Top 25+ Countries Where College Tuition is Free or Low-Cost
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If you aren't offered a fully-funded college scholarship, you may want to look into colleges that either don't charge tuition at all, charge very little, or offer tuition waivers. Norway, Austria, Germany, Finland, Sweden, and many others have various tuition waiver and low tuition programs available to international students.
What is free college and is it really free?
Due in part to the fact that college expenses go beyond tuition, there are various kinds of free higher education. Students in American colleges typically pay tuition, fees, and living costs. Public universities, however, are free to attend in some nations. However, those who qualify for free college tuition still pay for their living expenses.
Which kinds of higher education are free? Debt-free programs allow students to attend college without accruing any debt. All costs are covered by government grants, scholarships, and other types of financial aid. Tuition-free programs that do not charge tuition are an example of other free college options. In these situations, students pay the living costs. After scholarships and grants, other programs promise tuition-free attendance.
Numerous localities and states in the United States have college promise programs. Typically, these programs pay for both community colleges and four-year public colleges. Seniors who are graduating may need to satisfy family income requirements to qualify. Outside of the United States, numerous nations provide free or inexpensive higher education.
Top 10+ Countries That Offer Free or Low-Cost College
Average cost of living: €934/month
Overview: Germany is one of the countries with free college, even for international students, and it has many highly regarded universities. In spite of the fact that many universities also offer English-language programs, applicants must demonstrate proficiency in German. Generally speaking, English-taught programs are more expensive to attend than the free German-taught programs.
Germany is a top destination for students from around the world due to its free education and excellent educational system. Students can support themselves while pursuing their passions because they have the option to work either full-time for 120 days or part-time for 240 half days during their studies. They can also remain in the country for up to 18 months after graduating in order to look for employment in their field of study. Take your education to the next level by enrolling with the over 400,000 other international students already attending German universities.
All German universities, with the exception of Baden-Württemberg, will no longer charge tuition for bachelor's and subsequent master's degree programs beginning in October 2014 for all students, including those from abroad. Universities may charge a semester contribution (roughly 50 euros) and/or administrative fees (roughly 50 euros) in some Federal States. This tuition fee structure may change in the future; for the most recent details on tuition costs in the various federal states of Germany, visit this page. For Bachelor's, Master's, Diplom, and state examination degree programs, the federal state of Baden-Württemberg currently charges non-EU citizens €1,500 per semester in tuition.
Most Master's programs in Germany require tuition fees, but they aren't as high as those abroad, unlike undergraduate programs.
On the other hand, doctoral studies are generally free at German universities. PhD students must pay a semester contribution of roughly 150–200 euros each semester before they are required to pay tuition after completing their first six semesters. Doctoral students typically receive a scholarship or work on a research project for pay (paid PhD position).
German students typically spend between 500 and 800 euros per month on living expenses, transportation, food, and other miscellaneous costs.
Overview: Norway provides both domestic and foreign students with free college tuition at all of its public universities. These universities are supported by the Norwegian government so that students can graduate with less debt. Norway also provides grants and scholarships to help with the high cost of living there.
This is true for all academic levels, including undergraduate, master's, and doctoral programs. However, each semester, students must pay a semester fee of NOK 300–600.
For a few specialized programs, usually at the Masters level, some state universities and university colleges may charge tuition. Tuition is charged by the majority of private institutions for all of their programs and courses. However, the costs are typically much lower than those for comparable studies in the majority of other nations. Additionally, tuition costs are comparable between international and Norwegian students.
Cost of Attending School in Norway: You should be aware that Norway has higher living costs than many other nations.
The annual cost of living would be between NOK 90,000 and NOK 100,000.
EU/EEA/Switzerland and developing countries: Free
Average cost of living: €900 - €1,300/month
Austria provides free college tuition for Austrians and EU citizens attending a public university.
Even two semesters beyond the duration of the degree are included in the free tuition period. Austria offers affordable tuition, which averages around $800 per semester, to international students. Private universities in Austria have higher tuition costs.
Looking for a place where you can receive a free education? Austria is the only place to look! This European treasure offers affordable tuition for non-EU students and free tuition for EU students, in addition to a high standard of living and a rich cultural heritage. Austria is regarded as one of the best places for international students to study for free, which comes as no surprise. And the benefits don't end there; after graduating, students can even obtain a one-year visa to look for work. Students are also permitted to work up to 20 hours per week without a work permit. Since Austria offers free education, why pay for it?
