Study abroad in Costa Rica at cheap universities in Costa Rica for international students, admission requirements for various study levels, tuition fees, and amount it takes to live in the country for students and how to apply for a program.
But I think it’s going to be cool for you to know some facts about Costa Rica before we proceed.
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About Costa Rica
Costa Rica, with its Caribbean and Pacific coastlines, is a rough, rain-forested Central American country. Costa Rica is also known for its beaches, volcanoes, and biodiversity, and its capital, San Jose, is home to cultural institutions such as the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum.
The protected jungle, which is teeming with wildlife including spider monkeys and quetzal birds, makes up about a quarter of its territory.
Costa Rica, officially the Republic of Costa Rica, literally meaning ‘Rich Coast,’ borders Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the west, the Caribbean Sea to the east, and Ecuador to the south of the island of Cocos.
It has a population of approximately 4.5 million, of which almost a quarter live in the capital’s metropolitan area and the largest city, San José.
Higher Education in Costa Rica
One of the highest in Latin America, the literacy rate in Costa Rica is 96.3 percent. In 1949, when the army was disbanded, it was said that “army would be replaced with an army of teachers”
In the constitution, universal public education is guaranteed; primary education is compulsory, and both pre-school and high school are free.
A Costa Rican Bachillerato Diploma approved by the Costa Rican Ministry of Education is awarded to students who complete the 11th grade.
Both state and private universities exist. The title ‘Meritorious Institution of Costa Rican Education and Culture’ has been awarded to the University of Costa Rica.
Why You Should Study in Costa Rica
- Exposure to one of the world’s best supplied health care facilities.
- Low and affordable living costs
- Good Standards in Education.
- If you are from a country that uses English as its native language, learning in a foreign language, Spanish, is an opportunity.
Tuition Fees in Costa Rica
Compared to countries like the UK and USA, tuition fees are low and affordable. You are required to pay a tuition fee of around $1,500 for a session as an international student.
Cost of Living in Costa Rica for International Students
Of course, the cost of living depends on the place, lifestyle and spending habits of the person concerned. Yet Costa Rica is much cheaper and more convenient in many respects than other overseas destinations for advanced research.
For a single person, the minimum expected for a reasonable standard of living varies from $1,500 to $2,000 a month. At $2,000 to $3,000 a month, many retired couples do well.
Admission Requirements for Studying in Costa Rica
Requirements for admission differ from college to college. But there are some rhyme criteria and that is what I have mentioned below.
“Endeavour to visit any university you wish to apply for course specific requirements and tuition fees”
International students must be in possession of these documents with regard to study levels in order to be eligible to apply.
Undergraduate Minimum Admission Requirements
- secondary-level education certificate
- Identification and
- Proof of proficiency in Spanish
- Police record (not for all countries)
- Health insurance
- Birth certificate
Postgraduate (Masters) Minimum Admission Requirements
- Four-year bachelor‘s degree equivalent to Bachillerato universitario, Licenciatura;
- requires a minimum of 4 years of study.
- Minimum requirement overall (B-): 7.75
- Minimum requirement in the major (B+): 8.5
Doctoral Minimum Admission Requirements
- Master’s / graduate degree equivalent to Maestria, Especialidad professional
- Minimum requirement overall (B+); 8.5
Costa Rican Student Visa
If you are confident of your entry, and you have been offered a place to study at any university in Costa Rica, you will have to find out what sort of visa you will require, as it varies from country to country.
You will find that you do not need a visa at all in some cases; this is the case for residents of the United States, Canada, and the EU, as well as for those with a current visa for the United States, Canada, Japan or the EU as a whole.
Necessary documents needed include;
- Certificate of health insurance
- Letter of admission from University
- Certificate of former Education
- Passport photograph
- Certificate of Birth
More information on obtaining a Costa Rican student visa for your preferred institution or embassy is recommended.
