However, that figure will not be the final sum for language students who spend an integrated year abroad - extending their student status by one year and their student debt by £4,500 if they are from south of the border.
Currently, students who do not study abroad are encouraged to go to the relevant country on a work placement, most often with the British Council as an English language assistant in a school or university. Places to study at universities abroad are limited and, as far as St Andrews is concerned, open only to students who attain a certain mark or above.
If they are a joint honours student who studies a subject outside the department of modern languages, they must discuss this with the relative department. In my case, the English department weren't too keen on the idea that studying in France would be relevant to courses offered on English literature. As a result, I worked in Paris and soaked up the culture, the language...and the wine.
But this exciting opportunity to enjoy the experience of living in a foreign country will now be overshadowed by the amount that Rest of the UK (RUK) students still have to pay to their home university. All students, including Scottish students, must pay half of their tuition fees to the university even though they are abroad, and very clearly not attending lectures or tutorials. For Scottish students all this requires asking the Scottish Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) to pop some money in the bank of their university.
By 2014, the first generation of RUK language students subject to extortionate tuition fees will be leaving Britain for a European destination in the hope of perfecting language skills. They will pay £4,500 (half ot the annual £9,000 fee) to the university they have left behind.
How can the head of a modern languages department honestly justify a £40,500 degree to potential students and their parents when they are getting nothing in return? The idea seems bizarre.
Yes, students can opt not to go abroad at all during their degree and therefore pay nothing. But as someone who has gone down the five-year languages degree route, I can honestly say it is worth it. Whether it is worth £4,500 is something I am not entirely sure of.
University principals and those in managerial roles are confident that the reputations of Edinburgh and St Andrews, as well as other Scottish universities, will not deter applications from students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland despite the price tag of the degree.
You may well still see healthy application numbers for certain degrees but my fear is that language departments will gradually suffer a decline in students unless they act now to change this ridiculous set-up whereby students pay for having a place reserved for them when they return.
Otherwise the teaching of languages could simply turn out to be the silent victim of the long and complicated tuition fee affair.