Federal/public universities in Austria only charge non-EU/EEA students about 726.72 Euros per semester for tuition plus 20.20 Euros per semester for the "H-Beitrag" (student union membership fee) and the student accident insurance fee.
In exceptional circumstances (such as for holders of particular scholarships, participants in exchange programs and university partnerships, and students from particular countries), an exemption from paying tuition fees or a full/partial refund of the tuition fees may be possible. More details are available on the university's official website.
The cost of living for students in Austria is roughly 800 euros per month, which includes housing, food, and other personal expenses.
Finnish or Swedish-taught degrees: Free
Non-EU/EEA: €4,000 – €18,000 for English-taught degrees
Average cost of living: €700 – €1,300/month
Overview: Citizens of Finland and the EU are eligible for free higher education. Tuition is paid by international students enrolled in English-language courses. Finland does provide a significant benefit for graduate degree seekers, though. No matter the student's nationality, there are no tuition fees for doctoral programs at the local universities.
Finland is a haven for students looking for a top-notch education, nestled among beautiful landscapes of forests, mountains, and clear waters. Finland, which is renowned for its high standards in education, provides excellent educational opportunities and free tuition to students from all over the world. Students can comfortably survive with careful budgeting with a modest cost of living of between €700 and €1,300 per month. Additionally, international students are permitted to work up to 30 hours per week while enrolled in classes and to remain in the nation for up to two years after graduation in order to pursue their ideal careers.
From the fall of 2017 onward, tuition fees for non-EU/EEA students will be charged for English-taught Bachelor's or Master's programs. No matter your nationality, only doctoral-level studies will continue to be tuition-free.
For talented non-EU/EEA students accepted to their fee-charging Bachelor's and Master's degree programs, Finnish universities and UASs offer scholarship options. For up to one academic year, living expenses for doctoral studies may be covered by EDUFI Fellowships.
Cost of Education in Finland: A single student's estimated monthly living costs range from 700 to 900 euros.
|How to study abroad for free|
EU/EAA and Switzerland: Free
Other: €6,000 – €16,000
Average cost of living: €800 – €1,200/month
Overview: Many students in Denmark are eligible for free higher education. Denmark's citizens, as well as those from the EU or Switzerland, are eligible for free college. Students participating in exchange programs, legal residents, and some temporary residents are also eligible. In order to attend Danish universities, other foreign students must pay tuition.
Denmark is a top destination for students looking to study abroad because of its cutting-edge teaching techniques and forward-thinking educational system. The best part, though? You can accomplish it on a budget! With a cost of living of between €800 and €1,200 per month and free or reasonably priced tuition, you can have the best of both worlds in terms of affordability and high-quality education.
In order to help pay for their expenses, international students can even work up to 20 hours per week and full-time during the summer. You can also apply for a six-month post-study work visa to find employment if you fall in love with Denmark and want to stay after graduation.
Don't pass up the opportunity to study for free in one of the most creative and dynamic nations in the world!
Overview: Students from the EU and citizens of Sweden are eligible for free higher education. No government-funded university may impose tuition on these students.
However, the cost of attending college in Sweden is typically low for both international and private university students.
For students pursuing bachelor's or master's degrees who are not citizens of the EU, EEA, a Nordic nation, or Switzerland, application and tuition fees are required. For international students, full and partial scholarships in the form of tuition waivers are offered by the Swedish Institute and a large number of Universities.
The majority of universities or outside funding organizations in Sweden offer paid positions for PhD candidates. This means that if a position as a PhD candidate is offered to you, you will not be required to pay any fees and will instead be paid a monthly salary.
7. Republic of Cyprus
Cyprus & EU: Free
Average cost of living: €700 - €1,000/month
The Republic of Cyprus is the ideal study destination with free education, so look no further!
This magnificent island, known for its mythology and natural beauty, provides affordable education to students from other nations while providing free tuition to EU citizens. Additionally, studying in Cyprus is a dream come true thanks to its subtropical climate, which is the envy of many.