Cheap Universities in Costa Rica
1. University for Peace
With the help of the United Nations General Assembly, the University for Peace (UPEACE) was founded in 1980. The honorary president is actually Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary-General.
The focus of the university is on peace, international law, gender, education and the environment. They look for students who want to make a contribution to global change and development.
In Costa Rica, this cheap university is primarily for those who have a bachelor’s degree and want to pursue their studies. It has four departments: environment and development, international law, regional studies and studies on peace and conflict resolution.
In 10 distinct fields, they offer master’s degrees. They also have specializations, doctoral degree programs, undergraduate student opportunities, and joint and dual degrees in affiliation with other universities. In both English and Spanish, their programs are available.
The process of applying is absolutely done online. Although they don’t need a particular GPA or job experience, prospective students need to show academic excellence. They will have to prove prior job experience or interest in the field they want to pursue.
Fees for tuition depend on the program. Doctoral tuition fees, for instance, are USD 12,000 a year. Depending on the needs and academic success of candidates, they also provide grants and financial assistance. A tuition waiver that goes from 30 percent to 100 percent can be received. So you will make this university one of the most accessible universities in Costa Rica with these scholarships!
There is also a distance program in the Modern World offering short courses and a Master of Arts in Sustainable Peace. To learn more, search their admissions page!
2. Latin American University of Science and Technology (ULACIT)
Brought into existence in 1987, the Latin American University of Science and Technology (ULACIT) has a great reputation in the nation. It is the best private university in Central America, according to the QS World University Ranking.
There are seven faculties that offer bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. Bachillerato diplomas are also offered. There are 54 programs for bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and 17 doctoral programs.
This cheap university in Costa Rica is entirely bilingual, meaning that although many of the programs are in Spanish, there is English for study, workshops, projects, and bibliography. In English, there are also degree programs, and the BELT exam must be taken by all students who are not native English speakers.
The assessment system is based on a theory of “100 percent projects, 0 percent exams,” meaning that instead of relying solely on memory, they concentrate on projects, problem solving, simulations, and other techniques.
It has six modern chemistry laboratories, simulations, occupational health, a court room, and a practice chamber. It also has a room where students can complete video, audio, and photography projects called Free Web Radio. They are working on opening a TV channel and a radio station at the moment.
Instead of semesters, classes are split into four-month cycles and the expenses are separated by course. So, tuition fees depend on the major and the time you are going to be studying for. The first four-month cycle in chemical engineering, for instance, costs about USD 2,200 and the entire curriculum (ten four-month periods) costs USD 20,999.
3. The Technological Institute of Costa Rica (TEC)
The Technical Institute of Costa Rica (TEC) was founded in 1971 and has two campuses: the main one in Cartago, and the second one in San Carlos.
There are 34 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs, 3 PhD programs, and 18 technical programs.
Three laboratories (experimental economy, scientific hygiene, and microscopy), five academic centers and 10 research centers are part of their services.
There is a train, bus, and bicycle service for students and staff on the main campus of this cheap university in Costa Rica. Both campuses have residencies that provide scholarships for all students who need or do not stay near the campuses in need of financial assistance.
Programs are divided into blocks there. According to the cost of the loans, tuition payments are determined. So for instance, physical engineering is split into 10 six-monthly blocks. Each credit costs CRC 24,870 (around USD 43) and the first physical engineering block has 13 credits. Students would have to pay an enrollment fee of 40,060 CRCC (around 70 USD). This means that it would cost 363,370 CRCCC for the first physical engineering semester (around 650 USD). TEC affordable tuition fee makes it one of the cheapest universities in Costa Rica!
Visit their admissions page to learn more about the entrance test and document requirements! Note, to choose your favorite language in the upper bar.
4. Veritas University
Veritas University was established in 1994 after the merger of two universities: the Veritas Collegium and the Business Administration Technical Institute (ITAN). It specializes in the fields of sculpture, architecture and design. It is also part of the LCI Education Network, which has its own base and specializes in design as well.
