Get your higher education for free (or almost) in these countries

Ever fantasised about studying abroad, but don’t happen to have a stack of free cash waiting to be spent? Don’t give up on those studying abroad dreams just yet. Believe it or not, there is such a thing as free and supremely low cost higher education for international students.

So, whether you’re looking to do undergraduate or post-graduate studies while being a global citizen, consider these countries that shave off a huge chunk of expenses for you.



Germany is a popular choice amongst international students looking for high-quality and low-cost education.  With vibrant cities and no lack of natural beauty, Germany should well be on your list of options.

Tuition fees

As of October 2014, all German universities do not charge any tuition fees for undergraduate studies for all students, including international students. There may be nominal administrative and semester fees.

While post-graduate studies are fee-based, many offer affordable tuition fees and there are also a good number of scholarships that you can apply for.


There are more courses today that are being taught in English, especially so at the post-graduate levels.  Certainly, a knowledge of German is highly recommended if you want to live there, but you can take language classes while enrolling in programs where English is the medium of instruction.

You can use this useful link to search for English courses at Bachelors, Masters, or PHD levels.

Living Costs

Living costs in Germany vary according to where you live, and western cities tend to be more costly. With the weak Euro, it wouldn’t be surprising to find that living in Germany is cheaper than in Singapore. You should have no problems getting by with 900 Euros a month or even less, including rent.



Norway is a beautiful country that may have you skirting off to take in its breathtaking sights every holiday you get.  While you can study for free in its high-quality institutions, standard of living is high in this Scandinavian country.

Tuition fees

International students can enjoy free tuition at most state universities, from undergraduate studies to PhD programs.  Expect to pay semester fees of NOK 300-600 (approx. SGD 50-100), which allows you to take exams and enjoy campus health services, among other benefits.


Like Germany, there are more undergraduate and postgraduate programs that are being taught in English. You don’t need to know Norwegian to survive in the country since people, especially the young, speak English.  However, it pays to learn the language, since being able to speak in Norwegian also means that you can communicate with the Danes and Swedes, and read Swedish and Danish texts.

And this really means that you can impress your friends and family when you shop in Ikea and pronounce the furniture names correctly.

Check out this list to search for courses that you are interested in.

Living Costs

Norway is one expensive place to live in, but not to the extent that it would negate the savings that you get from waived tuition fees. The Norwegian Immigration Directorate estimates that you need NOK 9 250 a month (approx. SGD 1600) to cover your expenses as a student in Norway.



If living in Scandinavia is your dream but you don’t want to break your heart every time you reach for your wallet to pay for a coffee, then Finland offers relatively good value and a solid higher education system.  Not to forget, Finland is also incredibly beautiful and you can study in a laid-back environment that’s close to nature.

Tuition fees

Higher education is tuition-free in Finland for international students at Bachelors, Masters, and Doctorate levels.  There are exceptions, for example, the Executive MBA degrees.


There are over 500 higher education degree programs that are taught in English.  You can use this database to search for programs with English as the medium of instruction.

Although you can find complete degree programs in English, learning Finnish is a good way to feel more integrated, and is also important if you want to work part-time during your studies and to find employment after.

Living Costs

The recommended budget to live as a student in Finland is between 700-900 Euros a month.  This is a lot lower than living costs in other Northern European countries, and that means you have more margin in your budget to travel and explore the country.

Whether you’re looking to get into a research and doctorate program or are looking to get your first bachelor degree, further education abroad may not necessarily land you further in debt if you do your budgeting and research.

Good luck in the classroom!

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