Study abroad in Philippines, Universities, Programs, Fee, Scholarship Guide 2019

Study abroad in Philippines

Every year thousands of Indian students move abroad to pursue their higher studies. However, deciding the country for college education is not easy. Hence, students look at multiple factors before they zero in on the country most suitable for them to get a degree. A lot of Indian students are now taking to study abroad in the Philippines as it is a suitable country in many ways.

The Philippines has gradually emerged as one of the most desired destinations for higher studies by international students. Foreign students choose the Philippines due to the world-class education that it has to offer. The country has numerous renowned colleges and universities which make it an attractive alternative to the European countries, USA, Canada and other western countries.

Also, the country is known for its scenic beauty in the form of its islands, beaches, mountains, rainforests, heritage towns etc. Studying abroad in the Philippines is thus, a complete package in different ways for students.

Why study in Philippines?

Following are the reasons for the foreign students to choose the Philippines for their higher studies:

Prestigious higher educational institutions: The Philippines government places considerable amount of emphasis on education, which is reflected in the country’s literacy rate of over 90%. The universities and colleges follow the US system of higher education which is why foreign students choose the Philippines. Some of the universities are known world over for their quality education and getting entry into these is pretty tough.

The higher education institutes (HEIs) in the Philippines are under the regulation and administration of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED). There is a classification of HEIs in the Philippines. An HEI in the Philippines can be a college or a university and may be either private or public. The public universities are further classified into State University and College (SUC) and Local College and University (SUC).

In 2017, a total of 1,943 HEIs were recorded in the Philippines. Out of this, 1,710 were private universities and 233 were SUCs.

Accredited institutes: Most of the colleges and universities of the Philippines are accredited by esteemed bodies. Accreditation may be obtained for the whole institute or a specific course.

The private sector institutes are accredited with:

  • The Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (PAASCU)
  • The Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities’ Commission on Accreditation (PACUCOA)
  • Association of Christian Schools, Colleges and Universities Accrediting Association Inc.(ACSCU-AAI)

The public sector institutes are accredited with:

  • Accredited Agency of Chartered Colleges and Universities in the Philippines (AACCUP)
  • Association of Local Colleges and Universities Commission on Accreditation (ALCUCOA)
  • PAASCU and AACUP are prominent members of the Asia Pacific Quality Network
  • (APQN) and International Network of Quality Assurance Agencies for Higher Education (INQAAHE)

Multicultural: The Philippines is situated in Southeast Asia and has a very interesting mix of culture. The country has been under Spanish and American rule for a very long period of time. However, the people have never forgotten their Eastern roots. The influence of Western culture on people is quite visible but they are attached to their own indigenous culture too. Hence, the country has a blend of Western and Eastern culture.

Official language is English: English is the official language of the Philippines. This is a big advantage for foreign students as mostly Asian countries offer courses in their own regional language. On the contrary, the people of the Philippines are very fluent in English which makes interaction with them easier. Understanding the culture of the Philippines and adjusting there also becomes easy.

Affordable living costs: The Philippines is the only country that offers higher education of US-standards at affordable tuition fee. The quality of education offered in the country is very high and the fee payable for the same is very low in comparison to the Western countries. Additionally, the cost of living in the country is also not very high. The accommodation, food and recreational activities in the country do not cost much. Thus, there is very less financial burden on international students when they study in the Philippines.

Top places to study in Philippines

The topmost cities that are a hub for higher education in the Philippines are:

Manila: This is the capital city of the Philippines. The city is home to some of the country’s most renowned colleges and universities.

Baguio: This city is known as the summer capital of the Philippines. It is also the center of education in the state of Northern Luzon and has around 30 colleges and universities.

Dumaguete: It is the capital of the state of Negros Oriental and is known as the University town of this state as four major universities of the Philippines are located here. The most popular university situated in Dumaguete is Silliman University. The total number of colleges and universities are situated in this city are 15.

Los Banos: This city has a total of 5 universities and colleges, the most popular one being the University of the Philippines Los Banos. The city is popular for its hot springs.

Naga: This city is the cultural and business centre of the Bicol region. It has 6 very prestigious universities, Ateneo De Naga University being one of them.

Dasmarinas: This is a very popular city due to its proximity to the capital city of Manila. Dasmarinas has a total of 21 colleges and universities.