It offers bachelor’s degrees in art, digital animation, film and TV, interior design, architecture, and advertisement design.
It also offers an international fashion design program, an undergraduate degree in product design, professional programs, specializations, and seminars.
On their website, the admissions process is clarified but is close to what was already explained above. There is a choice for international students to transfer to Veritas, so contact the university to see which credits qualify for revalidation.
It has a special program for foreign students, but it does not have residences. Local families who live near the university will stay with them.
Tuition fees are about USD 5,000 annually. They have funding options for you to pay in a few instalments, and the student with the highest grades gets an honorary scholarship.
5. INCAE Business School
In the Latin American area and worldwide, the INCAE Business School has a great reputation. It was ranked in The Wall Street Journal’s top 10 business school rankings, as well as in The Financial Times’ top MBA program rankings.
It has two campuses, one in Costa Rica and one in Nicaragua. They introduce the “Harvard Case Study Method” in which actual business problems are concentrated in classes. INCAE uses the past and present circumstances learned at Harvard, but also incorporates some of them from Latin American industries.
INCAE provides numerous Master’s in Business Administration programs with an emphasis on Latin America and a global perspective. With affiliated universities around the world, they also have dual degrees.
In addition, INCAE has specializations, seminars and workshops.
Tuition fees also cover lodging and food, in addition to academic costs, so students are required to live on campus. The business school has grants and services of financial support that can pay up to 70% of the expenses. INCAE Business School is one of the low-cost universities in Costa Rica with these scholarships.
Check the admissions section to learn more about the entrance exam and document specifications.
6. St. Paula University
This institution was founded in 1994 with the aim of addressing the situation of various fields that required more professionals. It specializes in the area of wellness and awards bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
It has six audiology, physical therapy, language therapy, respiratory therapy, occupational therapy, and emergency and rescue care pre-hospital schools.
It has a publishing house, in addition to laboratories and research centers. There are various centers where medical procedures and community service must be performed by students.
Tuition fees are roughly USD 1,000. The university has the option of transferring from other universities, so if you want to confirm credits from your country’s university, contact them. In order to learn more, search their website and don’t forget to pick your favorite language in the upper right corner.
7. Earth University
The University was established in 1986 to help young people from all over the world contribute to sustainable development and create productive societies. It was founded as a private university with the help of the Costa Rican government, W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Department for International Development of the United States (USAID).
It’s got two campuses. The largest one is 8,342 acres and has labs, leisure and sports facilities, homes, banana commercial planting, academic farms, woodland reserves, and reforested areas.
In Guanacaste, the second campus is located. It occupies 3,700 acres and provides publicly available workshops in fields such as green energy and sustainable agriculture. On this campus, third-year students must complete a 7-week internship.
Education at this cheap Panamanian university focuses on four areas: understanding and contribution to social and environmental problems, business ethics, science and technological knowledge, and importance and personal growth.
436 students from 36 nations are active in the student body. More than half are from rural areas.
The university focuses on the area of agricultural sciences and awards an agricultural engineering degree.
List of Cheap Universities in Costa Rica for International Students
Public Universities in Costa Rica
- Instituto Tecnológico de Costa Rica (TEC, Costa Rica Institute of Technology)
- Universidad de Costa Rica (University of Costa Rica)
- Universidad Estatal a Distancia (UNED, Distance State University)
- Universidad Nacional (UNA, National University)
- National Technical University
Private Universities in Costa Rica
- UAM (Universidad Americana)
- Universidad CENFOTEC (Universidad Centro de Formación en Technologist de Information y Comunicación / U CENFOTEC)
- UCIMED (Universidad de Ciencias Medicas)
- Universidad Cristiana del Sur
- Universidad Empresarial de Costa Rica (UNEM)
- Universidad Hispanoamerica
- Universidad Latina
- Universidad San Juan de la Cruz (SJDLC)
- University for Peace