There are universities in certain countries that are either tuition-free, charge low tuition fees or offer tuition fee waivers. Norway, Austria, Germany, Finland, and Sweden are top European countries that offer different types of tuition-free, low-tuition schemes or tuition waivers for international students.
Tuition Free Universities in Norway
According to Studyinnorway.no, Norwegian state universities and university colleges as a rule do not charge tuition fees to all students including international students at all levels of study – undergraduate studies, Masters programs, and Ph.D. programs. Students will, however, have to pay a semester fee of NOK 300-600 per semester.
For a few specialized master’s programs, some state universities and university colleges may have tuition fees. Most private institutions have tuition fees for all their programs and courses, though the fees are usually significantly lower than those of comparable studies in most other countries.
In Norway, there is no discrimination in fees as foreign students pay the same tuition fees as 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.
See the list of Universities and Colleges in Norway
Tuition Free Universities in Austria
According to studyinaustria.at, for non-EU and EEA member country students, federal and public universities in Austria only charge about 726.72 Euros per semester for tuition fees plus 20.20 Euros per semester for the student union membership fee “ÖH-Beitrag” and the student accident insurance fee which is compulsory for all students.
However in special cases (such as holders of certain scholarships, participants in exchange programs and university partnerships, and students from certain countries), an exemption from paying tuition fees, a full or partial refund of the tuition fees is possible. Information on these special cases is available on the website of the university.
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 Higher Education Institutions in Austria
Tuition Free Universities in Germany
Universities in Germany except Baden-Württemberg* as of 2014, will not charge any tuition fees for bachelor’s and consecutive master’s degree programs for all students including international students, according to internationale-studierende.de, study-in.de. Some federal state-owned universities will charge a semester contribution (of about 50 euros) and/or administration fees (of about 50 euros).
You should check this page for updates, as this tuition fee structure can be modified in the future. At present the federal state of Baden-Württemberg is charging tuition fees (for Bachelor’s, Master’s, Diploma, and state examination degree programs) of €1,500 per semester for non-EU citizens.
In Germany, most Master’s studies unlike undergraduate studies come with tuition fees, however, they are lower than in other countries. But in principle, doctorate studies at German universities are 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. They usually work on a research project (paid Ph.D. position) or receive a scholarship.
Cost of Studying in Germany: German students spend about 500-800 Euros on average for accommodation, transport, food, and miscellaneous expenses.
See the list of German Universities and Colleges.
Tuition Free Universities and Scholarships in Finland
In Finland, tuition fees for non-EU and EEA member states’ students were introduced from autumn 2017 onwards for English-taught Bachelor’s or Master’s programs. However, Doctoral level studies will remain free of tuition fees, for both Finish and international students, according to studyinfinland.fi.
Finnish universities offer scholarship options for gifted non-EU and EEA member states students admitted to their fee-charging Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programs. 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.
See the list of Scholarships in Finland
Tuition Scholarships in Swedish Universities
Students who are not citizens of an EU/EEA/Nordic country or Switzerland studying at the bachelor’s or master’s degree level are to pay application and tuition fees according to studyinsweden.se.
However, international students at the Swedish Institute and some universities may get a full or partial scholarship in the form of tuition waivers.
Ph.D. students in Sweden usually do not pay fees and will receive a monthly salary as the position is usually offered by universities and external funding organizations as a paid position.
Find the list of Universities in Sweden that offers scholarships/tuition waivers
Online Tuition-Free Universities
There are universities that offer online degrees/courses for free. The University of the People is a non-profit, tuition-free, accredited online university with the objective of increasing global access to higher education.
The University of the People offers online Associates and Bachelors Degrees in Business Administration, Health Science, and Computer Science, and also an MBA program.
Also, there is edX set up by MIT and Harvard which is a learning platform that offers students from any country the opportunity to take free online courses offered by three premier Universities in the US – Harvard, MIT, and UC Berkeley and about 50 other Universities and institutions.