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Cost and Finance Structure for Higher Education in Malaysia for International Students

cost and finance structure in Malaysia
Higher education in Malaysian institutions is priced reasonably and students can achieve great amount of savings if they plan ahead. Students can avail scholarships, study loans and wavering of tuition fee via educational institutions. Higher education in Malaysia is of a high standard. 

Cost Structure of Courses For Higher Education in Malaysia

IELTS or International English Language Testing System test costs a grand total of USD 129-229. The fee for TOEFL or Test of English as a Foreign Language is USD 143-229. 
Fee structure for pre-university programmes in Malaysia is around USD 2,300 to 3,200. 

For Bachelor’s Degree Programmes in Malaysia

For Bachelor’s Degree programmes, business courses in private college with 3 0 foreign degree programme lasting for three years costs around USD 11,100 to 14,300. Cost in USD for foreign branch campus university degree programmes costs around USD 13,700 to 24,000. Cost in USD for Malaysian private university degree programmes is around 8,600 to 11,400. Cost in USD for engineering degrees is around 13,000 to 15,000 in case of 3 0 foreign degree programmes and for foreign branch campus university degree programmes, cost is 21,000 to 40,000 USD. For Malaysian private universities, a 4 year engineering degree costs around 12,900 to 14,300 USD. IT degrees cost around USD 9,700 to 12,900  in case of 3 0 degrees and 13,400 to 25,100 USD in case of foreign branch campus university degrees. In case of private Malaysian universities, the cost is around USD 9,400 to 12,300. For hospitality and tourism, cost of undergraduate degree course is around USD 13,700 to 18,600 and it is USD 12,000 to 14,300 for private universities in Malaysia.  For medical courses, the cost for a 5 year 3 0 course is around 114,300 and it is around USD 62,900 to 108,600 for private universities in Malaysia. 

External Professional Degrees in Malaysia

cost and finance structure for higher education in Malaysia
Chartered Association of Certified Accountants course costs around USD 3,300 to 4,300 while the Chartered Association of Management Accountants is priced at USD 3,700 and 4,500. Institute of Chartered Secretaries & Administration (ICSA) course costs USD 2,900 to USD 3,400. 

Financing for International Students in Malaysia

 Public Services Department/JPA Local and Overseas Sponsorship Programmes

This scholarship programme is obtained following 11 years of free education which includes 6 years primary and 5 years secondary education
Government offers numerous scholarships via the public services department including General Data on Malaysian Higher Education
Students can pursue studies at either local or international higher educational institutions such as bachelor’s and diploma degree level 

JPA’s Local Sponsorship for Diploma and Bachelor’s Degree Programmes offer scholarships to students that have admission to the following higher educational institutions:

  • Universiti Malaya
  • Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia
  • Universiti Teknologi Malaysia
  • Universiti Sains Malaysia
  • Universiti Putra Malaysia
  • Universiti Utara Malaysia
  • Universiti Malaysia Sabah
  • Universiti Malaysia Sarawak
  • Universiti Islam Antarabangsa
  • Universiti Teknologi MARA
  • Universiti Teknologi Tun Hussein Onn
  • Universiti Malaysia Terengganu
  • Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka
  • Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia
  • Universiti Malaysia Pahang
  • Universiti Malaysia Perlis
  • Universiti Teknologi Petronas
  • Universiti Tenaga Nasional
  • Universiti Multimedia
  • Polytechnics

The scholarship has to be awarded on the basis of academic achievement of applicants as well as other criteria such as co-curricular activities and performance during the academic interview. Sponsorships are given for Diploma programmes offered by the Polytechnics, Ministry of Higher Education. Applications must be done online and application form is free of cost.  

JPA’s Overseas Sponsorship for Bachelor’s Degree Programmes

Public Services Department also provides overseas Bachelor’s degree sponsorship programmes for students with excellent SPM results before pursuit of courses at universities. Selected recipients must be below 18 years of age and undergo locally conducted preparatory courses for 1 to 2 years. JPA sponsored students passing preparatory courses will be offered a place in top British, Australian and US universities in Malaysia. 

JPA’s Loan Schemes for Tuition Fees at Foreign Universities

This is known as Skim Pinjaman Yuran Pengajian Di Luar Negara. JPA offers study loans under cost sharing where students can avail a maximum of RM200,000 per student for tuition fees abroad. 

Ministry of Higher Education’s Scholarship Division

The Scholarship Division of the Ministry of Higher Education offers financial assistance at higher levels of education. Students have access to financial aid through study loans and scholarships. Matriculation Studies Scholarship/Bantuan Kewangan Untuk Program Bertaraf Matrikulasi is awarded to students enrolled in matriculation programmes of public universities as seen below: 
Program Asasi Universiti Islam Anatarabangsa Malaysia
Asasi Undang-undang UiTM
Asasi Pengajian Islam UM (Nilam Puri)
Tahmidi Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia
Asasi Sains UM
Asasi Sains Pertanian UPM

Award given includes tuition fees, accommodation allowances, airfare and pocket money. 

Study Loan Fund/Tabung Pinjaman Pelajaran

This is provided to students who want to take a certificate course for around 4 semesters/2 years at Community Colleges and Polytechnics managed by the Department of Polytechnic and Community College Education 
Amount of loan is RM1,500 per semester for a total of 4 semesters excluding administration/service charge. Complete loan will be RM 6,000 for 2 years. Candidates must possess only SPM qualifications or equal and enrol at Semester 1 or 2. 
Income of the applicant’s family is not considered and candidates should sign agreement where the guarantor is needed. Repayment of loans is 6 months following the successful completion of the programme by the candidate. 

