Here at MyUniZone HQ, we get many questions from students every day asking about how much the total cost is to study in Malaysia. Of course, there are many factors involved: tuition fees, visa and hostel fees, off campus housing, study materials, food, nightlife, and vacations. Luckily for students, Malaysia has the lowest cost of living in ASEAN, allowing students from all over the world get a high quality education without draining their parent’s bank accounts.

Without further ado, let’s break down the average cost of living for an international student in Malaysia.

University Tuition and Fees

The single largest cost for international students are their university tuition fees. According to the Malaysian Department of Higher Education, a Bachelor of Computer Science (Software Engineering) degree can range from $5,000 to $30,000 (RM20-120k)  total for a 3.5 year program, depending on the university.  This is far lower than in Western countries, where tuition fees can range from $10,000-$50,000 (RM40-200k) a year in countries like the US and Australia.

For new international students, the upfront costs will be slightly higher for your first semester, as you will have to pay some additional fees typically not charged to local students.

To give an example, here’s a breakdown of the first year cost for a Diploma in Mechanical Engineering at INTI University:

Therefore, it is important to put away some extra money to cover these additional costs so that the registration and enrollment process is not delayed. We also recommend using MyUniZone, which allows students to pay only 1 application fee of USD100 to apply to up to 5 universities.

Hostel & Housing

While new in Malaysia, most international students opt for campus hostels their first year, as they are unfamiliar with the new environment, and would prefer living next to campus at a designated university hostel. Most campus hostels have the basics: bed, table, wardrobe, and maybe a ceiling fan or air conditioning. There are also shared facilities such as bathroom, laundry area, convenience shop, and sometimes a small restaurant or useful shops.

These forms of accomodation tend to be on the higher end of the scale. INTI University’s cheapest hostel accommodation is a non air conditioned twin sharing room for RM1,320 a month, while its most expensive is a single room with air conditioning for RM2,820 a month.

On the other hand, off campus housing in a condominium or room in a landed property can be a more affordable option and easy to find once you’re settled into living in Malaysia. Depending on the type of room, furnishings, and features, a room in an off-campus condominium will range between RM500-1,500 or RM750 per month on average, including wifi and utilities. The cost is much more flexible here, as you can negotiate rent with the landlord or pick and find a room that suits you both your budget and your preferences the best. You also have more freedom, as there are no university rules to adhere to.

Average Cost per month: RM600 Rent + RM 150 Utilities = RM750

Day to Day Expenses (Food, Transport, Lifestyle)

The real savings begin in your day to day expenses. International students, especially coming from the Middle East, South Asia, or Southeast Asia, will find that Malaysia is a country where they can live a productive and enjoyable student life on a lower budget than even their home countries!


Malaysian cuisine is world renowned for elevating local ingredients and flavors into sumptuous dishes that are both delicious and affordable. Breakfast in Malaysia will only cost you between RM3-5 for dishes such as nasi lemak, roti canai, or bihun goreng. Lunch and Dinner at most Malaysian restaurants range from RM8-15 for staples like fried rice, Malaysian curries, or tandoori chicken and naan.

For more about Malaysian breakfast, read our previous blog What’s for Breakfast? 5 Morning Malaysian Delights.

Average Cost per month: RM800 for 3 meals a day


In terms of infrastructure, Malaysia has spent billions of ringgit over the last 3 decades building modern roads and highway systems, as well as public transportation including buses and trains. For international students, the most commonly used public transport is the Light Rail Train (LRT) in Kuala Lumpur. The LRT gets you to all of the major areas in KL that you would likely be visiting for the cost of RM2-5 per trip depending on your start/end points. There are also Rapid buses in KL, Penang, and Kuantan that go to many more locations in the city. With modern e-hailing, students can also use Grabcar (like Uber) to get from place to place. The cost will surely be higher, but there are plenty of drivers and is especially useful if public transport is closed.

Average Cost per month: RM150 if used daily


Malaysia’s beautiful terrain and plentiful attractions draw millions of tourists from around the world each year. Whether you’re an avid hiker, a coffee shop dweller, a beach fanatic, or just looking for a nice place to relax, Malaysia is a welcoming environment for students to enjoy. Since everyone has different interests, MyUniZone has compiled a list of different prices of common things international students spend on:

How much will an international student spend per month in Malaysia?

Drawing from the figures above, here is a breakdown of the average monthly expenses for an international student:

The total cost of living for an international student in Malaysia is roughly RM1,850 per month. This of course can fluctuate based on the type of accommodation you wish to stay in, the food you wish to eat, how often you use public transport, and how much you spend on leisurely activities. Nevertheless, compared to other countries, Malaysia is an affordable destination where students can get their degree while creating lifelong memories of their time abroad!