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Guide to Cheapest European Universities for International Students

It’s common knowledge of how quality education doesn’t come cheap and that getting into the best European Universities is only one surpassed hurdle. Due to high tuition fees of European Universities, a huge percentage of students end up giving up on their dreams of pursuing high studies in Europe.

There are several available scholarships that do make the fee process easier by skirting off some of the money, making the financial strain a little less of a burden. But there’s a reason why scholarships are so hard to get. European Universities only have limited scholarships available with every intake, which are secured for only the best of applicants. Hence, to be able to make the cut, you need to ensure you have a stellar profile, supplemented with a strong application, which is not an easy task, especially with competition coming in from countries all over the world.

Lucky for you, there’s a highly convenient alternative: European Universities with no/low tuition fees.
Applicants often feel apprehensive about targeting universities with low fees requirements as they fear it compromises on the quality of education. Well, that definitely not the case as on the list of universities that don’t have high fee requirements, you’ll find some highly reputed universities with high worldwide rankings.

List of European Universities With Low/No Tuition Fees:

1. German

Germany has some of the best European Universities with low tuition fees, and the cost of living is also substantial.

If you’re planning on pursuing your Master’s degree on a subject which is focused on what you pursued your Bachelor’s, you’ll be able to get a complete waiver on your fees from a Public University from Germany. What’s most convenient is how this waiver of tuition fees is available for all students, irrespective of the country they’re from.

What also works in your favor is how most German schools are Public Universities, and how Germany is one of the top study abroad destinations in the world. With only the application fee to pay for, Germany is easily the most pocket-friendly destinations to pursue your Masters from.

Top tuition-free universities in Germany:

• TUM – Up to 2,000 EUR/year
• The University of Hamburg – Semester fee of EUR 325.00.
• The University of Cologne – Student contribution fee of EUR 240 each term
• Karlsruhe Institute of Technology – Approximate tuition fee of EUR 1,500

Cost of living in Germany:

Even the cost of living in Germany isn’t very high, with the easy availability of cheaper alternatives.
It won’t cost you more than 370-400 EUR for monthly expenses in Germany and will only need around 10,000 EUR to comfortably live in Germany for a year. The top places to study in Germany would be Berlin and Munich.

Student Visa:

To study in Germany for more than 3 months you need to apply for a student visa at least 3 months before you move to the country. Once in the country, you will need to apply for a residence permit within two weeks of arrival and register with the local registration office.
If you want to stay in Germany to seek work after your degree, then international students with a residence permit can extend it to stay in Germany and seek work for up to 18 months after graduating, as long as the job is related to their field of study. Graduates from EU/EEA countries can stay on to seek work without any restrictions or permits.

2. Norway

Norway, as a country is known for its high quality of life, and is a hub of good European Universities. The strong higher education system in Nordic countries, including Norway has some of the lowest tuitions fees with a lot of universities also offering programs for free, regardless of your nationality. Not only does this apply for undergraduate programs, but also post-graduate Masters and Ph.D. programs. Moreover, Norwegian School of Economics, Bergen located in Norway offers the CEMS MIM with free tuition and no application fee to international students as well. Similar to Germany, you’d only have to pay semester union Student fees that would round up to about 32-64 EUR.

Some of the universities you can check out are as follows:
• Norwegian University of Science and Technology – No tuition fees
• Norwegian School of Economics – No tuition fees

Cost of Living in Norway:

The quality of life in Norway is exemplary and although it is a bit more on the heavy side in terms of money, as compared to other European countries, the low tuition fee compared to other European Universities make up for it.
Here’s an estimate of how much money you’ll be spending on a month’s expenses in some of the main cities in Norway:
Oslo: Up to 1300 EUR
Tromso and Trondheim: Up to 1100 EUR
Bergen: Up to 1050 EUR
Smaller cities: 800-900 EUR

Student Visa:

In order to be granted a student visa for Norway, you must have been admitted to a field of study at a college or university (with some exemptions). After you’ve received your letter of admission you should contact your nearest Norwegian Embassy or Consulate for information on the study permit application procedure and apply from your country of origin. Processing time taken for student residence permits could take up to two months or so, therefore it is advisable to apply as soon as you can.

3. Spain

Spain is another country which has low tuition fees as compared to most European Universities. Hence, this is one country you can consider to pursue your Masters in. With tuition fees adding up to approximately 750-2100 EUR for a year at public universities, Spain proves to be on the cheaper side of Universities providing quality education.
Moreover, with cities such as Madrid, Valencia, and Barcelona, which are considered to be some of the most student-friendly cities in the world, Spain is one of the best destinations to pursue your Masters from.

