Top 7 Countries Offering Free Education to International Students in 2021

To study abroad means to have the opportunity to get to meet new people, know new cultures, taste new foods, visit different places and learn many more new things along the way.

However, leaving your home country and heading to another country to start your studies can sometimes be a complicated process and even cause difficulties for students to achieve the goal due to high university costs.

The good news is that there are many countries across the world where higher education is free of charge and students have to pay only the administration fees.

According to the education search platform Erudera.com, the top 7 countries offering free education to international students as of 2021 are:

1. Germany

Germany is one of the most popular study destinations among international students, renowned mainly for its free education. International and domestic students pursuing studies at German public universities are not required to pay tuition fees. Nevertheless, some universities ask students to pay an amount of €150-400 to cover the administration costs, depending on the university and the program.

Furthermore, if students come from a country where a student visa is needed, they must prove that they have a budget of €10,236 per year or €850 per month for living expenses.

In addition to free education, German universities are also known for their quality of education. Over 40 universities in Germany have ranked among the best world universities in World University Rankings.

Some of the top cities to study in Germany in 2021 are:

  • Berlin
  • Stuttgart
  • Hamburg
  • Leipzig
  • Bonn
  • Dresden

In 2019, the top study destinations in Germany were Munich and Berlin, which ranked among the most affordable cities for international students.

2. Czech Republic

Often referred to as “the heart of Europe”, the Czech Republic is another country that offers free education to international students. Higher education at the country’s state universities is free of charge for all students, regardless of their nationality. However, in order to benefit from the free tuition fees at any public university, students must know the local language.

Those who want to study in the English language need to pay €4,000-12,000 as tuition fee per year. According to 2020 data from the Czech Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports, the number of international students in the Czech Republic increased from 46,351 students in 2019 to 50,121 in 2020.

3. Norway

There are no tuition fees at public universities and colleges in Norway, but students are required to pay a small fee for registration. Differently, at private universities, students have to pay tuition fees, which depend on the institution and the degree.  

Despite the country being an expensive place to live in, free education has put Norway on the list of the most popular countries among international students. The country’s public universities are funded by the government; therefore, international students can access free education.

Graduate, post-graduate, and doctorate level programs at Norwegian universities are also free, regardless of students’ nationality, but the latter must be proficient in Norwegian due to lessons provided in the language.

4. Finland

The Finnish education system is also considered among the best in the whole world. Many universities in the country offer free education as they are financed by the government.

Students coming from EU countries can study for free in Finland at any program, while non-EU students who want to study in English must pay tuition fees. Students should only make sure they have a sufficient budget to cover their accommodation, living expenses, books, and other expenses.

5. Sweden

The majority of universities in Sweden are public, and EU/EEA and Switzerland students are not charged tuition fees to pursue Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, with the exception of non-EU students who must pay to study in Sweden.

PhD students, on the other hand, regardless of their country, can study for free in Sweden and also benefit from the financial support provided by the country for their research work.

The most popular universities in Sweden are:

  • Stockholm University
  • Uppsala University
  • Karolinska Institutet

6. Greece

EU/EEA students can study for free at public higher education institutions in Greece, with the exception of some master’s programs.

As per international students coming from countries outside the European Union, they can study in the country at a low cost. Greece is also one of the most affordable countries in the EU to live in.

7. Brazil

International students wishing to study abroad for free can also consider the largest country in Latin America and the fifth largest country in the world, Brazil.

In Brazil, domestic and international students can study for free at most public universities and will have to pay only the registration fees. Whereas, at private higher education institutions, the amount that students have to pay depends on the university and the degree program that a student chooses.

Prior to applying to any university in Brazil, students should undergo an exam through which they demonstrate that they know the Portuguese language. Brazil is also considered an affordable country for students because the costs for food and transport are cheaper compared to countries around.

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