Cyprus is a popular choice for students, but it offers more than just a pleasant climate; it also offers a top-notch education and the chance to work up to 20 hours per week while you are a student.
You can even stay in Cyprus for 60 days after graduating to look for work.
Don't pass up the opportunity to study for a free master's degree in Cyprus and take advantage of all this wonderful nation has to offer in terms of natural beauty and cultural diversity!
8. Czech Republic
Czech-Taught Degrees (both EU and Non-EU): Free
English/another foreign language taught degrees: €0-18,500/academic year
Average cost of living: €300 - €650/month
One of the nations that offers free higher education to all citizens, regardless of nationality, is the Czech Republic. The programs for free college tuition, however, are only available in Czech. The Czech Republic offers a wide range of reasonably priced options for students interested in English-language courses, some of which are completely free.
The Czech Republic is the perfect place to study if you've always imagined yourself in a fantastical environment. This magical nation is renowned for its castles, beautiful architecture, and revitalizing spa towns.
The best part, though? Degree programs taught in Czech are free to attend! Although living expenses can vary, students can typically get by on €650 per month.
Make sure you're enrolled in a degree program that has been approved by the Ministry of Education if you need to work during your studies. This will allow you to work up to 30 days a year.
You can even apply for a nine-month post-study residence permit to look for work after you graduate. Don't pass up the chance to study for your master's degree for free while experiencing the fascinating culture and history of the Czech Republic.
Wallonia-Brussels Federation or EU: €835
Average cost of living: €950 - €1,350/month
Belgium is known for its chocolate, waffles, and free public schools. Yes, you read that right. One of the nations with free universities and a chance for students to receive a free education is Belgium. However, there are other factors at play that make Belgium a desirable location for international students.
The nation's rich history and culture serve as a backdrop for a top-notch education. Additionally, students are permitted to work up to 20 hours per week while enrolled in classes, and they can even apply for a one-year post-graduation residence permit to allow them to look for employment. Don't pass up the opportunity to earn a free master's degree in Belgium and explore all that wonderful nation has to offer!
EU/EAA, Andorra, and Switzerland: €170 – €380/year
Non-EU: €2,770 (Bachelor); €3,770 (Master)
Average cost of living: Around €900/month
Enjoy the best of student life while immersing yourself in France's rich culture and taking advantage of low living and tuition costs. With over 370,000 students attending its universities, France is one of the top countries for international students looking for a top-notch education.
France is the ideal country to pursue your academic goals because it offers free education to students from the EU and affordable tuition to students from outside the EU. While enrolled, students are allowed to work up to 964 hours a year, and they are allowed to stay in the country for up to one year after graduation to look for employment.
More Countries That Offer Free College or Low-Cost College
|Top countries with free higher education|
EU: €300 – €1,700/year
Non-EU: €1,750 – €3,850/year
Average cost of living: €450 - €650/month
Why pay tuition when you can attend classes in one of the nations that offers free education, like Bulgaria?
You'll not only be able to afford your degree more affordably, but you'll also be surrounded by stunning natural beauty and a lively student scene.
You'll have many opportunities to broaden your cultural horizons given that there are already nearly 14,000 foreign students studying in Bulgaria. And the benefits don't end there; students can also work up to 20 hours per week while they are in school and on breaks, earning extra money and gaining valuable work experience.
Additionally, if you plan to remain in Bulgaria after graduation, you can apply for a post-graduation work visa that is valid for nine months. Don't pass up the opportunity to earn a free master's degree in Bulgaria and take advantage of all that wonderful nation has to offer!
Tuition: €1,660 - €7,500/year
Medicine: 12,000/ year
Average cost of living: €500 - €750/month
Looking for a study abroad location that is both tech-savvy and affordable? One of the top digital societies in the world is none other than Estonia. Estonia offers the ideal fusion of education and opportunity with reasonable tuition costs and no restrictions on working hours for international students.
Students from outside the EU can even apply for a post-study work visa and remain for up to 9 months in order to find their ideal job. Join Estonia's creative community today to begin your path to success!
Both domestic and foreign students are eligible for free college tuition in Argentina. Free tuition is only offered for undergraduate courses at public universities, though. Private university students are still required to pay tuition. Anyone interested in studying in Argentina should take advantage of this offer.
