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How to Study Abroad for Free

Studying abroad is a dream for many students. Some may aspire to study abroad to experience a new culture, travel, and enjoy the freedom of being away from home. Others might be interested in the universities renowned globally, because of prospects of a better future than their own country. While the intention may vary, one common concern of everyone is the hefty tuition fees. What if you could study abroad practically for free?

Many students kill their dreams of studying in a foreign university based on the assumption that they will have to spend a fortune on tuition fees and living expenses. 

Completing a degree from countries like the US and the UK may cost around 100,000 USD for many courses, it is not the case with every country renowned for its quality of education. 

In this article, we will uncover how you can study abroad for free or at a highly subsidized cost.

Three ways to study abroad for free 

1. Select the study program and the country that offers free education

While this may seem obvious, many students are unaware of the fact that many universities all over the world provide free or highly affordable education to foreign students. 

For example, students who enroll themselves at Paris’ La Sorbonne only have to pay a modest registration fee of around 200 USD, and no tuition fee. The only limitation is that the applicant should be proficient in French.

The language barrier should not stop you from studying in non-English-speaking nations. 

Many such countries, like Germany, offer courses that are taught in English. For instance, the Technical University of Munich offers an M.Sc. in Software Engineering that has the language of instruction as English.

And you don’t have to spend a penny on tuition fees in most public universities in Germany.

2. Apply for scholarships

This is the most popular method of limiting your expenses for studying abroad.

There are hundreds of scholarships to assist students who aspire to study in foreign universities. Most of them, that offer significant help as money, are competitive. Organizations award these scholarships based on factors like past academic performance, relevant work experience, and involvement in social work. 

Scholarships might cover just the tuition fee, or may pay you a certain amount monthly or annually. We would recommend you to apply for most of the relevant ones, even if you are planning to study in countries that charge no tuition fee. Many organizations who give these scholarships even pay for your living expenses, which makes your education free.  

You can also apply for grants. People use interchangeably the terms grants and scholarships, but there is a slight variation. Grant is mostly need-based, while scholarships are usually merit-based. 

Also check: Full Guide on Study Abroad Scholarships for students 

3. Work and Study programs

Working along with your studies can help you earn and cover your expenses more effectively. It can also help you understand the working culture of the country you are studying in and gain insights before you apply for a job.

We recommend that you check the Labor Laws of the country you are planning to study in, since many countries have work restrictions for international students.

  • While many countries don’t allow you to work full-time, a nation like the United Kingdom allows you to work part-time if you are staying for over 6 months. 
  • If you enroll in an Australian university, the government allows student visa holders to work for 40 hours every two weeks during the duration of studies and full-time when you are on vacation.
  • In Germany, the authorities allow students to work part-time for not over 20 hours per week during an ongoing term. 

The option of working part-time, along with your studies, may look lucrative from a distance but most of these jobs won’t cover your expenses entirely. We recommend that you plan well and stay updated on the country-specific employment laws before finalizing the country for your education. 

10 countries for free study abroad

1. Germany

Germany is the most popular destination among international students who don’t want to spend big bucks while not compromising on the quality of education. 

The country has universities that are ranked among the best globally. 

Most of the German public universities don’t charge a tuition fee. The students only have to pay “Semester Contribution” at the beginning of each semester, which is around 250-300 euros. It covers administrative expenses, public transport, and certain academic study material.

Also Read: MS in Computer Science in Germany.

2. France

It is not as popular among international students tight on budget, as compared to Germany, but offers many courses which charge no tuition fee for national and foreign students. 

The universities teach most of the free courses in French. Be proficient in French if you aspire to enroll in these courses. 

You can pay for a preparatory school, before starting your course, to enhance your French proficiency if you are serious about studying in France.

3. Norway

Most universities don’t require you to pay tuition fees, irrespective of your nationality. Just like Germany, the students only have to pay a semester fee of around 50 USD.

The only downfall is that most of the undergraduate courses have Norwegian as the medium of instruction. English taught courses are still more common at the Masters and the Ph.D. level. 

4. Iceland

The four public universities in the country charge no tuition fee, but only a registration fee of around 600 USD per year.

5. Austria

Education is free or highly affordable in Austria for locals and EU/EEA students. The country requires foreign students to pay a higher fee than the nationals and is around 810 USD per semester.

The country’s capital, Vienna, was ranked 13th in the QS Best Student Cities 2019.

6. Finland

Most of the colleges in Finland charge no tuition fee. This applies to citizens of all nationalities. 

Many courses are now being offered in English, and the cost of living in the country is low compared to the US.

7. Czech Republic

Education at any public university is free for students who can communicate well in Czech. People who want to study in English would have to spend around (4450 to 13500) USD per year.

The living cost in the Czech Republic is around 9200 USD per year.

8. Greece

All the EU/EEA students are eligible for free education for most of the courses at public universities. Non-EU students are also eligible for affordable higher education and have to spend around 1700 USD per year. The country is one of the most affordable countries to live in within the European Union. 

9. Argentina

International students have to pay a low fee while the education is free for the locals at the public universities in Argentina. The private universities in the country may charge north of 5000 USD per year.

The country’s capital, Buenos Aires, was ranked 31st in the QS Best Student Cities 2019.

10. Spain

The international students, not part of the European Union, have to spend around 840 USD to 2800 USD per year at public universities. 

The EU students don’t have to pay high education fees like others. Spanish cities like Barcelona, Madrid are among the QS Best Student Cities. 


Many dream of studying in an international student destination and at a university that is renowned globally. Unfortunately, many students aren’t able to make this dream true because of a lack of funds.

We covered various aspects of studying at a foreign university and discussed a few options. 

Even though scholarships are helpful, most of them will not cover your entire expenses. The ones that take care of most of your expenditures have a very low acceptance rate.

If you are low on a budget or don’t want the burden of an education loan weighing you down mentally,  then you should take admission in any of the German universities. The country is respected internationally for its historical inventions and has renowned public universities that charge no tuition fee.

Book a call with Nistha if you are serious about studying abroad and need help with your application.

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