We all dream dreams and aspire to be great. But it’s true that dreaming about something doesn’t get you any closer to the thing you desire; money does! As a student, you’ve probably dreamt of studying at a top international college and living in a foreign country on your own. Well, that is the ultimate dream of most of the students. And why wouldn’t it be? We all like new experiences and what is better than living and studying in a foreign land where you get exposure to a new culture, new places, new food and new people? The answer is “nothing”, at least for most of the students. However, there’s one setback, and that is money.
The steadily increasing tuition fees and all the living expenses in the top foreign countries have made it quite difficult for the students, who don’t belong to wealthy families, to fulfill their dreams. In countries like USA, UK, Australia and some popular Europeans countries where the quality of education is quite high, the expenses are also quite high. For this reason, it is almost impossible for a student to sustain in that country and continue his/her studies if there’s no scholarship or enough fund available to support his/her education.
Does that mean you should sacrifice your dreams and move on?
No! There are several countries that offer almost free education to both native and international students, which means you can study in those countries without paying any tuition fee.
In this article, we are going to discuss a few countries which you can visit to get the education at free of cost. You’ll just require a considerable amount of fund for the living expenses, but you won’t have to worry about those tuition fees that make a huge dent in the budget of an international student.
Germany remains one of the most popular European countries with a good range of programs to offer the international students. What has made Germany one of the major education destinations in Europe is its free tuition fee structure. While this may sound insane, there are no undergraduate tuition fees at public universities in a first world country like Germany. And that is applicable for both native and international students (regardless of your nationality). You are charged only a nominal amount (around €150-250, i.e. approximately US$160-265) to cover the administration costs.
The Master’s degrees at the German universities are also free (for now) if they are classed as “consecutive”, which means those courses should be pursued directly following a related bachelor’s degree course that has been completed in Germany. There’s a nominal charge for things like enrolment, semester-ticket, confirmation and administration, etc. PhD courses are also free at every German university, at least for the first six months, if not for the entire course.
In a recent announcement, however, it has been declared that the south-west state of Baden-Württemberg would be reinstating tuition fees for the non-EU students from autumn 2017, and it is being anticipated that other states will follow the footsteps in the upcoming years.
France has always been a favorite place for tourists since there’s so much to see and do in the capital (i.e. Paris) alone. Also the palatable gourmet food and the love of Frenchmen for the art have always pulled international voyager to the land of Franks. But what you may not know is that France is also quite famous for its affordable higher education. The courses may not be absolutely free for any students (whether you are a native student, an EU student or a non-EU student), but the charges are quite low in comparison to the top countries like the UK, the USA or Australia.
You need to pay a nominal amount of €184 (i.e. approximately US$195) annually as the administration fee at the undergraduate level. The charges can be a little extra in case of more specialized programs like medicine or engineering, but that isn’t way too much either. An interesting fact about the free courses at French universities is that most of them are taught in the native tongue. But the scenario is changing and the opportunities of pursuing these programs in English are also growing significantly, especially at the bachelor’s level.
In fact, there are preparatory schools in France that can help you improve your French skills before you kick off a degree program at a French university. But unfortunately, those aren’t free.
The Nordic Countries (Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Iceland)
Besides the astounding landscapes, high standard of life and vibrant culture, Nordic countries are also known for their world-class education system. And the best part about these countries is that all of them (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) offer affordable higher education.
Norway offers university study at free of cost to all the students no matter what their nationality is. Although most of the undergraduate courses are taught in Norwegian, which means if you want to pursue a bachelor’s degree at a Norwegian university, you need to show competency in the Norwegian tongue. Good news is that at post graduation levels (master’s and PhD) you can find programs that are taught in English and you can enjoy free tuition in those courses as well.
At bachelor’s and master’s levels, the courses in various Danish universities are available for free only for the EU/EEA and Swiss students. Anyone from outside these regions will have to pay the tuition fees for attending a bachelor’s course or a master’s course. However, the PhD programs are absolutely free since those programs are fully funded, and students can even earn a salary for pursuing a PhD course.
