Living Costs in Russia

Russia is considered to be one of the most attractive study destinations for international students. Being a member of the European Higher Education Area, Russian universities apply dynamic and progressive Western-oriented models of higher education. There are more than 600 state universities and private higher educational establishments in Russia, with 48 of them being placed within the EECA top 150, and with 5 of them being listed among top 400 universities worldwide.

One of the biggest benefits for international students who want to study in Russia are tuition fees and living costs. On average, tuition fees can vary from $2,000 to $8,000 a year, with extra costs to ensure comfortable environment to live and study. Generally, living expenses in Russia are lower than in most European countries, though they can be higher in Moscow and St. Petersburg in comparison with other Russian cities. By contrast, cost of living in Moscow is 18% higher than in St. Petersburg.

Living expenses for foreign students usually include:

  • Accommodation

Most Russian universities provide hostels and halls of residence for international students. Hostel accommodation costs are much lower than off-campus living, especially in Moscow, where living costs are the highest among all Russian cities. A reasonable option is to share an apartment with other international students or live in a homestay.

  • Food

Food expenses depend mainly on one’s eating habits. A variety of food and drinks at reasonable prices are available in university canteens. Students who prefer to cook meals themselves or eat out may bear extra expenses. If you are a gourmet and enjoy scouting around for Western brands, the cost of living in Russia, especially in Moscow, will be quite high.

  • Transportation

Living costs in big cities, such as Moscow and St. Petersburg, imply expenditure on public transport. Local students usually use monthly passes. Expenses on public transport passes in St. Petersburg and Moscow vary from $23 to $28 per month.

  • Healthcare

Foreign students who come to study in Russia are encouraged to buy medical insurance policies. Prices depend on the range of medical services included. They can cover both inpatient and outpatient treatment, diagnostics, drug treatment, medical evacuation to the native country, and others.

  • Other expenses

Other living costs include monthly utilities (for students living privately), sports and leisure, clothing, visa prolongation, phone and Internet services.

Below you can see average estimated living costs for international students in Russia.

Living costs Avg. (USD per month)*


Off-campus living




Food 150-200

Monthly pass



Healthcare 130-600
Monthly utilities 92
Sports and leisure:

Fitness club (monthly fee)

Cinema ticket




Clothing 65-260

*This data can vary depending on a student’s lifestyle and is based on entries across all Russian cities. Last update: January 2016

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