Lipa: Lipa is an upcoming educational center of Batangas region. One of the premier Universities of the city is Batangas State University.

Bacolod: There are 21 colleges and universities in Bacolod and is popular for the MassKara festival held there.

Cagayan de Oro: This is a very vibrant city of the Northern Mindanao region Davao. It has a total of 9 colleges and universities. The most popular university here is Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan, which is very popular for its law school.

Davao: This is the business hub for Mindanao region and is home to BPOs and IT companies. The educational institutes of this city are considered to be the best in the Philippines. There are 33 universities and colleges in Davao.

Cebu: This is the second most important city of the Philippines after Manila and houses 37 universities and colleges. It is the educational centre for Visayas region.

Top Universities in Philippines

The Philippines is home to many prestigious universities and colleges. The topmost of these are:

  • University of the Philippines
  • Central Luzon State University
  • Maritime Academy of Asia and the Pacific
  • De La Salle University
  • University of San Carlos
  • Saniku Gakuin College

Apart from the above, the following are also very reputed:

  • Ateneo de Davao University
  • Ateneo de Manila University
  • Far Eastern University
  • Lyceum of the Philippines University
  • Mapua University
  • Mindanao State University
  • Silliman University
  • St. Paul University
  • University of Mindanao
  • University of San Carlos
  • University of Santo Tomas

Top courses to study in Philippines

Students applying for higher education in the Philippines may choose from a range of disciplines. While Philippines surely has its share of some of the best universities which offer specialized courses in a number of disciplines, it is always advantageous to know which ones are the best that the country has to offer. So, check out the following popular courses in the Philippines which thousands of students apply to every academic year:

  • Aviation, Aircraft/Aeronautics Operations or Engineering
  • Commerce or Economics
  • Civil Engineering
  • Computer Science/Programming
  • Medical and healthcare
  • Management Studies
  • Languages
  • Humanities Studies

Eligibility to study in Philippines

Every country offers its own set of specialized courses which attracts students from all over the world. However, it would be a messy affair if there was no bar on the admission criteria of students. While the eligibility criteria of the students applying in their respective fields differs from field to field and university to university, there are a few nationally recognized eligibility requirements that the students need to adhere to in order for their application to be valid. It is important to know that the higher education system in the Philippines is governed by mainly three bodies: the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) for tertiary and higher education, the Department of Education (DepEd) for basic education, and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) for technical-vocational and mid-level education.

Every university has program-specific requirements. However, following are the overarching requirements that every applicant needs to adhere to:

  • Duly completed and filled application form.
  • The whole application fee.
  • All results of university admission examinations.
  • Letter(s) of recommendation from the last school/university attended.
  • Five copies of the Student’s Personal History Statement (PHS) duly signed in English as well as the applicant’s national language along with a personal seal, if any. The same should contain, among others, both left and right thumbprints of the applicant.
  • A 2×2 inch photograph taken against a plain white background, not more than six months prior to submission.
  • A document which proves that the applicant will be able to sustain their tuition, and accommodation in the Philippines- notarized affidavit of support including bank statements or notarized notice of any scholarship grant for institutional scholars to cover expenses for the accommodation and sustenance along with school dues and other incidental expenses.
  • Transcript of any Records/ Scholastic Records duly authenticated by the Philippine Foreign Service Post located in the applicant’s country of origin or legal/current residence; and
  • The data page of the passport which shows the date and place of birth, authenticated by the Philippine Foreign Service Post.

Education cost to study in Philippines

As mentioned earlier, the cost of studying in the Philippines is lower as compared to other international education destinations preferred by students worldwide. The cost of study in Philippines is hard to estimate on an average as the country offers a plethora of disciplines of study for the students. The tuition fees differ from university to university as well as from course to course. Universities have their own respective fee structures which vary from program to program, but expect to pay an average of US$1,000 per year when studying at public universities and US$1,200 to 2,500 if you are studying in a private institution. However, the top courses mentioned above offer an average estimate of the cost to study in the Philippines which helps students make a guess about the tuition fees:

Course Name Average Fees (in ₱)
Aviation, Aircraft/Aeronautics Operations or Engineering ₱60,000-₱355,000
Commerce or Economics ₱60,000-225,000
Civil Engineering ₱40,000-₱225,000
Computer Science/ Engineering ₱60,000 -₱180,000
Medical and Healthcare ₱40,000 – ₱120,000

The tuition fees mentioned above cover the lowest and highest of the range of the top universities in Philippines offering the respective courses. They may differ and change every academic year or subject to any specific national or university guidelines. It is advised that the applicants check the respective websites of the universities they are applying to ascertain the precise tuition fees.

