If you fail to qualify for fully-funded university scholarships, consider enrolling in universities that are tuition free or charge low tuition fees or those offering tuition fee waivers. Countries like Norway, Austria, Germany, Finland, and Sweden offer different types of free/low tuition schemes and tuition waivers for international students.
Tuition Free Universities in Norway
Norwegian state universities and university colleges as a rule do not charge tuition fees to all students including international students. This applies to 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.
Note that some state universities and university colleges may have tuition fees for a few specialized programmes which are typically 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 NOK 90,000-100,000 per year.
Tuition Free Universities in Austria
If you are an non-EU/EEA student, federal/public universities in Austria only charge about 726.72 Euros per semester for tuition fees plus 20.20 Euros per semester for student union membership fee “ÖH-Beitrag” and the student accident insurance fee.
An exemption from paying tuition fees or a full/partial refund of the tuition fees is possible in special cases (e.g. for holders of certain scholarships, for participants in exchange programmes and university partnerships, for students from certain countries). Further information is available at the website of the university directly.
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.
Tuition Free Universities in Germany
As of October 2014, all Universities in Germany except Baden-Württemberg* will not charge any tuition fees for bachelor’s and consecutive master’s degree programs for all students including international students. In some Federal States, Universities will charge a semester contribution (about 50 euros) and/or administration fees (about 50 euros). This tuition fee structure can change in the future, you should check this page for updated information on tuition fees in different federal states in Germany. Currently, the federal state of Baden-Württemberg is charging tuition fees (for Bachelor’s, Master’s, Diplom and state examination degree programmes) of €1,500 per semester for non-EU citizens.
Unlike undergraduate studies, most Master’s studies in Germany come with tuition fees, but they’re not as high as in other countries.
On the other hand, doctoral studies at German universities are in principle free. PhD students are charged tuition only after completing their first six semesters but they are required to pay a semester contribution of approximately 150-200 euros per semester. Doctoral students usually work on a research project (paid PhD position) or receive a scholarship.
Cost of Studying in Germany: On average, German students spend about 500-800 Euros for accommodation, transport, food, and miscellaneous expenses.
Tuition Free Universities and Scholarships in Finland
Tuition fees for non-EU/EEA students has been introduced from autumn 2017 onwards for English-taught Bachelor’s or Master’s programmes. Only Doctoral level studies will remain free of tuition fees, regardless of your nationality.
Finnish universities and UAS’s offer scholarship options for gifted non-EU/EEA students admitted to their fee-charging Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programmes. EDUFI Fellowships are available to cover living expenses for Doctoral studies for up to one academic year.
Cost of Studying in Finland: Estimated living expenses of a single student in Finland average around 700-900 Euros per month.
Tuition Scholarships in Swedish Universities
Application and tuition fees apply for those who are not citizens of an EU/EEA/Nordic country or Switzerland studying at the bachelor’s or master’s level. However, the Swedish Institute and a significant number of Universities offer full and partial scholarships in the form of tuition waivers for international students.
PhD positions in Sweden are usually offered as paid positions by universities or external funding bodies. This means that if you are offered a position as a PhD candidate, you will not pay fees and will receive a monthly salary.