A Guide to Tuition-Free Colleges and Universities for International Students
Last updated: 31 Mar 2014
If you fail to qualify for fully-funded university scholarships, consider enrolling in universities that are tuition free or universities offering tuition fee scholarships. Although not as many as before, there still are countries that offer free tuition for international students. scholars4dev.com has compiled information and provided links to tuition-free Colleges and Universities in these countries.
Tuition Free Universities in Finland
Since university education is funded by the State through the Ministry of Education, students enrolled in regular degree studies pay no tuition fees with exceptions. If you are enrolled as a non-EU/EEA degree student in a Bachelor’s or Doctoral level programme, the higher education institution will not charge tuition fees. However, students in both universities and polytechnics have to pay for their books and other materials, plus their accommodation and living expenses.
Most Master’s level programmes are free of charge as well, however, a number of them may carry tuition fees for non-EU/EEA students during a five-year trial period 2010–2014. Depending on the programme, tuition fees may be collected starting from autumn 2010, 2011 or 2012.
Update: The tuition fee trial period in Finland 2010-2014 is drawing to a close. After this trial period, it is likely that most universities will not charge tuition fees in Finnish higher education degrees starting in autumn 2014, regardless of the level of studies and the nationality of the student. Please note that this might change in the future and some universities may decide to still charge tuition fees. You are advised to visit studyinfinland.fi for updates and follow what the individual higher education institutions say about tuition fees in their programmes by checking the info on their own Admissions pages.
Cost of Studying in Finland: Estimated living expenses of a single student in Finland average around 700 Euros per month.
Tuition Free Universities in Austria
If you are an non-EU student, federal/public universities in Austria only charge about 726.72 Euros for tuition fees plus 17.50 Euros for the Austrian Student Union and insurance fee per semester.
If you are a citizen of a least developed country, you are exempted to pay tuition fees at public universities in Austria and only need to pay 17.50 Euros per semester for the student union fee and insurance.
Cost of Studying in Austria: The cost of living for students in Austria is approximately 800 Euros per month which covers accommodation, food, and personal expenses.
See the list of Universities in Austria
Also see the Austria Grants Database
Tuition Free Universities in Norway
Norwegian state universities and state university colleges as a rule do not charge tuition fees for international students. However, students will need to pay a semester fee of NOK 300-600 ($50-100) each semester.
This is applicable for all levels, including undergraduate studies, Masters programmes and Ph.D. programmes. Note that some state universities and university colleges may have tuition fees for a few specialized programmes. Typically these programmes are at the Masters level.
Most private institutions have tuition fees for all their programmes and courses. But the fees are usually significantly lower than those of comparable studies in most other countries. Also, foreign students don’t pay higher tuition fees than Norwegian students.
Cost of Studying in Norway: You should take into consideration that living expenses in Norway are higher than in many other countries. Living expenses would amount to 89.000 NOK ($15,000) per year.
See the list of Universities and Colleges in Norway
See also the list of Scholarships in Norway for International Students
Tuition Free Universities in Germany
For many years, higher institutions of education in Germany usually do not charge any tuition fees for undergraduate studies. But after the Constitutional Court of Germany lifted the ban on tuition fees in January 2005, a number of Federal states now charge tuition fees for undergraduate students. Postgraduate studies such as most Master’s or PhD charges tuition fees for some time now.
Tuition Fees for Undergraduate Programmes
Since the winter semester 2006/07, German universities are now allowed to charge tuition fees for undergraduate study programmes. As of October 2013, only 1 out of 16 Federal states charge tuition fees of up to 500 Euros per semester. All other federal states only request a certain amount of money as a semester contribution (about 50 euros) but charges no tuition fees. You should check this page for updated information on tuition fees in different federal states in Germany.
Tuition fees for Graduate Programmes
In most cases, you need to pay tuition fee for Master’s programmes. The fees vary between 650 Euros and several thousand Euros per Semester. Aside from the tuition fee, each student has to pay a certain amount as a semester contribution to the university (about 50 Euros).
Cost of Studying in Germany: On average, German students spend about 500-800 Euros for accommodation, transport, food, and miscellaneous expenses.
Also see the list of Scholarships in Germany for International Students.
Tuition Free Universities in Sweden
Up until 2010, Sweden has been one of the few countries in Europe that has not charged any types of fees. All students—regardless of nationality—have been funded by Swedish taxpayers. In 2010, the Swedish parliament has passed a law that charges tuition and application fees for students from non-EU/EEA countries starting 2011/2012 academic year, to be supplemented by scholarship programs.
Thus, application and tuition fees apply for students who are not citizens of an EU/EEA/Nordic country or Switzerland. The tuition fees apply only to bachelor’s and master’s programmes and courses, while PhD programmes are tuition-free. All students who are studying at the doctoral level in Sweden are not required to pay tuition fees.
A significant number of Universities still offer full and partial scholarships in the form of tuition waivers for international students.
Find the list of Universities in Sweden that offers scholarships/tuition waivers
See the list of Scholarships in Sweden for International Students
Online Tuition-Free Universities
Nowadays, you need not to leave your country to benefit from an international education. All you need is a computer and internet connection. Moreover, there are now a number of Universities offering online courses/degree for free.
The first such University is University of the People which is a tuition-free, non-profit, online academic institution dedicated to opening access to higher education globally. University of the People offers online Associate Degree in Management and Computer Science.
This was followed by an initiative of MIT and Harvard called edX which is a learning platform that gives students from any country the opportunity to take free online courses offered by three premier Universities in the US – Harvard, MIT, and UC Berkeley. Online learners can earn a certificate of completion after completing the course.
Following this trend, a social entrepreneurship company introduced Coursera which is an online learning platform that partners with the top universities in the world to offer online courses in many fields of study for anyone to take, for free.
See the list of Universities offering free online courses
- Links to Universities that offer Scholarships for International Students
- List of UK Scholarships for International Students in 2014
- Top 15 Canadian Scholarships for International Students
- A Guide to Scholarship Programs of the World’s Top 100 Universities
- A Guide to Norway Scholarships for International Students
- Top 10 Free Distance Learning Degrees & Courses
- Top 20 Tuition Fee Scholarships for Foreign Students
- Top 10 Short Courses Scholarships for International Students
- Top 10 Scholarships in Asia for International Students
- Top 10 Scholarships in Netherlands for International Students
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