Documents required for visa process for admission in Philippines

As stated by the authorities of the Embassy of Philippines, the students applying for a student’s visa in the Philippines should be at least 18 years of age and apply for access to the country solely for the purpose of acquiring the respective degree for which their application has been duly accepted by the university in Philippines. They will also be required to prove their financial ability to sustain themselves in the Philippines along with proof of duly paid admission fees or a scholarship/grant document which pays for the same.

The university, after acceptance of the application of the student’s admission, will forward the application package to the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) for a mandatory approval. On the approval of the CHED, the application package is further forwarded to the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation (BID) by CHED being sent to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA). It is the DFA who will inform the Philippine Embassy for issuing the student’s visa. It is only then that the student will receive a confirmation from the Embassy.

Following are some mandatory documents necessary for clearance of the student’s visa for Philippines.

  1. The student must be personally present during the application.
  2. Two original copies of the application form as submitted to the university.
  3. Original passport which should be valid for at least six months beyond the requested period of stay in the country.
  4. Two copies of recent photographs.
  5. The original and one photocopy of the student’s birth certificate, verified and authenticated by the Embassy of the Philippines.
  6. An original and a photocopy of an affidavit of support signed by parent/s or legal guardian. This also has to be authenticated at the Embassy of the Philippines.
  7. Two photocopies of the parent or guardian’s passport data page.
  8. One original and one photocopy of the transcript of records, also authenticated at the Embassy of the Philippines.
  9. The original and the photocopy of certificate of good moral character of the student (authenticated at the Embassy of the Philippines).
  10. The original copy and one photocopy of police certificate (authenticated by the Embassy of the Philippines).
  11. Both original and one photocopy of medical examination reports. This should include an X-ray film contained in an envelope, also authenticated at the Embassy of the Philippines.
  12. Personal History Statement forms from the previous concerned school.
  13. The original and the photocopy of the list of student’s possible contact persons in the Philippines.
  14. Payment of INR. 16,000 for the visa application (subject to change periodically), payable by demand draft, addressed to the Embassy of the Philippines.

Admission process for study in Philippines

It is of prime importance that the student pays attention to every detail as mentioned by the university in Philippines that they are applying to as well as the Embassy guidelines for the visa. Even if the admission application is accepted, without a visa grant, the admission is bound to be cancelled. So, here are the step by step admission process that every student applying in Philippines for higher studies needs to follow:

  • The right admission process always starts with reading the prospectus carefully so as to follow the instructions without fail and to avoid mistakes in the later part of the application process.
  • Make sure you are in direct contact with the university regarding any help that you may require in the process of filling the form or paying the application fees. Every university generally has a helpline to help applicants out.
  • Next, after submitting the application form and the application fee to the university via bank transfer (or as specified by the university), you will have to wait to find out if your application was accepted by the university.
  • During the application, you will be asked to provide certain documents as specified by the university and as required for the respective field of study that you are applying for. Make sure you have all those ready without fail.
  • If your application is accepted and your admission is granted by the university, it is time to get the visa application started, the steps for which have been stated above.
  • Pay the tuition fees or provide the scholarship grant documents to the university directly, or as specified by the respective authority.
  • After completing the visa application duly, you will officially be eligible to pursue your degree in the Philippines.
  • If you need accommodation within the campus, make sure you apply for the same within time as most of it is first-come-first-serve, however, international students are given priority for the same.
  • Make sure you apply for the student visa on the first go to avoid the later hassle of the conversion of the visa which is a lengthy and a rather complicated process.

Qualifying Exams to study in the Philippines

There are no national qualifying exams to study in the Philippines. Based on the university and the stream you are applying for, you may be required to sit for admission exams, but that is subjective to the respective university. Most universities accept the academic transcript relevant to your stream of study from the previous school/university attended. A majority of the courses in the Philippines’ universities are taught in English. If you are not from an English-speaking nation, you will be required to provide a TOEFL/IELTS certificate to prove your proficiency in English.

