Studying in Europe can be a dream come true, and the fact that some of the best universities in Europe offer free tuition or very low tuition costs could make that dream a reality. Several countries such as Austria, France, Germany, and Norway offer free tuition programs or low student fees for domestic and international students.
Universities in Austria
Most universities in Austria charge €0 to €726.72 euros per semester based on citizenship and length of enrollment. For instance, Austrian and EU/EEA (domestic students) do not pay any fees for the first two semesters. After the first two semesters, domestic students pay €363.36 euros per semester.
International students who want to study in Austria will need to pay €726.72 euros per semester plus student union and insurance fees of €20.20 euros per semester. Exemptions exist for students from certain countries, scholarship winners, and those participating in exchange programs.
Universities of Applied Sciences and private universities require tuition and student fees. The fees depend on the university and academic program. See Study in Austria for a list of Austrian universities and other institutions.
Universities in France
The French government subsidizes most public universities in France. For French and EU/EEA students, the government pays most of the cost of the academic program, however there are some registration fees which are required. Registration fees for French and EU/EEA students are currently set at:
- €170 per year at the licence (bachelor) level
- €243 per year at the master level
- €601 per year in a school of engineering (except for certain programs requiring €2500)
- €380 per year at the doctoral level
For international students, the French government covers 2/3 of the total costs. Current costs for international students include:
- €2,770 per year at the licence (bachelor) level
- €3,770 per year at the master level
- €380 per year at the doctoral level
Business schools and private universities charge different rates, therefore you are encouraged to contact these schools directly for information on their programs. See Campus France for information on French universities and institutions.
> You may also want to read: How to Study University in France
Universities in Germany
The majority of public universities in Germany do not charge tuition fees for bachelor’s and master’s programs. However, German universities require student fees, which include student support services (Studentenwerk) and the students’ representative body (AStA). These student fees depend on the university and can range from €100 to €350 euros per semester.
Student fees also include the cost of a “Semesterticket”: This is a travel pass that provides public transportation in the area and cost between €25 euros to €200 euros depending on the area.
Additionally, some specialized graduate programs taught in English may charge additional fees. German private universities charge tuition fees depending on the academic program. See Study in Germany for more information on German universities and general information for international students.
Universities in Norway
Norwegian public universities do not charge tuition fees to domestic or international students. The Norwegian government has prioritized funding to higher education institutions to give access to all students regardless of nationality. However, the cost of living in Norway is very high, and international students need to have enough funds (NOK 126 357 per year or approximately $14,000 USD per year) for living expenses to obtain a student residence permit.
International students are allowed to work part-time (20 hours per week) while studying in Norway. This can help subsidize living expenses, however, international students cannot rely on their part-time earnings to qualify for a student permit. There are also several scholarships and grants available. For more information on universities in Norway and information for international students, visit Study in Norway.
Studying in Europe and getting a quality university degree without going into debt is definitely possible, but you need to start planning and preparing for your future. With some creativity, persistence and dedication, you can achieve your goals.
You may also be interested on this list published by Scholarships for Development:
Tuition-Free Colleges and Universities for International Students