Did you know that Taiwan has some of the most affordable higher education in the world? Did you also know that most international students can study university for free in Taiwan? Heck, I even got paid to study for my master’s degree in Taiwan! I am going to share how to study university for free in Taiwan and the steps to take so you can too!
Study in University Taiwan for Free
Growing up in the USA, I was always assumed that getting a college degree needed to cost tens of thousands of dollars. By the time I had finished my bachelor’s degree, I had racked up over $60,000 in student debt. Never did I Imagine I could study at university in Taiwan for free!
It wasn’t until I started to search for graduate schools that I realized Taiwan offers highly subsidized and often free university programs to international students.
Needless to say, with a little time and know-how, you too can study your undergraduate, or graduate degree for free in Taiwan!
Why Study University in Taiwan?
Taiwan Quality of Life
Taiwan is a great place to live and study. Year over year, Taiwan is rated as the best country to live as a foreigner thanks to its high quality of life, excellent public healthcare, low cost of living, and beautiful nature.
Taiwan is a Sub-Tropical Island located in East Asia, just south of Japan. Thanks to its geography, Taiwan has year-round warm weather with mild winters, hot summers. Due to its mountainous geography, the island varies in climate from tropical in the south, to snowy highlands in the mountains. This comes along with a variety of outdoor activities like hiking, camping swimming, surfing, and more.
It is a global leader in science, research, consumer tech, and manufacturing – with companies like TSMC, Foxconn, HTC, Asus, and Acer just to name a few. Overall, Taiwanese people have a high level of technical education and a selection of top-ranking universities to complement the competitive Taiwanese job market.
Deciding Where to Study in Taiwan
When most people hear Taiwan, the first (and sometimes only thing) they think of is Taipei. As the biggest city in Taiwan, it offers some of the best Taiwanese culture, food, fun, and of course, world-class Taiwan universities. If you love other international cities like Tokyo, New York, or London, you would probably find yourself right at home in Taipei.
If you are looking to immerse yourself in Taiwanese culture and the Chinese language, or for a lower cost of living, then the south of Taiwan is a great option. Many southern cities like Taichung, Tainan, and Kaohsiung have far fewer foreigners and therefore a more “Taiwanese” feel. Not to mention the cost of living in cities like Kaohsiung and Tainan are about half that of Taipei.
Choosing a Taiwan University
The Taiwanese government makes searching for and researching university programs simple and straightforward. The best place to begin is the Taiwanese Government’s official Study in Taiwan website. Here, you can filter programs by location, field of study, and language. For a better idea of the best schools, you can check the US News global rankings.
Best Universities in Taiwan
- National Taiwan University – Taipei
- National Tsing Hua University – Hsinchu
- National Cheng Kung University – Tainan
- National Central University – Zhongli
- National Chiao Tung University – Hsinchu
- National Taiwan University of Science and Technology – Taipei
- China Medical University Taiwan – Taichung
- Taipei Medical University – Taipei
- National Yang-Ming University – Taipei
- National Sun Yat-Sen University – Kaohsiung
Also, check out our complete list of the best cities to live in Taiwan to help make your decision a little bit easier.
How to Study University for Free with Taiwan Scholarships
It is true that for many programs (like my own), acceptance into a Taiwanese university program can come with free or heavily discounted tuition. I personally got an automatic full 2-years, all expenses paid MBA Degree at NCKU and a monthly stipend of $5,000 Taiwan Dollars. You can see a full list of University-based scholarships here.
But, aside from departmental scholarships, Taiwan has a wide array of national scholarships which will actually pay you to live and study full time. In most cases, these scholarships are quite generous will give you a monthly stipend around the same amount as an average Taiwanese salary.
The most Famous scholarships are from the Taiwan Ministry of Education (MOE) and Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). These can give you between $15,000 and $30,000 Taiwanese dollars per month! For a full list of Taiwanese Scholarships, you can browse the Study in Taiwan website.
Getting Your Taiwan Student Visa
Congratulations! You got accepted to a Taiwanese University! Now you need to apply for your student visa. This process is pretty straightforward, but will require you to gather some documents and do a bit of travel.
Taiwan Student Visa – Required Documents
To apply for the Taiwan student visa you need to bring the following documents to any Taiwanese embassy, consulate, or representative office. You can see a full list of locations here.
- Application form
- Passport Valid for 6 months with blank pages (original & photocopy)
- 2 passport-size photos taken within 6 months
- Health certificate to be completed at a clinic.
- University Admission permit or Certificate of enrollment (original & photocopy)
- Diploma and transcript of your highest education (original & photocopy)
- Financial statement (NT$ 80,000 Equivalent minimum, Recent within 30 days)
After you have your student visa and arrive in Taiwan, you are required to report to immigration within 15 days to get your Alien Registration Card (ARC). This will allow you to do things like open a bank account, get a cell phone, rent an apartment, and sign up for the national health service. You can see more info on getting your Taiwan student visa here.
Important! – Don’t Come to Taiwan on a Landing or Visa-Free Stamp
Some people (like myself) try to come to Taiwan on a landing visa, or visa-free entry and try to apply for their student visa in Taiwan. You CANNOT convert to a student visa on landing or visa-free. If you arrive in Taiwan with this method, your only option is to fly out again to a foreign Taiwan consulate (I chose Manila, Philipines) and apply for your visa abroad.
That is why I highly recommend that if you are unable to obtain a student visa before your arrival, you at least enter Taiwan with a paper Visitor Visa issued by a Taiwan Consulate outside of Taiwan. As long as your visa was issued at a Taiwan Consulate abroad then you can convert it to a student residence visa after you arrive.
Welcome to Taiwan (You’re Gonna Love it!)
You’ve got your visa, you’ve got your scholarship, now it’s time to Study University in Taiwan for Free! I know firsthand that getting settled here can be exciting, and even a bit nerve-racking. But I promise you are going to love it. For more info about moving to Taiwan, and getting settled you can check out my other guides.
If you have any questions about how to study in Taiwan for free or have experienced yourself, please leave your thoughts in the comments below!