The Cost of Dorms Around the World Compared to the United States

April 5th 2016

Brendan Scully

Student housing is synonymous with the college experience in the U.S. Athletics, student organizations, and Greek life are so popular in America’s university system that it makes campus housing a thriving social and educational hub for students all across the nation. This experience, however, doesn't come without a cost.

Higher education in the U.S. is among the highest in the world, and the high cost of housing is a factor in the astronomical price of getting a college degree in many schools around the country. Although the concept of student housing in many countries around the world is completely different than the U.S., and in a lot of places even scarce or non-existent, dorm rooms around the world are rising in price. That said, compared to the U.S., higher education in many parts of the world is a lot more affordable. Dozens of countries, including Germany, have tuition free colleges. Other countries, like the U.K., have a cap on tuition prices.

Here's a glimpse of examples of student housing around the world, ranging from glamorous to modest, and how they stack up in affordability to one another.

1. The Hub - University of Arizona - Tucson, Arizona

Rooftop Pool at The Hub

Located at the University of Arizona’s campus is “The Hub” — a divine haven of student housing you assume only could be possible in the movies. But this is real life.

Living situations in the housing complex span from studios to five bedroom suites, but rooms come with the standard luxurious amenities: private bedrooms and bathrooms, fully furnished rooms, walk-in-closets, a 42-inch HDTV, and a rooftop pool and hot tub.

Fully Furnished Rooms

Depending on how many people you’re living with and the level of accommodation, monthly prices for rent can range from $910 to $1,600 a month. Within the academic school year, an out-of-state student at the University of Arizona is looking at paying over $9,000 a year per room and board in addition to $32,600 a year for tuition. Even with the lavish housing, this over $41,000 a year price to attend the school isn't even among the top 50 most expensive schools in the country.

2. Fudan University - Shanghai, China

Outside International Dorm Hall

On the other side of the world is Fudan University, one of the most prestigious universities in China and throughout Asia. These dorm rooms are humble when compared to student housing such as “The Hub,” yet are much less straining on the bank account. For a double room and a fully equipped kitchen, expenses come out to $8.50 a day, or roughly $240 a month.

Dorm Room

In addition to living in an apartment that costs roughly one-fourth of a monthly student housing fee in the U.S., tuition for this prestigious university is astronomically lower than schools in the U.S. Yearly tuition at Fudan, when converted, ends up at just over $3,200 a year.

3. Fuller Hall - University of Cape Town, South Africa

Fuller Hall

In the Western Cape Province of South Africa is the University of Cape Town, a populous institution near the base of Table Mountain. The university boasts multiple dormitory halls for students, and when converted to the U.S. dollar, living costs are lower than the standard room and board fee. At Fuller Hall, first-tier accommodations with catering costs hit about $2,600 dollars a year, or just over $200 a month. Here at the historic female residence (also a national monument), residents enjoy an in-house coffee bar run as a student business.

In trend with Fudan University, yearly tuition for South African residents runs at just under $1,500 a year. Even for international students, the annual fee is just under $5,000.

4. Newcastle University, England

Shared Kitchen at Parker House

Newcastle University, taking up a northeastern slice of the English countryside, is a bustling public university that has 24,000 students in and out of its halls every year. Student housing here compared to the U.S. is moderately priced, especially when you add the strength of the British pound into play. For a single room - stocked with laundry facilities, a shared kitchen, WiFi and bike storage - rent price comes out to be a little over $700 per month.

Parker House Dorm

Although Newcastle's tuition is on the priciest end in the U.K, it converts to $13,000 a year for U.K. and European Union residents.

5. Colegio Mayor Universitario San Agustin, Spain

Outside Dorm Hall

In the center of Madrid is the Colegio Mayor Universitario San Agustin. Although student housing isn’t too much of a popular option here, when utilized, it is quite the lavish situation. An individual room at the university has you coughing up a whopping $1,250 a month - but with the price comes its perks. Each room comes with a telephone, meals, a weekly laundry service and housekeeping that comes twice a week. Not a bad set up.

Dorm Room

Monthly tuition at this university actually is less expensive than their student housing. Costs convert to around $1,100 per month. Again, much cheaper than many tuition prices we see in colleges and universities across America.

This is just a glance into global college affordability, but one thing is clear. Overall, it costs much more to obtain a college degree in America than in many countries around the world. Why is this so? Perhaps schools aren't to blame, but rather the attitude towards the educational system in the U.S.