Scholarships available for study in the Philippines

A number of scholarships are provided to international students to encourage studying in the Philippines. For example, the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships which grants up to $5,000 to over 2,300 deserving and disadvantaged undergraduate students.

The Philippine-American Educational Foundation (PAEF) is another scholarship program which is intended at strengthening the academic bonds between the US and the Philippines and encourage cultural and social exchange between the two countries. Since 1948, 1,700 Filipinos have Fulbright grants and 700 Americans for undergrad study, teaching and research in the Philippines and the United States.

Besides, the following private scholarships are also worth checking when applying in the Philippines:

  • Pacific prime
  • Freeman Awards for Study in Asia
  • Luce Scholars Program
  • Asian Cultural Council
  • Rotary International

Benefits of studying in the Philippines

Filipinos (natives of the Philippines) are known for their hospitality and for their open and warm, welcoming nature. They are friendly, empathetic and helpful. No matter which country or culture you belong to or what your field of study is, you can find comfort and safety when studying in the Philippines. Given that it is still a lesser recognized foreign study destination, it is important to orient yourself with both the advantages and the disadvantages of choosing Philippines for your higher studies:

  • It is a majorly English-speaking country which eliminates any possible communication gap for students coming from other English-speaking countries or with a good proficiency in English
  • The universities in the Philippines do not demand any kind of donation fee or capitation fee, meaning that selection is solely merit based.
  • Many colleges in the Philippines are MCI (Medical Council of India) approved, which means that after acquiring your degree from the Philippines, you will be eligible to work in India because your degree will be accepted and applicable in India.
  • The degrees offered by the universities in the Philippines are internationally acclaimed. Recently, the governing bodies of the Philippines’ higher education changed the system to make it more internationally relevant, meaning that the pass-outs from Filipino universities can be assets to organizations and companies worldwide.
  • The environment for international students, both inside the university and in the country in general is very safe as many foreign students make the Philippines their home every year in the quest for quality higher education.
  • The tuition fees of the universities in the Philippines, even for more advanced courses like Aviation and Aeronautics is comparatively low given that they offer internationally acclaimed degrees and a high quality of education to the students. This encourages students from all backgrounds to consider the Philippines for higher education.
  • The general cost of living cost in the Philippines is also low.

Disadvantages of studying in the Philippines

There are no major disadvantages of studying in the Philippines for foreign students, except that the culture there is starkly different compared to the Western countries or other South Asian countries. Students coming from other countries may have some difficulties settling in initially. Along with that also comes the difference in the cuisine of the Filipino people which is also vastly different from other countries. Depending on which part of the world the student is coming from, they may face difficulties settling in initially but over time adapt to the changes. The tropical climate also makes Philippines hot and humid which is not easy to adapt to in a short while for those coming from the West.

Study in Philippines for International Students

The Philippines attracts international students from over 65 countries across the globe. These include students from the USA, European countries such as France, Germany, and Asian countries such as Singapore, Taiwan, China, Korea, India etc. This has led to a huge diverse student population. Philippines being the third largest English speaking nation in the world enjoys a literacy rate of 93%. The growth in the number of foreign students is growing by leaps and bounds from a meagre 7700 in 2011 to a whopping 210,000 in 2016. India is sixth in the list of student enrollments with Korea leading at the top.

Apart from procuring education at par with world standards, students also get to enjoy other activities such as swimming, diving, snorkelling, surfing etc. on the pristine beaches. For those interested in history and art there are many heritage sites to explore. There are also countless malls, shopping centers, cafes and shows for entertainment etc. for students to take a break from their rigorous schedules.

About the Philippines

Officially known as the Republic of the Philippines, it is an archipelagic country in Southeast Asia which consists of 7,641 islands categorized under Ludon, Visayas, and Mindanao. The capital city of Manila and the most populous city of Quezon are both located in Metro Manila. It is bound by the South China Sea, the Philippines Sea, and the Celebes sea on the West, East, and Southwest respectively. The Philippines is endowed with some of the world’s greatest biodiversity, flora, and fauna and is a very popular tourist destination for nature-lovers and culture enthusiasts from all over the world. It is also the eighth most populated country in Asia and its people speak mostly English.

