Belgium is a charming country which conquers your heart easily. Whether you’re a tourist or an international student, Belgium makes you feel truly at home with its beautiful landscapes, breath-taking architecture, and highly multicultural environment.
As a student here, you can benefit from excellent higher education, but what are the prices and costs you should expect in this wonderful country of waffles and chocolate?
1. University tuition fees in Belgium
Belgium is divided into three regions:
- the Flemish Region (or Flanders)
- the Brussels – Capital Region
- the Walloon Region (or Wallonia)
In the universities from Wallonia, non-EU/EEA students have to pay specific tuition fees, set by ARES (the Academy of Research and Higher Education). Still, these tuitions can’t be more than five times the amount the EU/EEA students have to pay.
In the Flemish Region, EU/EEA and non-EU/EEA citizens have to pay different tuition fees, as well, but they all start at around 900 EUR/academic year. Although tuitions costs are limited for EU/EEA students, for non-EU/EEA citizens they can grow depending on each university.
You don’t need to worry, because Belgian universities are fair when they calculate tuition fees. If it’s higher, it may be because of the student’s income, the type of study programme, or the available grants or scholarships.
Some examples of tuition fees in Belgium are:
- KU Leuven – tuition between 835 – 9,000 EUR/year
- University of Namur – tuition between 835 – 4,175 EUR/year
- Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) – tuition between 835 – 4,500 EUR/year
- University of Liége – average tuition of 835 EUR/year
2. Living costs in Belgium
Living costs in Belgium usually vary between 700 – 950 EUR/month. In big cities, you might need a larger budget, but this largely depends on accommodation type and your spending habits.
Here are a few examples of average living costs in some Belgian student cities:
- Antwerp: between 780 – 1,230 EUR/month
- Brussels: between 890 and 1,300 EUR/month
- Gent: between 750 and 1,200 EUR/month
- Leuven: around 800 and 1,300 EUR/month
- Liege: around 700 and 1,100 EUR/month
Accommodation in Belgium
Prices for accommodation are in line with the international average when it comes to student halls of residence. However, when it comes to the private sector, costs are higher.
You have three options when it comes to finding accommodation in Belgium:
- University halls of residence – a room in a student campus can be around 200 – 400 EUR/month
- In the private sector, on average, a room for a student can be around 500 EUR/month
- Renting/Sharing an apartment or a studio will cost you around 600 – 700 EUR/month. Prices are higher for apartments that are closer to the city centre.
Also, don’t forget about utility bills! In student halls of residence, they are included in the price. If you rent a private place, electricity, water, internet, and other utilities can cost between 100 - 400 EUR/month.
Food costs in Belgium
Buying from the supermarket and cooking at home is the cheapest option when it comes to food. On average, you would spend around 300 EUR/month for your groceries. Some of the cheapest supermarkets in Belgium are Lidl, Aldi, and Colruyt.
Eating out once in a while is a nice experience, and it is really worth it in Belgium. A meal in an inexpensive restaurant is between 10 and 20 EUR. With prices between 4 and 16 EUR, you can eat soups, salads, platters of cheese and cold meats, and patisserie at Le Pain Quotidien restaurant chain.
If you like seafood, you should be thrilled to hear about La Mer du Nord / De Nordsee, serving croquettes aux crevettes, escargots de mer (whelks), fish soup, pickled herring, smoked mackerel and salmon, hot dishes of crab and scallops, all for about 8 - 10 EUR.
Transportation in Belgium
Trains and buses are the cheapest and most convenient travel options while living in Belgium. A monthly public transportation pass for students younger than 25 years old costs 50 EUR/month.
Another option is renting or buying a second-hand bicycle. It’s a great way to exercise, enjoy some fresh air, and discover the Belgian city in which you’ll live.
Here are a few examples of other expenses while living in Belgium:
- Books: 35 - 50 EUR/month
- Entertainment: 50 EUR/month
- Health insurance: 20 - 30 EUR/month
If you want to buy second-hand books, you can look for announcement boards in your campus, as some students sell their books for good prices. You can also check Stubooks.be, an online platform where students buy and sell their old books (available in Dutch only).
3. Scholarships in Belgium
Scholarships for international students in Belgium are offered by some universities, the government, the Academy of Research and Higher Education, and other Belgian agencies or organisations.
Here are some examples of scholarships for international students:
- Master Mind Scholarships – provided by the government of Flanders
- ARES Scholarships in Belgium – for students coming from developing countries
- Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degrees (EMJMD) programme – for all international students, regardless of their country of origin. The EMJMD scholarship covers costs like tuition fees, insurance, and some of the travel expenses. Students also receive a monthly allowance for the entire duration of the study programme.
- Scholarships and funding programmes available on Scholarshipportal.com
- You can also check out the Studyportals Scholarship to get some help on financing your studies in Belgium.