If you’re determined to study abroad, it is possible you already know it will come at a huge cost… But it is not always the case. There are a couple of countries where international students do not have their tuition fees pegged at thousands of dollars just because they are not citizens of the country; simply put, there are some countries where you can study on free tuition.
It probably sounds too good to be true. Well, while you would not be getting a free ride (you’ll still be required to pay for your flights, visa, health insurance and living expenses while you’re there), but you won’t pay tuition!
Most of these countries are in Europe. So let’s explore each of these European destinations for your benefit…
So Germany, offers free tuition to both domestic and international students who take up Bachelor’s and consecutive Master’s degree programs since the start of 2014.
Some federal states in Germany will charge a small semester or administrative fee of roughly €50 (US$62) per semester but besides that you can spend your cash how you wish.
At the moment,the state of Baden-Württemberg in south-west Germany is the only state that charges tuition fees but these fees are affordable,usually at a total cost of €1,500 (US$1,850) per term – a pittance compared with the US, UK and other popular study abroad destinations. Baden-Württemberg reintroduced tuition fees for students outside the European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) at the beginning of this academic year in autumn 2017.
Master’s programs however come with tuition costs but these are equally minimal compared with other countries – and PhD students on the other hand, are charged tuition after their first 6 months of studying. However, they will be required to make a small payment of roughly €150-€200 per semester, although thankfully the vast majority of PhD students are working on paid research projects or are studing on a scholarship anyway.
There are tons of programs offered in English so if you’re not too familiar with Deutsch, please do not assume studying in Germany is beyond you.
Presently, no Norwegian state university charges tuition to any student from within the EU or outside, at all levels of study – for almost all the courses. However, there is a negligible semester fee of NOK300 (US$38) to NOK600 (US$77).
Please note that some state universities could charge tuition for some specialised programmes, usually at the Master’s level. Have at the back of your mind that private institutions charge tuition fees for all programs but they are much lower than other countries.
The disadvantage? You’ll be required to learn Norwegian for undergraduate programs but most Master’s and PhD programs are taught in English.
Do remember that Norway can be an expensive place to live in, but with all the cash you’ll be saving on tuition, that will not hurt quite so bad.
While France may not be as popular as Germany for its tertiary education but it is equally an impressive country for EU and international students. A large number of courses at all levels of study are available in English, France is becoming a popular studyabroad destination. EU students are able to study on free tuition but international students outside of the EU pay fees. Even at that, tuition fees are low and cheap.
While tuition is not completely free for international students outside the EU and EEA, public universities will charge around €360 (US$445) to €725 (US$895) per semester. But if you are a citizen of a less developed nation, you may not pay anything at all. It is also advantageous if you are coming to Austria from inside the EU or EEA as you will be treated the same as domestic students (free tuition!)
You will be expected to pay around €20 (US$25) for your student union membership but that’s not alot when your tuition is at such a reasonable price.
While international students are expected to pay tuition fees in Sweden for Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes if they hail from outside the EU, EEA or Nordic countries or Switzerland, there are tons of full and partial scholarships available specifically for this group of students.
Per PhD studies, international students are actually paid for the work they do, either by the institution itself or through external funding bodies. So that’s one piece of good news for PhD students – no tuition fees and you’ll paid cash on the side
We also have Greece, Hungary or Poland, which do charge tuition fees but at a low cost of roughly €1,500 (US$1,850) per year in Greece and Hungary, and €2,000 (US$2,470) in Poland.
Understandably, Europe may not be for you. So head over to South America instead. Argentinians are afforded free tuition but international students are required to pay a small fee to enroll themselves in Argentina’s public universities.
However, private universities on the otherhand charge US$5,000 or more a year in tuition fees so, as with the most of countries, if you are keen on minimise costs, then go with public universities.
You should also consider Taiwan, a tiny island just off the coast of China, if you are not a fan of South America’s Argentina. Taiwan does charge tuition fees but offer some of the most cheapest higher education programmes in the world