In the last few years, there have been major changes regarding tuition at a whole bunch of higher education systems in Europe. To put it simply, some European countries completely abolished their fees for public universities whereas others lowered them to a minimal cost. So without further a due, are you ready to find out where you can study in Europe for free, or at least almost for free? Let’s see!
Starting alphabetically, Austria is one of the first examples of a European country where you can study a Masters degree completely free of charge. Since 2008, the Austrian government has banished the tuition fees at public universities for all students coming from the EU or EEA.
For students from third countries, however, there is a legally set amount of €726.72 per semester, that is required at most state institutions. But presuming that you can find a scholarship, then there is only one cost left – the ÖH-Beitrag, which is mandatory regardless of nationality. Expecting big figures? Not really, only the whooping €19.20 per semester, which include a membership for the student union and an insurance against accidents. Look up for your dream Masters in Austria now!
Next on our list we have the Danes and their rapidly growing higher education system. Rapidly growing? Well, yes, as Danish universities are nowadays considered on a par with other leading European universities. And if you are wondering how this was achieved: with the introduction of English-taught courses, innovative teaching methods and, of course, no cost tuition model. No cost tuition model for EU/EEA or Swiss students that is, with internationals still having to deal with fees – in the area of €4500 per year, all applying for state education.
Note: Before you get pushed back by the general tuition fees for an international student, keep in mind that these are still relatively affordable, especially with the high living standard in Denmark. However, the Danish government does offer a lot of grants and scholarships, and there are also programmes like Nordplus, Erasmus+, Erasmus Mundus that can give you some options!
A quick look at the latest ranking shows us that 4 universities from Denmark are placed in the Top 200, according to THE’s World University Rankings for 2019. And if that doesn’t sounds like an achievement, you should know that there are only 8 Danish universities, in total. Eight!
It looks like Nordic countries are really stealing the stage here! On a serious note though, Finland is one of the less popular study destinations in Europe, that usually raises some eyebrows. But with more than 400 study programmes delivered in English and interesting fields like Business, IT & Telecommunications and Engineering, the lack of tuition fees only seems like the icing of the cake, doesn’t it?
Unlike in our previous examples, however, internationals can take a deep breath – a free of charge Masters is officially possible, but you would have to choose a programme either in Finnish or Swedish in order to be eligible. How much better can it get – no tuition fees, a whole new language to learn and a top-quality Masters! Students from the EU, EEA or Switzerland are also excluded from paying, but can take advantage of study opportunities in English. Oh, a small annual student fee of no more than €100 is required from all students, but it includes discounts for food and the public transport in return!
From one major study destination to the next, Germany is our next contender for the best free-of-charge study destinations in Europe. And we have a serious challenger here – with top ranked universities, groundbreaking study modes, such as cooperative studies, and second-to-none industry relations. Fun fact here – combining both public and private universities, there are more than 500 higher education institutions in Germany!
And of course, there is affordability – you can study a Masters in “the land of ideas” completely for free just like every German national. This is, of course, for state-funded institutions, which only charge a semester contribution ranging from €120 to €300. Similarly to Finland, this payment also secures you some advantages – like a free public transport ticket for your chosen state. However, keep in mind that the state Baden-Württemberg does apply tuition fees, but only for international students – exactly €1500 per semester.
Icelanders – they just can’t stop surprising us. After their heroic performances in the most recent football tournaments, it is time to learn about one more particular area, in which Iceland has a lot to offer. For starters, it is good to know that there are only a total of 7 Icelandic universities, with around 5% of the recent students also being international!
Furthermore, most universities have established cooperation with partners allowing them to introduce no cost Masters programmes, like for example Viking and Medieval Norse Studies offered by the University of Iceland. Interestingly enough, state universities do not charge tuition fees at all – but instead have a registration fee that is in the area of €500-€600 paid each year. For those who are seeking ways to not pay at all, the Icelandic government has also got scholarships running for many nationalities. Cool as ice! Get it?
Guys, we are seriously not joking, the North is taking us over here! And since you already know the drill, let’s start with this – there are no tuition costs at public Norwegian universities for any nationalities! As a matter of fact, almost everyone except the locals is considered an international there, as Norway is not even in the European Union.
What is more, Norwegian higher education is no step back from reality – a Masters taught in English is easily possible. Certain areas of study like Agriculture and Science & Mathematics can offer you unique subjects to focus on, but keep your eyes open for studies including field trips. Why? Because Norway is all about nature – beautiful big mountains, fjords, the Northern lights… so dreamy!
If you’ve thought that Poland has no academic traditions, then look up some history – you will find the Jagiellonian University, which was established back in 1364. Indeed, the Poles have great pride in their higher education and even boast 6 Nobel Prize winners. With over 400 universities and more than 700 entirely English-taught programmes, it is easy to say that Poland is more than competitive.
And that is also visible by looking at their tuition fees – every student coming from the EU or EEA can benefit from free education at public universities, as long as it is in Polish. Foreign students, on the contrary, are charged with tuition fees starting from around €2000 per year for a general degree. See if the Polish National Agency for Academic exchange can help you with some Erasmus+ opportunities, in case you are not up for any payments or particularly learning Polish.
No words. Let’s just cut to the chase, shall we? Sweden has recently started to climb up the rankings more intensively in the world of higher education, with a total of 7 Swedish universities present in the Top 250 according to Times Higher Education’s World University rankings for 2019. More importantly, English Masters have been expanded, and post-studies career opportunities have become more possible and even global.
And here comes that part again – all students from the EU/EEA and Switzerland are exempt from tuition fees at state-funded universities, while internationals can either make use of one of several scholarships or go for a Masters programme in the field of Humanities and Social Sciences for SEK 70,000 to SEK 110,000 per year. Converting that in EUR might seem like a big figure, but don’t forget about the standard!
Lastly, we have a Mediterranean country that might suit your interest, especially as an EU student who can still find Masters courses offered in Greece for free! Even if you are from a third country, you can expect very low required payment around €1500, which, combined with reasonable living costs and a completely different cultural and environmental experience, can be classified as a deal!