List of schools with low fees in Spain are as follows:
• The University of Valencia – Approximate fee of 2,760 EUR/year
• The University of Madrid – Up to 3,000 per year
• The University of Barcelona – Up to 2,900 EUR/year
• University of Catalonia – 1,500 EUR/year

Cost of living in cities in Spain:

Although the cost of living is a bit on the higher side, especially in Madrid and Barcelona, places such as Valencia, Seville are cheaper options. Also, public transport, student discounts, etc. will make up for the higher cost of living.
• Madrid: Up to 1300 EUR per month
• Seville: 850 EUR per month
• Valencia: 900 EUR per month
• Barcelona: Up to 1400 EUR per month

Student Visa:

As an international student in Spain, you are allowed to work under the following conditions:
1) Doing a part-time job, considering the fact that working hours do not compromise your university hours
2) If you consider a full-time job, you are allowed to work for only up to three months. Even then, you can only work full-time during holidays.
You will need a work permit for both these options which will be valid for the duration of your work contract. That being said, it cannot extend the duration of your work contract.

Also, if you’re planning on staying in Spain for 3+ months, you will have to register with the local authorities within one month of your arrival and get a residence certificate that includes an NIE number (identification document containing your personal details).

4. Portugal

In Portugal, on a general basis, most Public universities have low tuition fees. That being said, there are several Private universities that offer a 100% fee waiver on the basis of the student’s evaluation marks. Portugal also has some of the best European Universities.
Most universities have Masters fees of approximately 950 to 1150 EUR for a year, although the prices for a Ph.D. or a Specialised Masters. Also, for Private universities, the fees may be as high as 3000-4000 EUR

Schools with low fees in Portugal:
• University of Lisbon – Approximate fee of 2,000 EUR per year
• The University of Porto – Up to 4,000 EUR per year
• The University of Tomar – Up to 1,400 EUR per year
• University of Leiria – Approx. 1,200 UR per year

Cost of Living in Portugal:

Since Portugal is one of the cheapest European countries, the cost of living is highly affordable throughout different regions.
Coimbro: 500-600 EUR per month
Lisbon: 900-1100 EUR per month
Porto: 500-600 EUR per month

Student Visa:

For a Student Visa in Portugal, first, schedule a visa interview on the website of the Portuguese embassy in your locality. Make sure you schedule the appointment as soon as possible since it sometimes takes up to 2-3 months to be issued. In order to obtain a study visa for Portugal, there are no specific language requirements since it is a mandatory condition for admission in a Portuguese university.

There are no restrictions or time limit for EU/EEA students to work in Portugal, but students from outside the EU/EEA can only take up part-time employment of up to 20 hours/week or in full-time during vacations.

5. Italy

Not only is Italy a dream to live in, but Universities there are among the best European Universities. Being one of the biggest tourist attractions of the world, Italy boasts of a culturally-rich environment to study in.
Italy is an affordable country to live in and is home to some of the oldest European universities. With its rich and diverse culture, coupled with its tuition fees being on the lower side, Italy is definitely one of the most targeted European Universities by International students.

Some Italian Universities with low tuition fees in Italy are:

• The Polytechnic University of Milan – Up to 3,500 EUR per year
• University of Bologna – Approximate 2200 EUR per year
• Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna – Approximate 4000 EUR per year
• University of Trento – Up to 6000 EUR per year
• University Of Turin – Approx. 2,800 per year
• University of Padova – Up to 4,000 EUR per year
• University of Bozen-Bolzano – Up to 2500 per year
• University of Siena – Up to 1,800 per year

Cost of Living: (Per month)

Milan: 1000 EUR
Rome: 900-1100 EUR
Bologna: 750-800 EUR
Florence: 700 EUR
Bolzano: 700 EUR

Student Visa:

For a student visa for Italy, you can apply at the Italian embassy in your country. Start with scheduling a visa interview around four to six weeks in advance to avoid any delays. Apply for a student visa at least three months before your arrival since the processing time may vary between 1 – 3 weeks.
Students from the EU are allowed to work in Italy without procuring a work permit. Whereas, International students will need to apply for a work permit from a local immigration office in Italy by showing them proof of a signed employment contract.

6. France:

France is also considered one of the best countries to study abroad in. It has the best European Universities. France exhibits a rich culture with its varied universities, museums to explore. For Public universities in France, the fees differ on the basis of your level of studies. For the Masters programs, the fee structure is usually set at approximately 260 EUR per year. He prices may be a bit higher than 260 EUR for Specialised Masters. Whereas, at private universities and other b-schools, the fees ranges from anywhere between 1000 EUR to 20,000 EUR per year. The average expected fees for a Masters in France for business schools will amount to around 5000 to 7000 EUR per year.