Federal Training Award Scheme/Skim Hadiah Latihan Persekutuan 

This scheme is awarded for long term programmes at Master’s and doctoral levels and the field of study is associated with the requirements of the Division of Training and Careers of the Department of Polytechnics and Community College Education for application details. 

National Higher Education Fund or Perbadanan Tabung Pendidikan Tinggi Nasional 

National Higher Education Fund was formed under the National Higher Education Act of 1997 through Act number 566 and commenced complete operations on November 1st, 1999. The basic aim is to give study loans for eligible students at higher educational learning institutions as well as funds for higher education. The PTPN study loan is provided to students who pursue diploma level studies at public universities as well as private institutions and polytechnics. This fund is also the right choice for public universities and private institutions for students pursuing bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programmes as well as professional qualifications and part time as well as distance education courses.


Loan amount per year is associated with the type of course being pursued. Administrative charge imposed by PTPTN on the amount borrowed is 3% per annum on reducing balance.  All applications for PTPTN must be completed online via a website. 

Khazanah Scholarship Awards

The Khazanah Scholarship Awards is a scholarship programme sponsored by Yayasan Khazanah which offers scholarships to applicants who must pursue or are pursuing the undergraduate or postgraduate degree programmes at universities. Scholarship is offered to students pursuing professional, technological, business and engineering courses as well. Application form can be downloaded online.  

Tun Hussein Onn Memorial Postgraduate Scholarship In Law Tenable at University of Malaya

This scholarship is open to applicants aged 35 and below with at least a second upper class honours in Law or its equivalent from a well known university who qualify for admission into University of Malays for its LLM programme. Applicants pursuing full time studies will be considered. Scholarship will cover course tuition fees and a stipend of RM18,000 per year for living expenses. Additional allowance of RM 1,800 will be given for a dissertation project. The scholarship is announced at the University of Malaya between April to June each year.   

The Star Education Fund

Star Education Fund was launched by the Minister of Education in the year 1994 and it provides scholarships to students pursuing postgraduate, degree, professional and diploma programmes as well. The fund is oriented towards providing educational and training opportunities to deserving students and contributions are made from local private higher educational institutions and overseas educational institutions of higher learning.  

The Malaysian Association of Private Colleges and Universities (MACPU) Scholarship

This scholarship is a joint project between New Strait Times and Malaysian Association of Private Colleges and Universities. This is for students studying in private colleges and universities in Malaysia. This programme provides financially deserving students with an opportunity to access private education. This scholarship is provided to students who have completed their SPM and STPM. Full tuition waiver for entire duration of course must be completed in Malaysia.  Scholarships are for different kinds of courses of various disciplines and levels of study.

Malaysian International Scholarship, Ministry of Higher Education in Malaysia

Background: Malaysia International Scholarship is offered by the Malaysian government  for attracting the best students to pursue advanced academic studies in the nation. Talented global students with outstanding academic as well as co-curricular backgrounds will apply for scholarships and further studies via this scholarship. Scholarship is divided into 2 categories of studies namely postgraduate and post-doctoral study programmes. 

Requirements: Applicants must not be more 45 years of age during application and must have a Second Class Upper/Honours or CGPA of 3.5/4 at bachelor’s or master’s degree level as well as, PhD candidates or a good result in master’s degree in the intended field of study for doctoral programmes. 

Procedure: For postdoctoral programmes, selection will be evaluated on basis of books produced, refereed/non-refereed journal publications apart from portfolio and patent copyrights. Post-doctoral students must have knowledge regarding the research that has to be carried out and obtained an English Proficiency Test not more than 2 years prior to the date of application. This includes IELTS Academic Test with score of at least 6.5 or TOEFL paper based test with score of a minimum of 580 or a computer based test with a score of around 230 or an internet based test with a score of 92. For attaining the scholarship, students need to be declared medically fit as well and write a proposal relevant to the needs and interests of Malaysian research based programmes. Students have applied for and gained admission to postgraduate as well as post-doctoral studies in the nation can apply for this scholarship. The government of Malaysia has reserved the right to review the value of awards at any specific time and whether such changes will impact the value of the scholarship. 

Selection Criteria: Applications will be considered as per the following selection criteria namely high level academic achievement as well as the quality of the research proposal and its contribution to the advancement of technological and human well being. Excellent communication as well as reading and writing skills are another prerequisite for attaining the scholarship.

Conditions of Award: Scholarship holders can undertake full time studies for postgraduate and postdoctoral studies at a Malaysian University campus. Scholarship holders must also confirm admission to the university and must not change their programme during the tenure of the scholarship.  Scholarship holders must follow approved programmes and adhere to the rules, regulations and codes of conduct.  Successful candidates must apply for and meet the requirements for issuing appropriate entry visa including medical examination. Offer of scholarship does not guarantee the granting of a visa. Scholarship holders must demonstrate progress and good standing stipulated by host university and degree programme or scholarship will be withdrawn. 

Scholarships are tenable in Malaysian universities and research should be carried out in Malaysia. These scholarship holders should not take any paid employment during the time of the tenure unless written approval from the host university. Applications have to be made online from the Ministry of Higher Education’s portal. 

Malaysian Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan

This is a plan awarded by the Malaysian government to nominated students from Commonwealth nations to pursue postgraduate programmes in Malaysia. This is essentially a Government to Government scheme without the imposition of the bond imposed by Malaysia. Award for Masters degree ranges from 12 to 24 months based on the courses. Awards for pursuing PhD degrees are for 3 years and are applicable for candidates pursuing full time degree programmes in Malaysia. 

Conclusion

Cost and financing structure of higher education studies in Malaysia is focused on ensuring maximum benefits for international students. Higher education courses in Malaysia are priced reasonably and there are many scholarship and sponsorship programmes for international students here.     
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