510 – $3,801)
  • Tuition Fee for Graduate Programs: 24,000 RMB – 55,000 RMB ($3,510 – $8,041)
  • Tuition Fee Link

Among the over 2,000 universities in mainland China, Xiamen University has been on the track of becoming a world-renowned and recognized university due to its commitment to internationalizing its academic environment and modernizing their principles and ways of teaching.

Currently, the university has a faculty of more than 2,600 individuals, each specializing in their respective fields of study. This diverse faculty members from different countries are made sure to be more than qualified to teach their courses and degrees assigned to them that’s why Xiamen University earned the 15th spot on the most prestigious school in China.

Also, the university has forged and established connections with almost 300 foreign institutions just by knowing their achievements and milestones. So, if you want to enroll in an internationally known university that excels in academic and international relations, make Xiamen University your top choice.

7. University of Hong Kong

We end our list of cheapest universities in China with the University of Hong Kong. As the oldest tertiary institution in Hongkong, the University of Hongkong lives up to its name of being one of the historic universities in the country and the mainland China. With its rich historical value and experience, the university became a founding member of the Universitas 21 which is a group or a network of research-intensive universities around the world.

Other than this, other international programs such as the HKU Worldwide Exchange program was joined by the university to continue to spread its partnerships with other institutions. As of now, more than 320 institutions from more than 40 countries are partners with the University of Hongkong and this is one of the reasons why international presence in the university is very strong.


I hope that this article on cheap universities in China was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Cheap Tuition Category!