Here’s a list of the most affordable Universities in France:

• Ecole Polytechnique – Approx. 12,000 EUR per year
• Paris Descartes University – Up to 300 EUR per year
• Ecole Superiure d’Electricte SUPELEC – Approx. 2000 EUR per year
• Universite de Lyon – Approx. 500 EUR per year
• University of Burgundy – Around 500 EUR per year

Cost of Living:

In France, like most places, your cost of living depends on your lifestyle. Accommodation prices could be higher than in most places, with a 200-300 EUR and higher rate per month. Here are the monthly expense rates at the main cities:
Paris: 1150-1650 EUR
Lyon: 850-1250 EUR
Nice: 800-1200 EUR
Toulouse: 900-1200 EUR

Student Visa:

For a student visa for France, you can either visit a French consulate in your area or through Campus France, which is an institution which promoted higher education in France. Certain countries will require you to register first with Campus France in order to get a student visa so keep that in check before applying.
In France, international students are allowed to take a job, considering that they work part-time (around 60 percent of full-time employment for a year) and only if you have a valid residency permit. Inform your employer that you are a foreign student while applying for a job so they will only consider your application for a part-time position.

7. Denmark

Although for students coming in from EU, the Bachelor’s and Master’s degree program costs are all free, the prices aren’t so high for International students, hence there’s no reason to feel disheartened. Below, you’ll find some of the top universities that have low tuition costs.

Some of the top universities that you could target:
• Aarhus University – Tuition fees of approx. 8000-10,000 EUR
• Copenhagen Business School – Tuition fees of approx. EUR 12,500 per year
• University of Southern Denmark – Tuition fees of approx. EUR 8,500
• Aalborg University – Tuition fees of approx. 6000 EUR
• University of Southern Denmark – Tuition fees of approx. 6000 EUR

Cost of Living in Denmark:

Although living in Denmark may not be the most affordable, the low/free tuition costs compensate for the same. Denmark is one of the least affordable places to stay in, within Europe, hence you’ll need to be stringent with your budget and try not to go overboard on expenses.
Here’s how much your ost of living will amount to in the main cities:
• Copenhagen: 1200 EUR per month
• Aalborg: 800 EUR per month

Student Visa:

If you are not from the EU/EEA you have to apply for a student visa and are only allowed to work in Denmark, under the following specific legal conditions:

Non-EU/EEA and non-Nordic students can work in Denmark for only up to 20 hours a week from September to May and 37 hours a week from June to August;
Nordic, EU/EEA or Swiss citizens can work in Denmark with no restriction on the number of hours.
Permit for this extent of work is automatically granted with the residence permit.

8. Sweden

Sweden has over 10+ universities that rank in the top 500 universities worldwide and in the top 100 among European Universities, which in itself is proof of the quality of education. Although it is comparatively pricier than the other places mentioned in this list, the courses offered are quite comprehensive, with several of the programs being offered in English. The tuition fees are still comparatively low and are decided upon by the individual universities instead of the government hence it varies from school to school.

Some top universities that you could target in Sweden:
University of Lund – Approximate fee of EUR. 12,000
Stockholm School of Economics – Approximate fee of EUR 13,000
Uppsala University – Approximately EUR 15,000

Cost of Living in Sweden:

Although the ultimate rate depends on the individual expense rates, Sweden is not a very expensive place to live in comparison to several other places. It can also be considered as one of the most student-friendly places to study in.

The cost of living in the main cities are as follows:

Karlstad: 800 EUR per month

Umea: 700 EUR per month
Uppsala: 800 EUR per month

In other smaller cities, the cost of living could go down to 600 EUR per month.

Student Visa in Sweden:

To study in Sweden, you must show the officials that you have enough finances to fund your studies in Sweden or that you are being sponsored by someone for the time that you’re studying in Sweden.

To work in Sweden, non-EU/EEA students will require a permit. In Sweden, your employer is the person who applies for a work permit on your behalf. Also, there are no restriction on the working hours while you’re studying, as long as you can show It doesn’t affect your studies.

With the above listed countries having low tuition costs, naturally, more applicants flood in wanting to apply to these schools. This is credited to not only their tuition fees, but also the quality of education provided at these schools. Hence, you need to make sure your profile is up to the mark, with a stellar application to present to the AdCom to increase your chances of getting into these schools.
To help with the same, you can check out our services through which we help applicants enhance their application to increase their chances of getting into their target schools.

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