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7 Affordable Universities in the Philippines 2021-2022

The Philippines is a beautiful island country in Southeast Asia made up of more than 7,000 islands, many of which humans have never set foot on. The country has emerged as a leader in education, due in part to significant investment in the public school and university system. In fact, the Philippines now boasts one of the highest literacy rates in all of Asia.

In addition to supporting local students, the Philippines is also a very attractive destination for international students looking to study abroad in a tropical and diverse country. The universities in the Philippines offer very low tuition rates, teach primarily in English, and charge small fees for international students. On top of that, many offer a wide array of scholarship opportunities to domestic and international students alike.

Whether you are looking to study abroad as an undergraduate or thinking about continuing your education as a graduate student, these universities in the Philippines offer cheap and valuable learning experiences that will satisfy both the academic and the traveler within you.

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Cheap Universities in the Philippines for International Students

1. Polytechnic University of the Philippines

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Founded in 1904 as the Manila Business School as part of Manila’s public school system, the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) is the largest state university in the Philippines with over 70,000 enrolled students. This means that international students attending PUP will experience larger class sizes than they may be used to with an average of 40-50 students attending each class.

However, Polytechnic University of the Philippines is known for having the lowest tuition rates throughout the Philippines. In fact, as a state school, domestic students can actually attend PUP without paying any tuition, just their miscellaneous fees. While this option is not available for international students, the low cost of tuition and fees makes PUP an attractive destination for international scholars on a budget.

PUP is primarily known for its education and business programs offered to both graduate students and undergraduates. The university also offers a wide variety of other degrees, including those in the humanities, natural sciences, and computer sciences.

2. University of Santo Tomas

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Located in Manila, The University of Santo Tomas (UST) is another affordable private research university that was originally founded way back in 1611, making it the oldest university in the Philippines and in all of Asia. With a student body of over 40,000 students, it is also one of the largest Catholic universities in the entire world.

UST is one of the preeminent universities in the Philippines. Alumni of UST have gone on to hold significant positions within the Catholic Church (including 11 saints), high-level government positions (including 4 presidents of the Philippines), and some have even become billionaires. UST also boasts some of the most successful athletic programs in the country holding 44 championship titles.

UST is no stranger to international students. In 2018, there were 371 foreign students on campus, mostly from other Asian countries. Students at UST have access to 65 undergraduate and 40 graduate degree programs.

3. Ateneo de Manila University

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Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) is a private, Jesuit research university located in Quezon City, the most populous city in the Philippines with nearly 3 million residents. The Society of Jesus established the school in 1859, making it the second oldest Jesuit university in Asia.

ADMU is one of the most well-regarded schools in the country, and thus, admission is highly selective. However, students at ADMU are treated to an exceptionally well-rounded curriculum that emphasizes the humanities at all levels of study.

Among the academic programs offered by ADMU are 48 undergraduate degrees and 93 different graduate degrees. Graduate programs are offered by the university’s acclaimed Ateneo Law School, the Graduate School of Business, and the School of Medicine and Public Health, among other departments. International students will also enjoy over 50 student organizations accredited by ADMU.

4. Silliman University

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Silliman University is a private research university located in the city of Dumaguete, which is also home to four other universities, meaning international students will be in good company. Established in 1901, it is the first university in the Philippines to be established by American Protestants.

Silliman University is an affordable university in the Philippines currently enrolling over 10,000 students from over 53 countries making it a perfect destination for international students looking for a community abroad. In fact, in a review of international students conducted by Quacquarelli Symonds, Silliman ranked in the top 150 universities in Asia.

Academic programs at Silliman range from humanities, business administration, and computer studies to agronomy, education, and law. In addition to the many undergraduate and graduate academic programs offered by Silliman, the university is also a regional leader in research and community outreach. Among many other projects, Silliman has been a leader in environmental and marine sciences, establishing 20 marine protected areas and aiding the development of 61 others throughout the Philippines.

5. De La Salle University

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Known simply as La Salle, De La Salle University is a private, Catholic university in the heart of the Philippine capital Manila. Originally known as De La Salle College, La Salle officially became a university in 1975. The university offers students over a hundred undergraduate and graduate degree programs, specializing in business, computer studies, economics, and education. While it may not be the cheapest school in the country, La Salle has plenty of scholarship opportunities even for international students.

La Salle is also the first university in the country to offer a degree in Mechatronics and Robotics. In fact, both of the only two solar cars in the Philippines were developed by La Salle’s engineering faculty and students.

Located in the bustling city of Manila and in the vicinity of many other major universities, international students attending this affordable university in the Philippines will have a large community to explore just outside of campus. The university also offers a ton of extracurricular opportunities, particularly in the performing arts.

6. Mapua University

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Mapua University (MU), one of the cheapest universities in the Philippines, is a private research university located in Intramuros, a walled city within Manila. The university also has campuses in Manila and Makati. Founded in 1925 by the first official Filipino architect, Tomas Mapua, MU is primarily known for its exceptional Civil Engineering program.

MU is also a pioneer in the Philippines in the area of robotics. The Mapua Robotics Team has been granted numerous contracts with the Philippine Navy, the Department of Science and Technology, as well as the Philippine National Police. These projects have primarily focused on modernizing the weaponry and equipment used by the Philippine government.

With a student body of nearly 16,000 students, international students will find rich student life at Mapua University. In addition, the university’s Office of International Career & Exchange Programs provides strong support for international students’ academic, social, and cultural needs.

7. University of Asia and the Pacific

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Originally founded as a private think-tank in 1967, The University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P) is located in Pasig City. Due to its history as a think-tank, UA&P specializes in producing high-quality business and economics research at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

This cheap university in the Philippines offers 15 undergraduate degrees and 11 graduate degrees. International students studying at UA&P will receive a rigorous research-focused education in disciplines ranging from marketing communications to applied mathematics, as well as in the humanities, education, and information technology.

UA&P offers a strong support system and a variety of programs that international students can take advantage of. These include exchange programs, the university’s International Pathways programs, and a number of international university partnerships with schools throughout Asia, Europe, and Latin America.

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