Bolivia is widely known for its natural biodiversity and left-wing government. Actually, this country has one of the most bio-diverse and biggest natural parks, Madidi National Park, and part of the Amazon is located within its borders. But nature is not the only impressive aspect of Bolivia. The affordable prices of higher education and multiple institutions make it a good option for international students. In this article, we will be looking at the cheap universities in Bolivia.

The Higher Education System in Bolivia

There have been important attempts to improve the education system in Bolivia. Although there’s still a long way to go, they have one of the lowest illiteracy rates in the region and are one of the countries with the largest budgets for education in Latin America.

Bolivia has both public and private universities. Bachelor’s degree programs last for four or five years and master’s and postgraduate degree programs last for two or three years. There are also technical degree programs that last for two or three years and are made for those who want to enter the job market faster.

The Admission Process at Universities in Bolivia

In order to be admitted to a public university, applicants have to take an entrance exam.

Private universities have their own admission system. Some of them have exams but others only require submitting documents and then choosing students based on high school grades.

Check Also: Available Programs for International Students


Tuition Fees at Universities in Bolivia

Public universities in Bolivia are tuition-free. However, admissions are very competitive, and chances reduce dramatically for international students.

Being admitted to a private university is easier and although they are paid, they are very affordable. Tuition fees per semester can go from 500 USD to 1,500 USD, even less than 500 USD in some cases.

Additionally, universities have flexible options for payments. Students can make monthly payments instead of paying the whole semester when enrolling. Some universities even give you the option of paying for the whole program.


Language of Instruction at Universities in Bolivia

Universities in Bolivia are perfect for those who want to learn or improve their Spanish. As this is the official language of the country, most of the programs are only available in Spanish.

There’s information available in other languages but finding a degree program completely taught in English will be very difficult.


Living Costs in Bolivia

Bolivia’s official currency is the Bolivian Peso (BOB). 100 BOB is around 15 USD.

Renting a one-bedroom apartment in the city center can cost around 300 USD. In other areas, monthly rent can cost around 215 USD.

Depending on your taste, your monthly budget for food can go from 100 USD to 150 USD.

As for transportation, you can expect to spend between 35 USD to 40 USD.


Cheap Universities in Bolivia

1. Private University of Santa Cruz de la Sierra (UPSA)

As its name suggests, the Private University of Santa Cruz de la Sierra (UPSA) was established in 1984 as a private university.

UPSA has five faculties of business sciences, juridical sciences, engineering, humanities and communications, and architecture, design, and urbanism. Along with different graduate and postgraduate degree programs, they offer 22 bachelor’s degree programs.

This cheap university in Bolivia also has cooperation and exchange agreements with over 100 universities around the world.

The admissions process at UPSA starts by filling a form and submitting the required documents. After that, prospective students will have to go to an interview with the person in charge of the major chosen. Admissions will base on the interview and the overall high school performance of applicants.

Tuition fees per semester are 14,845 BOB (around 2,150 USD) if paid upfront. Programs are 1,400 BOB (around 200 USD) more expensive if the student chooses to divide the payment into multiple amounts. The university also offers scholarships to the best students and those who stand out in certain areas like sports.


2. Private Bolivian University (UPB)

Established in 19933, the Private Bolivian University (UPB) is a private university that is well-known for its programs in business administration and economy.

The UPB has three campuses: the main one in the city of Cochabamba, one for the bachelor programs in the capital city, La Paz, and one in the city of Santa Cruz. The university also has academic units in the Southern region of Bolivia.

There are two faculties on each campus. Their programs cover the areas of engineering, architecture, business sciences, and law.

Admissions are done through an academic aptitude exam. This cheap university in Bolivia also has a pre-university course for those who need to improve their academic skills.

Most of the courses at UPB are taught in Spanish, but there are a few ones offered in English. Visit their website to learn more. To get more details, its international website has more information.


3. The Central University (UNICEN)

The Central University (UNICEN) is another private university that was founded 29 years ago, in 1990.

UNICEN is known for having a great employability rate because 85% of its graduates already have a job when finishing their studies.

The cheap university in Bolivia has three faculties of health sciences, business sciences, and social sciences. They offer 11 bachelor’s degree programs and a few technical programs.

The university has buildings in three cities. The main campus is in the city of Cochabamba, where they additionally have a health campus. The other two are in the cities of La Paz and Santa Cruz.

The admission process is direct, which means students don’t have to go through any exams or interviews. They also have special services for international students to assist them, offer scholarships, and help them with legal procedures.

Learn more by checking their website. Don’t forget to select your preferred language in the icons in the upper right corner.


4. Domingo Savio Private University (UPDS)

The Domingo Savio Private University (UPDS) was created in 1988 and is currently one of the biggest higher institutions in Bolivia with over 20,000 students.

It has eight campuses in the cities of Santa Cruz, Tarija, La Paz, Potosí, Cochabamba, Sucre, Trinidad, and Oruro. They are currently building the ninth campus in the city of Pando.

It has five faculties of business sciences, legal sciences, social sciences, health sciences, and engineering.

To check the admission requirements, click here. To learn more about tuition fees and the university, contact the campus you prefer. Select your preferred language in the drop-down menu located in the upper right corner.


5. The Bolivian Catholic University (UCB)

Last on our list of cheap universities in Bolivia is the Bolivian Catholic University (UCB), which is one of the best private universities in Bolivia. According to the 2017 Webometrics Ranking, it is the third-best university in the country.

It has three regional campuses located in Tarija, Cochabamba, and Santa Cruz de la Sierra. Around 16,000 students are educated there each year. There are also a few buildings in the rural areas of the country.

It has four faculties of engineering, financial and economic sciences, human and social sciences, and political sciences and law. The university also has a department of architecture and graphic design, and a production and competitiveness school.

The UCB has three research departments and offers over 30-degree programs.

The admissions process includes an entrance exam. The university offers scholarships that cover from 30% to 100% of the tuition fees. To learn more, contact the university. Here we are linking the website of the campus in Tarija. Links for the other campuses are available at the end of the page. Don’t forget to select your preferred language at the drop-down menu in the upper left corner.


I hope that this article on cheap universities in Bolivia was helpful. If you are interested in studying abroad, check out the Available Programs for International Students!