5 Countries Offering Free Tuition & Scholarships to International Students in 2021
Did you know that there are universities in certain countries which offer tuition FREE admission to international students in 2018? There are also universities whose tuition fees are easily affordable.
Surprisingly, many of these schools still offer scholarships to complement the income of their students.
While university fees continue to rise in many parts of the world, discouraged students among some of us might be thinking that getting a recognized degree or qualification abroad is impossible without a loaded dollar/ euros bank account at your disposal, or without obtaining a scholarship.
Some countries simply believe the education of a student should not depend on the financial capacity of the parents. Countries like Germany, Norway, Finland, Austria and Iceland offer various free/low tuition schemes to international students. AfterSchoolAfrica has compiled information about these countries offering free tuition and possibly scholarships.
Interest in foreign study in Germany seems to be growing. This is largely due to the fact that there are no undergraduate tuition fees at public universities in Germany, and this applies to both German students and internationals, regardless of nationality. Gemany notably also hosts many of the online universities that are tuition free.
For both undergraduate and graduate degrees, you can study for free in public German universities. This is generally true for international students worldwide, inside, or outside the EU/EEA zone. The only fees required are called “administrative fees” that cost around 100 – 200 EUR/year and they are dedicated to student services, covering costs for bus tickets to the university, student cafeterias and more.
Every year, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD: Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst) provides financial support to over 120,000 highly-qualified German and international students to live and study in Germany for free or at a more affordable cost. The scholarships to study in Germany are offered to domestic and international students of all levels, as well as academics and researchers.
According to Studyinnorway.no, students at state universities and university colleges do not pay tuition fees (private universities may have a different standard). This is true for all levels, including undergraduate studies, Masters programmes and Ph.D. programmes. However, students will have to pay a semester fee of NOK 300-600 each semester. In order to take an exam this fee will have to be paid in full. But the fee also grants you membership in the local student welfare organisation, which in turn entitles you to several benefits. These benefits may include on campus health services, counselling, access to sports facilities and cultural activities.
Payment of the semester fee is also neccessary to get an official student card that, among other things, gives you reduced fares on most forms of public transport and lower ticket prices to various cultural events.
The majority of undergraduate programs are taught only in Norwegian, and international students need to demonstrate proof of proficiency in Norwegian in order to study at this level. At master’s and PhD level, English language programs are far more common and free tuition still applies.
Generally, Northern European nations (known as the Nordic countries), Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden all offer opportunities to study free or at low cost. For the sake of specificity, only two (2) of these countries will be mentioned in this article.
Formerly tuition fees in Finland were completely free. However, starting from autumn 2017, tuition fees which will be a minimum of €1,500 (~US$1,600) per year, are now charged to non-EU students. Only Doctoral level studies will remain free of tuition fees, regardless of your nationality. The extent of the fee depends on the degree programme.
For Austrian students and students who have the same status as Austrians (i.e. nationals of all EU and EEA member countries) and who have not exceeded the minimum duration of their study programme plus two semesters, no fee is payable. After the two semesters of tolerance, you have to pay € 363.36 each semester.
For all other students from third countries (who are in possession of a residence permit for students) € 726.72 per semester is required. All other degree programme students from third countries (especially
those who have a residence title other than a “residence permit student”(or belong to a specific group of persons), € 363.36 per semester is usually paid after the tuition fee-free period. An exemption from paying tuition fees is possible in special cases (e.g. for participants in exchange programmes and university partnerships, students from the least developed countries).
In Iceland, tuition fees are not paid at public universities. However, students have to pay a non-refundable ‘application fee’. The cost of the application fee is often between 250 to 650 euros.
For students who choose to study at private higher education institutions, they will need to pay both tuition and registration fees. Private higher education institutions charge tuition fees but the fees charged are low when compared to other European institutions.
The fees charged by private higher education institutions in Iceland vary but usually range between 4500 to 8000 pounds depending on the courses chosen by students.