Spain has become one of the most popular international study destinations. Everyone knows about Spain’s wonderful weather, beaches, food and drink, nightlife, culture, and history, but it’s the combination of high Spanish Universities Ranking and low living and tuition costs that really sets Spain apart.

Universities in Spain: Ranking vs Cost

It is not simply a case of finding your ideal course in the location of your dreams. You also need to weigh up factors such as academic reputation, citations per faculty, faculty-student ratio, diversity, and employer reputation. Luckily there are various websites which do this for you and provide comprehensive assessments of Global and Spanish Universities Rankings.

The two most well-known Global and Spanish universities ranking sites are Quacquarelli Symonds and Times Higher Education. If we take a look at the 2021 global university rankings we see that the highest spots are taken by US universities, closely followed by universities from the UK, Switzerland, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Australia, and China.

These universities all offer renowned courses, but they come with hefty price tags!

Spanish Universities Ranking vs Cost

Spanish Universities: Value for money and student satisfaction

When Spanish universities’ cost and overall value for money are taken into account, universities in Spain can out-rank all other universities. Student satisfaction is arguably the most important consideration and it is in this area that Spanish universities perform extremely well.

The 2021 Numbeo Quality of Life Index classified Spain as enjoying a “Very High Quality of Life”, taking into account factors such as purchasing power, safety, healthcare, climate, cost of living, pollution, and property price to income.

Spanish Universities: High quality of life and education

Spain is passionate and proud of its high standards of education up and down the country. International students studying in Spain enjoy first-rate courses with excellent career prospects at low cost.

Spanish universities’ tuition fees and living costs are significantly cheaper than, for example, US, UK, Australian, Canadian, French, Chinese, Japanese, or Swiss tuition fees and living costs.

Universities in Madrid and Barcelona

When it comes to choosing a Spanish university, there are 76 to select from. The highest-ranking Spanish universities are currently located in Spain’s two major cities, Madrid and Barcelona.

The top spots in the QS and Times Higher Education 2021 rankings for Spanish universities went to Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Universitat de Barcelona, Complutense Universidad de Madrid, and Universidad Autónoma de Madrid.

Weighing up Spanish universities ranking vs cost, we should be aware that living costs are higher in the big cities. Using the Expatisan website we can see for 2021 that, for example, the cost of living in Madrid is 27% more expensive than in Almería and Granada and 30% more expensive than in Murcia.

Spanish Universities Ranking vs Cost

High Spanish Universities Rankings outside of Madrid and Barcelona

The universities in the higher Spanish universities rankings located outside of Madrid and Barcelona are the University of Navarra, IE University in Segovia, UPV in Valencia, University of Granada, University of Seville, University of Zaragoza, University of Valencia, University of Santiago de Compostela, University of the Basque Country, and University of Salamanca.

All of these universities rank in the top 20 of best universities in Spain and all offer lower living costs than in Madrid or Barcelona. Generally, Spanish towns and cities in the south of Spain (Granada, Seville…) enjoy lower living costs than in the north.

The last factor we need to bear in mind when assessing Spanish universities ranking vs cost is that public universities in Spain are considerably more economical than private universities in Spain.

Average tuition fees at public universities are around €500-€1,000 per year whereas tuition fees at private universities are around €15,000-€20,000 per year. There are 31 private universities in Spain and 46 public universities.