How International Students Can Access Free University Education In Europe In 2023


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Free university education is no longer a myth: it is a lived reality in most developed nations. However, international students especially those from least-developed countries have often struggled to access tertiary education of the right quality due to a variety of factors.

Chief among these factors hindering access to quality university and college education in less developed countries is the prohibitive fees.

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We at CampusLifestyle have thus compiled this article to help especially the international students to access quality higher education for free in Europe. We also prove that overseas education can actually save you money.

The main idea is to make the correct choices regarding which university to attend, and also which country to choose because the cost of living differs greatly across Europe. You may find a free full-time learning programme at a Swedish university but realize that the cost of living is actually prohibitive.

Hence this article seeks to help you demystify this intricate aspect of your career choices so that you enter the year 2023 with a clearer perspective.

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Note that even Americans have not been spared the rising cost of higher education, and some have also had to seek high-quality university education at free institutions in Europe. First, let us look at the citizens of European countries themselves.

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Students from EU and EEA member countries

There is zero tuition fees across much of Europe for citizens of EU and EEA member countries. Where non-EU students are charged tuition and fees, they still tend to be much lower than those charged at colleges and universities in the United States of Canada, for example.

As such, Europe remains a popular destination as many European countries offer free tuition at their public institutions of higher education.

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This is exactly the reason why you would hardly find a European student seeking a university education outside of their zone: they have both the best educational programmes and the least or zero cost for that.

But this goes beyond that: several EU member states including Germany offer free tuition to all students regardless of nationality, meaning international students can access free education. But remembers, there is the cost of living aspect and we address it shortly. Moreover, when.

Free university education in Europe for international students

As already stated, this article seeks to help mainly the international student seeking free or near-zero cost tertiary education in Europe. While the universities in Europe may offer low-cost tuition fees compared to Asia or Africa, the cost of living in Europe may be prohibitive.

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You, therefore, need to play a delicate balancing act between getting free education and paying for your own stay and board in a European city. To help you get started, here are the cost of living average rates in top European destinations for international students.

CountryThe average cost of living for international student
GermanyThe cost of living averages 850 euros per month.
AustriaThe cost of living in Austria is estimated at 950 euros per month.
PolandThe cost of living is relatively low, estimated at 350-550 euros per month.
Czech RepublicThe cost of living is relatively low, ranging from 350 to 750 USD per month. 
Norway The cost of living in Norway is about 1,300 USD per month
IcelandThe cost of living is relatively high, estimated at 1,500 USD per month 
FranceThe cost of living in France is estimated at 600 to 800 euros per month.
GreeceThe cost of living is relatively low, estimated at 450 to 700 euros per month. 
HungaryThe cost of living in Hungary is very low, estimated at 300 USD per month.
SloveniaThe cost of living in Slovenia is estimated at 600 euros per month.

As can be deduced from the table above, Poland is increasingly becoming an attractive destination for international students because of the relatively cheaper cost of living there compared to much of Europe.

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You certainly do not want to access free tertiary education while in an expensive foreign city. However, the cost of living is not the only consideration.

Language consideration

Some European universities are still rigid as far as the language of teaching is concerned. However, there are some universities that are increasingly offering their education in the English language to attract the ever-growing pool of international students.

Here are tiny bits to consider:

Hungary: Several universities in Hungary now offer their degree programs in English as well as in French, German, and Russian.

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Greece: Greece requires that international university applicants be proficient in the Greek language for them to enroll in its universities. As such, students who do not hold a language certificate will not be able to enroll.  

Iceland: It is extremely difficult to find degree courses offered entirely in English at the bachelor’s degree level in Iceland. On the contrary, some offer programs in English, but only at masters and Ph.D. levels.

Germany: If there is any country that has made progress insofar as accepting English-speaking international students to its universities over the past 20 years, it is Germany. Admission to many universities in Germany does not require proof of German speaking skills. 

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Other factors to consider include cultural barriers, safety, and security of foreign nationals, diversity as well as the quality of the degree programmes offered. And of course, the ranking of the university does matter, in a wide sense.

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