One of the nations that offers free higher education to all students, including those from abroad, is Brazil. The public university system in the nation is funded by the national government. High-achieving applicants receive free admission to these federal universities. However, because the classes are taught in Portuguese, only native speakers are eligible for the free college.
Residents can attend public universities in Egypt for free. Tuition is charged to international students and those who attend private universities. However, international students pay very reasonable tuition rates at public universities in Egypt. An international student's degree can cost as little as $7,000 in Egypt, according to a 2019 report.
A Greek university offers a bachelor's degree for free to students from EU nations. Greek undergraduate programs typically cost about $1,600 per year to enroll in for foreign students. Graduate programs in English are also available at Greek universities for non-native speakers.
Overview: There are seven universities in Iceland, and several of them provide free college tuition to all students, regardless of their nationality. Around 5% of Iceland's college population consists of foreigners. Iceland's private universities have tuition fees, in contrast to the country's public universities.
Ireland is located on the island of Great Britain and is renowned for its cultural and literary heritage. More than 800 million Euros are typically invested annually by the country in its higher education system.
As a result, all citizens of Ireland and the European Union are eligible for fully funded university education. There are a number of scholarships that provide full tuition coverage for students who are not local. In this regard, the advice of any competent consultant would serve you better. You can get a free education at many different Irish universities, including the University of Limerick, the Cork Institute of Technology, and the Dublin Business of School.
Residents of Kenya can attend college for very little money. Kenyan college students paid about $265 annually in tuition at the state's public universities in 2020. College degrees are also affordable to obtain in Kenya for foreign students. Private universities in the nation have higher tuition costs.
Luxembourg, one of the tiniest nations in Europe, didn't have a university until 2003. The University of Luxembourg now provides degree programs with extremely affordable tuition. All students pay less than $500 a year, with first-year students paying less than $1,000. Citizens of Luxembourg are eligible for cost-reimbursing financial aid from the government.
Recently, Malaysia took steps to implement a policy of free college. Although tuition is charged at the nation's public universities, the government provides numerous subsidies to make college free or inexpensive. However, only citizens are eligible for these subsidies. Malaysian universities are still very affordable for international students.
Both citizens and foreigners are eligible for free college tuition at Panama's public universities. This implies that foreign students can enroll for free at any public university in Panama, including the Universidad de Panama. There are private universities in Panama as well as partnerships with American universities, but these schools charge tuition.
Poland provides its citizens and some foreign students with tuition-free higher education at its public institutions. The free software, however, only speaks Polish. For undergraduate degrees, students who are interested in English-language programs typically pay around $2,200 annually. International students are not required to pay tuition for doctoral programs, and all doctoral students are awarded scholarships.
Slovenian citizens and students from other EU nations are not charged tuition at the country's public universities. Additionally, there are no fees for students from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo, Macedonia, or Serbia to attend. For Slovenian bachelor's programs, international students who are not eligible for free tuition pay as little as $2,100 annually.
European and Spanish students can attend public universities in Spain for free. The 50 public universities in Spain charge tuition to outsiders. However, 80% of the cost of international tuition is covered by the government, making college very affordable. Spanish universities accept international students for less than $1,000 per year.
Turkish nationals can attend public universities in Turkey for very affordable tuition. For instance, citizens could enroll in a bachelor's program for as little as $80 a year. International students also benefit from the affordable tuition rates. They pay as little as $280 or $450 per year to enroll in undergraduate Turkish or English programs.
Residents of Uruguay are eligible for free tuition at the country's public universities. International students are not eligible for the free tuition, however. Additionally, Uruguay only has two public universities because it is a smaller nation in South America. Both citizens and foreigners must pay tuition at the nation's private universities.
Want to go abroad for school but can't afford to because of financial concerns? Foreign students need not fret; a number of nations offer tuition-free higher education.Students who are hesitant about pursuing a degree in their home country can take advantage of countries offering free higher education by studying abroad.
Everything you need to know about studying in the top 25 countries with free or cheap higher education was researched by KnowInsiders. All the way from Europe to Asia to Africa It's time to start your academic journey without breaking the bank by learning about the best countries for free education.
The cost of education in many countries is covered by exchange programs. In addition to allowing students to take classes at a foreign university, study abroad programs offer invaluable cultural immersion opportunities.
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