A student in Russia needs USD 300 to 400 per month on average or USD 3,000 to 4,000 per academic year (September to June).
It's better to start with a further USD 300 to 400 for extra expenses like medical insurance, living arrangements in an apartment or dormitory (buying dishes, bed linen, detergents etc.), and to purchase books.
The rouble’s decline against the world currencies merely plays into the hands of foreigners since their expenses are reduced when converted into dollars: it would be cheaper to pay for education and living in the country.
When you select a city for education, please keep in mind that the highest prices are in Moscow and Saint-Petersburg, while expenses in other regions will be lower.
The tuition fee at Russian universities varies from RUB 65,000 to 350,000 per year depending on the region, university, and discipline.
The students who are admitted to state-funded places on a competitive basis or who are awarded a government scholarship (quotas) study free-of-charge. Those students receive an allowance (the average monthly allowance in 2015 was RUB 1,300).
A voluntary medical insurance policy (VMI) for students at Moscow universities costs from 6,000 to 9,000 roubles a year. The insurance shall cover the entire education period, though universities request that policies are paid by the year or the semester.
According to official information, the minimum shopping basket (including bread, pasta, meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, milk, and sugar) in Russia costs from 3,200 to 5,000 roubles a month depending on the region. Russians estimate their monthly meal expenses to fall between 8 and 20 thousand roubles (USD 120 to 300). Much depends on the region where people live and what and where they buy (corner shop, supermarket, market).
An average lunch check in Moscow cafes and restaurants ranges from 700 to 2,000 roubles, while a set lunch costs between 150 and 400 roubles. Fast-food prices are even lower.
A single journey on the Moscow subway costs 50 roubles, while a 20-journey travel card costs 580 roubles.
Using a student discount one can get a monthly Moscow underground card for 350 roubles (the cost is even lower in other cities).
SIM-cards for mobile phones and tablets are sold in phone stores (do not buy them from street sellers). You need a national passport (indicating registration at your place of residence) and a migration card to buy a SIM-card. Ask in store for advice on the best rates (cost of calls, sms-text, data, etc.). The cost of a standard package of services ranges from 150 to 200 roubles. When you buy a SIM-card, the cost of the card is credited to the phone number account and then you top up the balance depending on the tariff plan.
Dormitories offer payable or free Internet access. When you rent an apartment, you are usually asked to pay for Internet separately, about 300 to 500 roubles a month, depending on the region, provider and rate.
There are plenty of chain stores of popular brands, both international and Russian. The clothing prices are generally higher than in Europe but high-quality and cheap clothing can always be found during the sales. For example, you can find a T-shirt for 300 roubles or jeans for 1,300 roubles.
Moscow theatre tickets cost from 500 to 2,500 roubles and cinema tickets, 150 to 500 roubles. A museum costs 100 to 1,000 roubles.
Many cultural centres offer discounts for students, and some museums can be visited free with a valid student card.
The average cost of a monthly pass to fitness centres varies from 1,900 to 4,500 roubles in Moscow and from 1,700 to 3,400 roubles in other regions. When you buy an annual pass, the average monthly cost will be lower.
A monthly swimming pool pass costs 300 to 500 roubles in Moscow and less elsewhere.
Many universities have their own gyms, swimming pools, and sports centres where services are cheaper than in the city or even free for university students.
Entry to clubs in Russia is generally free of charge, and visitors buy drinks and snacks. The average price of a cocktail in Moscow clubs is 340 roubles and 300 roubles in other cities. Young people in Moscow spend 1,000 to 5,000 roubles per weekend.
AN EXAMPLE OF A STUDENT'S MONTHLY EXPENDITURE
Internet, mobile phone
Culture, sport, entertainment
Prices are quoted in roubles. Subject to dormitory accomodation.