The fee structure of Swedish higher education is identical to the one at Denmark. However, the university fees for bachelor’s and master’s level courses at Sweden can range between SEK 80,000 and SEK 140,000 (which is approximately US$8,730-15,270), while in Denmark it ranges from DKK 45,000 to DKK 120,000 (approximately US$6,420-17,115) annually.
Finland was offering free higher education to the non-EU students till date, but from autumn 2017 onwards, it will also charge tuition fees to the non-EU students at bachelor’s and master’s levels. Presumably, the charges are expected to be around €1,500 (approximately US$1,600) annually.
The four public universities in Iceland do not charge any tuition fees to anyone (not even non-EU students). But a registration fee of around €400 (approximately US$425) is required annually from the students.
The brilliant architecture has always drawn international tourists to Austria, but what you may not know is that the country is also considered as one of the safest countries for students to study. Since it is a part of the ongoing list, you must have understood that Austria also offers affordable higher education to the students.
In fact, the EU/EEA students at Australia enjoy the same privileges as the native Austrian students. They can study at no cost at any degree level. However, for any program beyond the degree level courses, students need to pay a nominal fee of €363 (around US$385) per semester. If you are from outside EU/EEA, you will have to pay a higher amount of fee of around €726 (approximately US$770) per semester, which is still quite cheaper.
Apart from being home to the iconic comic book character Tintin, there are some other surprising things that Belgium has to offer. Belgium is quite famous for its junk food, but you can avail more than just diabetes from this place. In fact, it is also one of the top most countries for students across the globe and has affordable higher education at the disposal.
There are two major language communities in the country, and each of them has their own stance on university fees. The EU students need to pay an annual fee of €835 (around US$890) while the non-EU students have to pay an annual fee ranging from €890 to a maximum of €4,175 (approximately US$940-4,430), which is still quite affordable for international students.
If you know the native tongue (i.e. Czech), then you can pursue any study abroad program in the Czech Republic without paying a single penny as tuition fees. As a matter of fact, the courses that are offered in English are also comparatively cheaper. An international student can study a course in the English language at any Czech public university with an annual fee of around CZK 108,334 (approximately US$4,260). In fact, the living expenses in this country are much lower than any other country in the Western Europe.
Greece is a country with a rich historical background, and it is also known as the land of Gods. One of the lesser-known facts about this country is that it is also one of the European countries that offer low cost higher education to the international students. The EU/EEA students at Greek public university do not need to pay for at the bachelor’s level courses. At master’s levels, the regulations are same with the exception of few master’s programs. For non-EU students, a nominal annual fee is required which is approximately €1,500 (around US$1,600). In fact, Greece is also one of the most affordable countries in the European Union.
Unlike the private universities in the country, the public universities in Italy are unexpectedly cheaper. In fact, the undergraduate courses at the Italian public universities charge something between €850 and €1,000 (almost US$900-1,060) annually. EU students can enjoy same privileges as the native students when it comes to grants, scholarships, loans or fee-waiver. For non-EU students, the courses aren’t too expensive as well.
The EU students enjoy the similar facilities as the native students in Spain. The annual fees are same for the EU students as the native Spanish students. For non-EU students though, the annual fee of studying at a public university is €680 to €1,400 (around US$720-1,500). Interestingly, the fees are charged on a per-credit basis which can be higher at the graduate level.
Apart from these 9 options, there are several other countries where the students can study for free or at a nominal cost; the names like Argentina, India and Taiwan are worth mentioning. However, before applying to any of the international universities for a study abroad program, it is wiser to have a thorough detail of the course and the fee structure from the universities’ official website or by calling up the concerned administration. The fees are subject to change so do your research before jumping right in.
For more enquiries about admissions into universities abroad, send an email to Jonah@studyabroad365.com or call +2348125835476