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5 European countries with free higher education (including for foreign students)

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5 European countries with free higher education (including for foreign students)

Going to a university abroad is a dream of many foreign students, but for the most part, it remains a dream because of high tuition prices. Living abroad, paying for housing and meals are expensive, but the main expenses are tuition fees, ranging from 10,000 $ to 100,000 $ per year. There are scholarships for foreign students some universities are developing a support system to attract students from abroad, but if you are not sure of your academic success, then consider European countries with free higher education for everyone.

A number of European countries offer free tuition at prestigious universities, and some of them do not limit the number of students to EU citizens. So, Germany, France, Norway, Austria and the Czech Republic do not charge for tuition at state universities. Of course, there are nuances: you need to know the state language, pay student fees, but compared to the average fees in American, English or even Italian universities it turns out a little. Let's dwell in more detail on each of the countries with free education for foreign students.

How to get higher education in Germany for free

Interest in studying at higher educational institutions in Germany continues to grow. This is due to the fact that in most German state universities there are no tuition fees for German / foreign students regardless of their nationality. To cover administrative expenses, a small nominal tuition fee of about 150-250 € is charged.

The exception is the state of Baden-Württemberg in southwestern Germany, which introduced tuition fees for students from countries outside the EU / EEA in the fall of 2017. The cost of education there is 1,500 € / semester. For undergraduates and those who receive a second degree, the fee is reduced to 650 €.

The low cost of education combined with a strong economy and an excellent system of higher education makes the prospect of studying in Germany extremely attractive for students and parents all over the world. More than 40 German universities are among the world leaders in the QS World University Rankings ranking, second only to the United States and Great Britain, and the top places in the world rankings are held by the Technical University of Munich.

How to enter German universities on a budget? For foreign students, it would be best to finish a local school, then Studienkolleg (a preparatory course for applicants in Germany), pass a language exam in German, and then apply. Another option is to unlearn 2 courses at a university, obtain a certificate of knowledge of German, and enroll in a bachelor's degree at a German university.

Have you entered Germany University for free? Hooray, congratulations! But you will need a budget for accommodation. Obtaining a German student visa will require confirmation of the amount of 10,236 € / year to pay the rent.

Where to go to study? The 2 most popular student destinations in Germany are Munich and Berlin: they entered the TOP-30 most accessible cities for studying at QS Best Student Cities 2019.

TOP-5 German universities:

Studying in France for free

France offers foreign students the opportunity to study at its universities for free or at a symbolic cost regardless of citizenship, but it is not in such demand on the international educational market as Germany. Technically, university fees in France exist, but French state universities charge a small portion of the fee - about 170 € for bachelors. From the 2019/20 school year, non-EU / EEA students started paying more - 2,770 € per year, but the French government will triple the number of scholarships granted to foreign students, ranging from 7,000 € to 21,000 €. Additional costs can increase the cost of education when choosing specialized programs (medicine, engineering), but not significantly.

Most programs offering the opportunity to study in France for free are taught in French, but every year there are more and more opportunities to study in English for masters. Before entering French universities, it is necessary to take preparatory courses, pass a language exam or unlearn 2 courses on the undergraduate program in your country.

Living expenses in France seem affordable in comparison with Britain or the USA, and amount to about 9,600 € / year. It is expected that the cost of living in Paris will be higher than, for example, in Lyon.

TOP-5 universities in France:

Norway and Iceland

Norway offers free university education for all students, regardless of level of education or nationality. The student fee is 300-600 NOK. Most undergraduate programs are taught only in Norwegian, so international students must prove their language proficiency. Master and doctoral courses are much more often conducted in English, while students are charged the same small fee.

Norway attracts romantics and lovers of northern nature, it is famous for the mountains, the coastline of the fjords, maritime history. This popular international study area offers a good selection of universities, including four on the QS World University Rankings® 2019 list:

When choosing to study in Norway, consider one caveat: the cost of living in Northern Europe is one of the highest on the continent. This is largely due to the healthy economy of the region and a strong currency, so students will have to pay for a high standard of living - Oslo is one of the best student cities in the world.

Another country in Northern Europe that attracts students with the beauty of nature and the opportunity to get a free education is Iceland. Four state universities do not charge tuition here:

  • University of Iceland
  • Agricultural University of Iceland
  • Hólar University College
  • University of Akureyri.

None of these state universities charge a tuition fee, but an annual registration fee of 75,000 ISK (~ 477.38 €) per year must be paid.

Iceland is a popular tourist destination: travelers are attracted by stunning natural landscapes and cultural attractions of the capital. Reykjavik is famous for its architecture, vibrant music scene, nightlife.

Czech Republic

The Czech Republic is another country where Czech-speaking students can study at higher schools for free, and English programs are relatively inexpensive - from 4,000 € to 12,000 €. For some foreign students, the Czech Republic is doubly attractive: for example, geographically, the Czech Republic is close to Russia (which means air travel costs reasonable money and students can fly home), and Czech is not so difficult for Russian-speaking students to learn. The cost of living here is more affordable than in many countries of Western Europe, and is approximately 8,300 € per year. The capital of the Czech Republic, Prague, occupies 35th place in the ranking of the best student cities of QS.

Today, the Czech Republic is becoming an increasingly popular destination for foreign students: more than 44,000 students from other countries study here. Czech medical education is in great demand - it is very expensive all over the world, here it remains of high quality, but cheaper than in the USA or Western Europe, and gives the right to work all over the world.

Advantages of studying in the Czech Republic: reputable universities, affordable tuition fees, low expenses for accommodation and meals, vibrant cultural life, historical atmosphere, preserved medieval architecture.

The 600-year-old Czech higher education system includes more than 70 universities, of which 2/3 are private. 18 Czech universities are in the TOP-300 QS EECA 2018 ranking - a specialized ranking of the best universities in emerging markets and Central Asia. Five of Czech universities are included in QS World University Rankings® 2018:

Austria - education at a very low price (student fee)

Another European country where students can study for free (or at a very low price) is Austria. EU / EEA students enjoy the same rights as Austrians when it comes to the cost of higher education, and can study for free at any level. Student fee - 363 € / semester, foreign students from outside the Eurozone pay more, but the amount is also acceptable - about 726 €. Average housing prices - 11,400 € per year.

Vienna, the capital of Austria, took 13th place in the ranking of the best student cities of QS-2019. This country brought the world great composers, thinkers, actors and politicians: today, the cultural life of Austria attracts tourists along with the beauty of the Alps, small towns and a high standard of living.

7 Austrian universities are represented in QS World University Rankings® 2018, of which five are in the TOP-500 best in the world:

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