Philippines has a heavy colonial hangover given that it was under the rule of the British, Japanese as well as Spanish governments at different points of time. The country has a tropical climate which makes it hot and humid, which could be a tad bit uncomfortable. The rainforests of the Philippines and its expansive shorelines are, however, a gift of the same climate and yield to some of the most mesmerising biodiversity in the world with a range of animals, plants, marine life, etc.

The Filipino cuisine has an interesting mix of influences which includes Hispanic, Chinese, American, and Asian which have been adapted to the local palate and available resources, which are aplenty. Paella, cocido, lechon, adobo, sinigang, kare-kare, tapa, crispy pata, pancit, lumpia, and halo-halo are some of the most common and popular dishes. Unlike a lot of other Asian countries, Filipinos use Western cutlery instead of chopsticks while eating, using spoon and fork for its broths and rice-based dishes.

Filipino culture in general is an interesting mix of Eastern and Western cultures, with aspects of Malay heritage and traces of American and Spanish habits. A lot of traditions in the Philippines are changing or giving in to modernization. Festivals like barrio fiestas and iconic Filipino dance performances like tinikling and singkil are still performed with vigour and glory.

Career scope after studying in the Philippines

Students graduating from an MCI approved college in the Philippines will be able to find jobs in India. Alternatively, given that the Philippines’ universities offer internationally acclaimed degrees, students can also seek jobs in other parts of the world depending on their field of study.

Foreign student life in Philippines

Students in the Philippines enjoy a life that is distinctly different from their origin country, Even if you are from South Asia, you will witness and experience a culture that has multiple influences which leads to a daily life that is far from ordinary. Philippines has a varied population with students and other professionals living in the country to seek better academic as well as career opportunities.

The Universities in the Philippines ensure that the students coming from any and every part of the world and hailing from other cultural backgrounds are treated with equal respect and given equal opportunities to hone and highlight their knowledge and skills, without any unfair bias. The students enjoy a very exciting and fulfilling life even outside the university as Philippines offers a wide variety of exploration opportunities for everyone. Be it cultural, historic, or natural, the Philippines is studded with world-renowned tourist destinations which the students can explore over their course of study in the country. However, it should be noted that the student visa provided by the Philippines Embassy doesn’t allow international students to work part-time while pursuing their degree in the country.

Language requirements to study in the Philippines

Filipino people are well versed and proficient in English and some even in Spanish so students with a working knowledge of English won’t face any communication problems. However, if you are from a non-English speaking country, you will not only be required to prove your proficiency in English through TOEFL/IELTS but also hone your English speaking skills for sustenance in the country.

Study in Philippines FAQs

Is it safe for Indians to study in the Philippines?

Thousands of Indian students apply in the Philippines every year across different fields of study. The country receives students from a majority of international destinations and has a record of very low to no crime rates against students from different ethnicities. Besides, the universities themselves take full care and responsibility for the safety and security of each and every student.

Is it easy to get a scholarship for studying in the Philippines?

There are around 253 institutes that offer scholarships to students based on their merit. Getting scholarship in the Philippines for meritorious students is not difficult.

Is it possible to do a part time job in the Philippines while pursuing a higher degree?

For core professional courses such as doctor, engineer, part time jobs are not allowed. However, for courses in humanities, etc. the authorities may allow to do a part-time job. This entirely depends on the management of the institute where a student is enrolled.

How much does it cost to study in the Philippines?

Tuition fees in the Filipino universities for different courses vary but are generally lower as compared to other countries. Expect to pay different fees for private and public universities, as the case may be. Refer respective universities websites for the same.

What are the best courses to study in the Philippines?

Philippines offers courses across the spectrum but specialises in Aviation and Aeronautics, Operations or Engineering, commerce and economics, language studies, humanities studies, medical and healthcare, management studies, civil engineering, and computer science/programming.

What is the cost of living in the Philippines?

Cost of living depends on whether you are staying within the university premises or rent a private home. Whatever be the case, just like the tuition fees, the cost of living in the Philippines is also comparatively much lower. Living on an island can cost you something around $200-$300 a month. Metro Manila, however, has a higher cost of living as compared to the rest of the country.


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