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Press Release
VANCOUVER, Sept. 10, 2014--(CNW)--

International study is expensive: weigh costs against quality

Canada NewsWire

- HSBC survey ranks Canada 4th overall in quality of education, 6th overall in costs


VANCOUVER, Sept. 10, 2014 /CNW/ - Education has never been more expensive, or more highly valued. According to the latest report from HSBC, The Value of Education: Springboard for success, nearly three quarters (74%) of parents around the world would consider sending their child abroad for a better university education, and half (51%) globally rank the USA as providing the highest quality of education,  followed by the UK (38%), Australia (25%) and Canada (20%).

The average cost of a university undergraduate education for an international student in Canada is nearly US$30,000. By comparison, a Canadian student will pay, on average, over US$36,000 per year to study in the USA, and US$42,000 a year to study in Australia1.

The report, which surveyed over 4,500 parents in 15 countries, suggests that parents recognise the value of a good education, but too many are still financially underprepared. Some 89% of parents across 15 countries said that they wanted their children to go to university, but 51% globally (32% in Canada) also wished they had started saving earlier for their child's education.

Planning to study internationally also requires a holistic analysis of costs and benefits - tuition, books, rent, food and transportation must be weighed alongside quality of education and liveability. When asked to identify their top three countries based on quality of education, respondents chose the USA, the UK and Australia. Those same countries also happened to feature the highest overall costs per year. While Canada ranked 4th in terms of quality of education, it ranked 6th in terms of cost, which suggests good value for money.

Betty Miao, Executive Vice President, Retail Banking and Wealth Management, HSBC Bank Canada, said: "Parents send their children to school internationally to acquire new languages, build international experience, and foster independence and self-reliance. Because parents often fund the bulk of their children's education, they are keen to make the best available choice in order to provide their children with a competitive advantage to position them for better career opportunities."

While only 20% of global respondents ranked Canada tops in terms of quality of education, stats from the Canadian Bureau of International Education show that we rank as the 7th most popular international student destination and our international student population has nearly doubled over the course of a decade (136,000 in 2001 to 265,000 in 2012).

As most universities are located in Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec, this is also where you'll find most international students (79%). Nearly two-thirds of all international students in Canada hail from five countries: China, India, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and the USA.

Country University
fees per
year (US$)
Cost of
per year
costs per
Quality of
% who rank
country in top
3 for quality
of education
Australia $24,081 $18,012 $42,093 1 3 25
Singapore $18,937 $20,292 $39,229 2 6= 10
United States $24,914 $11,651 $36,564 3 1 51
United Kingdom $21,365 $13,680 $35,045 4 2 38
Hong Kong $13,444 $18,696 $32,140 5 7 6
Canada $16,746 $13,201 $29,947 6 4 20
France $247 $16,530 $16,777 7 6= 10
Malaysia $2,453 $10,488 $12,941 8 9 3
Indonesia $4,378 $8,527 $12,905 9 11= 1
Brazil $59 $12,569 $12,627 10 11= 1
Taiwan $3,338 $8,573 $11,911 11 10 2
Turkey $1,276 $10,089 $11,365 12 11= 1
China $3,844 $6,886 $10,729 13 5 13
Mexico $750 $8,710 $9,460 14 11= 1
India $581 $5,062 $5,642 15 8 5

About HSBC Bank Canada
HSBC Bank Canada, a subsidiary of HSBC Holdings plc, is the leading international bank in Canada. The HSBC Group serves customers worldwide from over 6,200 offices in 74 countries and territories in Europe, Asia, North and Latin America, and the Middle East and North Africa. With assets of US$2,754bn at 30 June 2014, HSBC is one of the world's largest banking and financial services organizations.

Notes to editors
1. The annual cost of living for international students is calculated based on the average of cost of living in the cities where the universities are located. Annual cost of living data for individual cities are sourced from the Expatistan website (

The 15 countries in the league table are those surveyed in The Value of Education: Springboard for success (see below).

The annual university fee for each country is calculated based on the average annual fee for an undergraduate international student studying at one of the 10 largest public universities in each country, where available. Annual fees data for each university are either sourced from the university website, by phone via their admissions departments or from other credible websites. Public universities are at least partly funded by the state or government, unlike private universities which are commercially funded.

The annual cost of living for international students in each country is based on the average cost of living in the cities where the top 10 universities are located. Cost of living data for individual cities are sourced from the Expatistan website ( and calculated as a percentage variance from the cost of living in London. The cost of living for each country is calculated by taking the average variance of all 10 cities.

The annual total cost for international students in each country is the sum of the average annual university fee and the average annual cost of living.

The quality of education rankings are taken from The Value of Education: Springboard for success p.21. Parents were asked to say which 3 countries offer the highest quality education (all levels) from a list of 51 countries (including their home country). The quality rankings show the sequence of the 15 surveyed countries in the list of 51 countries.

The Value of Education is a global consumer research study which explores parents' attitudes and behaviours towards children's education. The first report, Springboard for success, represents the views of 4592 parents in 15 countries around the world: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Singapore, Taiwan, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States.

The survey was conducted online in December 2013 and January 2014, among parents who have at least one child under the age of 23 currently (or soon to be) in education, and who are solely or partially responsible for making decisions about their child's education. This independent research study was commissioned by HSBC and carried out by Ipsos MORI. The Value of Education global report was published in April and is available on > Retail Banking and Wealth Management.


Image with caption: "HSBC Bank Canada - Infographic (CNW Group/HSBC Bank Canada)". Image available at:

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