Is Education Actually Free in Europe?
Some countries in Europe offer free education (almost free as there might be some minimal fees you have to pay such as living costs, health, and travel). International students are also included in free education. You are allowed to work 20 hrs/week (in most countries) and many courses are offered in English.
Here are 8 European Countries with virtually free tuition fee
International students flock to Norway to study as they get a high-quality education at little or no cost. The Norwegian government finances education with taxpayers' money so international students along with native students can enjoy a free ride at state universities. In Norway, there are eight universities, twenty state university colleges, and sixteen private colleges. The University of Oslo, University of Bergen, University of Stavanger, Norwegian University of Life Sciences (UMB), University of Agder (UiA), and the University of Nordland are some of the tuition-free universities in the country.
However, the catch with studying in Norway is that living expenses can be quite high with NOK 8,900 (approx. 1,200 GBP) needed just for subsistence per month. This will cover room and board, clothing, healthcare, transport, and miscellaneous expenses.
Up until 2010, Sweden had been one of the few European nations that had no tuition fees. It did not matter what your nationality was as Swedish taxpayers would foot the bill. But all good things come to an end, and in 2010, the Swedish parliament passed a law to charge tuition and application fees for non-EU/EEA students. At the same time, scholarship programs were offered.
Even though there are no tuition free universities in Sweden anymore, a large number of these institutions offer full scholarships (tuition waivers, etc. actually ) for international students.
Top Tuition Free Swedish Universities
- Lund University
- Halmstad University
- Uppsala University
- Stockholm University
- Stockholm School of Economics
- Jonkoping University
- Uppsala University
Germany is one of the few countries that offer free college tuition to all students enrolled in state higher education institutions regardless of nationality. One exception is the federal state of Baden-Württemberg, which started charging non-EU citizens tuition fees of 1,500 euros per semester in the 2017-18 winter semester. Germany has made an effort to increase its courses taught in English and admission to many universities does not require proof of German skills. The cost of living averages 850 euros per month. Additionally, as of 2020, international students looking to study in Germany must deposit 10,236 euros into a blocked account that they can withdraw from every month. Universities have only recently started charging tuition fees for undergraduate study programs. Right now, just 4 out of 16 Federal States - Baden-Wurttemberg, Bavaria, Hamburg, and Lower Saxony- charge tuition fees that are as little as 500 Euros per semester. All other federal states just request a small semester contribution of around 50 Euros with no tuition fees charged.
Tuition fees are charged for Master's programs. The fees range from 650 Euros to 3,000 Euros per Semester. The estimated cost of studying and living in Germany is much less compared to most European countries.
Public universities in Iceland do not charge tuition fees, and this applies to all students regardless of nationality. However, the cost of living is relatively high, estimated at 189,875 ISK (about 1,500 USD) per month for an individual living in Reykjavík. Additionally, it may be difficult to find courses offered entirely in English at the bachelor’s degree level: although many universities offer programs in English, these tend to be master’s and Ph.D. programs. If you don’t speak Icelandic, it is recommended that you contact the university in question to make sure there will be plenty of course offerings for you to choose from.
Education in Austria is not tuition-free, but tuition and fees are quite low! College tuition for students from EU/EEA member countries is free for two semesters, after which students must pay 363.36 euros per semester. Other international students generally pay 726.72 euros per semester. All students must pay the student union membership fee "ÖH-Beitrag" and the student accident insurance fee, which is 19.20 euros per semester. Note that these tuition policies only apply to public Universities and Universities of the Arts—Universities of Applied Sciences and private institutions are entitled to charge tuition fees. The cost of living in Austria is estimated at 950 euros per month. Some top-ranked Universities are the University of Vienna, Medical University of Vienna, University of Innsbruck, and Vienna University of Technology.
Education in Greece is also free for EEU nationals (for most programs), and even international tuition/fees are quite low as compared to many other countries (like the US, Canada, UK, and Australia). In Greece, public institutions of higher education offer free college tuition to first cycle (bachelor’s degree) students from EU/EEA member countries. Non-EU students pay an average tuition fee of 1,500 euros per year, which includes the course textbooks. In addition, the cost of living is relatively low, estimated at 450 to 700 euros per month. There is one downside: unlike other countries on this list, Greece requires its applicants to be proficient in the Greek language to enroll in its universities. Students who do not hold a language certificate will not be able to enroll.
Education in France is not free but tuition fee is quite low. If you are from the EU region or French national you will be paying a few hundred euros for your tuition which is quite low! European students pay 170 euros per year for a bachelor’s degree and 243 euros per year for a master’s degree while non-Europeans pay 2,770 euros per year for a bachelor’s degree and 3,770 euros per year for a master’s degree. Some non-EU students, including residents of Quebec and international students enrolled in a doctoral program, are eligible to pay fees identical to those paid by French and EU students (the tuition fee for a doctoral degree is 380 euros per year). The cost of living in France is estimated at 600 to 800 euros per month to cover food, transport, and housing expenses.
In Poland, students from EU/EEA member countries studying full-time at state Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) do not pay tuition fees. Other international students pay on average 2,000 euros per year. One reason why Poland is becoming a popular destination among international students is that the cost of living is relatively low, estimated at 350-550 euros per month, a fraction of the price you might pay in other European countries. Poland is home to 118 HEIs and offers more than 800 programs in English.
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