If you don’t qualify for fully-funded college scholarships, consider enrolling at colleges that are tuition-free or charge low tuition fees or those that offer tuition waivers.
Countries like Norway, Austria, Germany, Finland, and Sweden offer different types of free/low tuition plans and tuition waivers for international students.
5 Countries Where Tuition is Free or Very Low
Free Universities in Norway
Norwegian state universities and colleges, as a rule, do not charge tuition fees for all students, including international students. This applies to all levels, including undergraduate studies, master’s programs, and doctoral degree programs. However, students will have to pay a semester fee of NOK 300-600 each semester.
Please note that some state universities and community colleges may have tuition fees for some specialized programs that are generally at the master’s level.
Most the private institutions have tuition fees for all their programs and courses. But the fees are usually significantly lower than for comparable studios in most other countries.
Furthermore, foreign students do not pay higher tuition fees than Norwegian students.
Cost of Studying in Norway – You should keep in mind that living expenses in Norway are higher than in many other countries. Living expenses would amount to NOK 90,000-100,000 per year.
Tuition-Free Universities in Austria
If you are a non-EU/EEA student, federal/public universities in Austria only charge around 726.72 euros per semester for tuition fees plus 20.20 euros per semester for the membership fee of the student union “ÖH-Beitrag » and the student accident insurance rate.
In special cases, a waiver of the payment of tuition fees or a full/partial refund of tuition fees is possible (for example, for holders of certain scholarships, for participants in exchange programs and university associations, and for students from certain countries ). More information is available on the university website directly.
Cost of studying in Austria: The cost of living for students in Austria is approximately 800 euros per month, which covers accommodation, food, and personal expenses.
Free universities in Germany
As of October 2014, all universities in Germany except Baden-Württemberg* will not charge any tuition fees for consecutive bachelor’s and master’s programs for all students, including international students. In some federal states, universities will charge a semester contribution (approximately 50 euros) and/or administrative fees (approximately 50 euros).
This tuition fee structure may change in the future, you should check this page for up-to-date information on tuition fees in different federal states in Germany.
Currently, the federal state of Baden-Württemberg is charging tuition fees (for Bachelor’s, Master’s, Diploma, and State Examination programs) of €1,500 per semester for non-EU citizens.
Unlike undergraduate studies, most master’s studies in Germany come with tuition fees, but they are not as high as in other countries.
On the other hand, doctoral studies at German universities are, in principle, free of charge.
Ph.D. students are required to pay tuition only after completing their first six semesters but are required to pay a semester contribution of approximately 150-200 euros per semester. Ph.D. students usually work on a research project (paid Ph.D. position) or receive a fellowship.
Cost of studying in Germany: On average, German students spend around 500-800 euros on accommodation, transportation, food, and miscellaneous expenses.
Free tuition and universities in Finland
Tuition fees for non-EU/EEA students were introduced from Autumn 2017 onwards for English-taught Bachelor’s or Master’s programs. Only doctoral-level studies will remain free of tuition fees, regardless of your nationality.
Finnish universities and UAS offer scholarship options for non-EU/EEA gifted students admitted to their fee-based Bachelor and Master programs. EDUFI scholarships are available to cover living expenses for doctoral studies of up to one academic year.
Cost of Studying in Finland: The estimated living expenses of a single student in Finland average around 700-900 euros per month.
Tuition Scholarships at Swedish Universities
Application and tuition fees apply for those who are not citizens of an EU/EEA/Nordic country or Switzerland studying at the Bachelor’s or Master’s level. However, the Swedish Institute and a significant number of universities offer full and partial scholarships in the form of tuition waivers for international students.
Ph.D. positions in Sweden are generally offered as paid positions by universities or external funding bodies. This means that if you are offered a position as a Ph.D. candidate, you will pay no fees and receive a monthly salary.
Tuition-Free Online Universities
There are now several universities that offer online degrees/courses for free. The first of these universities is the University of the people, which is a free, non-profit, accredited online university dedicated to opening access to higher education globally. University of the People offers online Associates and Degrees in Business Administration, Health Sciences, and Computer Science, as well as an MBA program
This was followed by an initiative from MIT and Harvard called edX, which is a learning platform that gives students from any country the opportunity to take free online courses offered by three top-tier universities in the United States: Harvard, MIT, and UC Berkeley and over 50+ Universities and Institutions.
Cheapest countries for students studying abroad
If you’ve decided you want to move abroad to earn your degree, here’s a look at the average costs per year for a non-citizen student in various countries around the world.
- Slovenia – $2,300
- Spain – $1,830
- Switzerland – $1,168
- Poland – $2,300
- Latvia – $1,745-$5,200
- Japan – $5,229
- Italy – $1,568
- Israel – $3,095
- Austrian – $914
- Anywhere in the world with the University of the People: $0 tuition, $60 application fee, $100-$200 evaluation per course