Affordable International Locations For Students - Ixorainternational

Study Abroad For Free At Top Universities

As university fees continue to climb in various corners of the globe, you might find yourself feeling disheartened, thinking that pursuing a recognised degree, either in your home country or overseas, is an unattainable dream unless you have a hefty budget or secure a scholarship.

But fear not, for there’s hope on the horizon. Contrary to popular belief, obtaining a degree doesn’t always require a four- or five-figure bank balance or a winning scholarship. Believe it or not, there are numerous countries worldwide where you can pursue your studies abroad without breaking the bank.

Curious to learn more? Below, we’ll introduce you to some of these countries that offer either free or incredibly affordable tuition fees. Let’s dive in and explore your possibilities!


Enjoy tuition-free education in Germany

Interest in pursuing studies in Germany continues to soar, and for good reason. One of the main draws is the absence of undergraduate tuition fees at most public universities in the country, applicable to both German nationals and international students, regardless of their citizenship. Instead, a modest nominal fee ranging from €150 to €250 (~US$170-280) is typically charged to cover administrative expenses.

However, it’s worth noting an exception in the state of Baden-Württemberg in southwest Germany. Starting from autumn 2017, non-EU/EEA students are subject to tuition fees amounting to €1,500 (~US$1,660) per semester (€3,000 or ~US$3,320 annually). PhD students and refugees are exempt from these fees, and reduced rates are available for those pursuing a second degree, amounting to €650 (~US$720) per semester or €1,300 (~US$1,440) annually. It’s possible that other German states may follow suit in the future, reintroducing fees as they invest in and enhance university education.

Despite these potential changes, Germany remains an attractive destination for study due to its low study costs, thriving economy, and outstanding higher education system. Over 40 German universities rank among the world’s best in the QS World University Rankings, with the Technical University of Munich leading the pack.

While studying tuition-free is appealing, students should still budget for living expenses. For those requiring a German student visa, demonstrating financial resources amounting to around €10,236 (~US$11,330) per year is necessary, with an average monthly expenditure of €850 (~US$940).

Moreover, two of Germany’s top study destinations, Munich and Berlin, are recognised among the top 30 most affordable cities for students according to the QS Best Student Cities 2019 ranking.

Enjoy studying abroad in France without tuition fees (or at minimal expense)

Embarking on a journey to study abroad for free in France might not be as widely recognised as it is in Germany, but it’s a delightful surprise for international students of all nationalities.

While public universities in France technically impose university fees, they are but a fraction of what you’d typically encounter elsewhere. For instance, undergraduate students from EU/EEA/Swiss countries only pay a nominal fee of €170 (~US$190) per year.

However, starting from the 2019/20 academic year, non-EU/EEA students will face higher tuition rates, with fees amounting to €2,770 (~US$3,065) annually for a bachelor’s degree. To offset this change, the French government plans to triple the number of scholarships available to international students, from 7,000 to 21,000.


While there may be additional charges, particularly for specialized programs like medicine and engineering, they don’t significantly inflate the overall cost. Keep in mind, though, that fees for leading grande écoles can vary widely.

Similar to Germany, most programs offering tuition-free education in France are taught in French. However, there’s a growing selection of programs taught in English, especially at the graduate level. Alternatively, you can opt to attend a preparatory school to refine your French skills before commencing your degree, albeit at an additional cost.

As for living expenses, France offers relatively affordable options, averaging around €9,600 (~US$10,620) per year. However, living in the capital city of Paris may incur higher costs.

Enjoy studying abroad in the Nordic countries without tuition fees

Northern European nations, known for their exceptional quality of life, stunning landscapes, and progressive politics, also offer some of the world’s top higher education systems. The Nordic countries—Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden—provide excellent opportunities for studying abroad for free or at a low cost:

In Norway, education at public universities is free for all students, regardless of their study level or nationality. Similar to Germany, students only need to pay a small semester fee, typically around NOK 300-600 (~US$33-66). Most undergraduate programs are taught in Norwegian, requiring international students to prove their proficiency in the language. However, at the master’s and PhD levels, many programs are offered in English, and tuition remains free.

In Iceland, there are no tuition fees at the country’s four public universities. Students only need to pay a registration fee of about ISK 75,000 (~US$600) per year.

Denmark, Sweden, and more recently Finland offer free higher education primarily to students from the EU/EEA and Switzerland. Students from outside these regions are required to pay tuition fees for bachelor’s and master’s programs. However, PhD programs in these countries are fully funded, allowing exceptional candidates to earn their degrees without paying tuition fees, and often with a salary. Non-EU/EEA students can also study in Finland for free if their programs are in Finnish or Swedish.

The tuition fees for bachelor’s and master’s programs vary in these countries. In Denmark, fees range from DKK 45,000 to DKK 120,000 (~US$6,670-17,800) per year. In Sweden, they range from SEK 80,000 to SEK 145,000 (~US$8,200-14,870) annually. In Finland, the newly introduced tuition fees start at around €1,500 (~US$1,700) per year, with most students paying between €6,000 and €18,000 (~US$6,640-19,900) annually.


As for living costs, they are relatively high in northern Europe due to the strong economies and robust currencies of the region. However, the high cost of living comes with benefits such as clean streets and happy residents. Notably, four Nordic capitals—Copenhagen, Helsinki, Oslo, and Stockholm—are ranked among the world’s top student cities, making the investment in living expenses worthwhile for many students.

Additional European Destinations for Tuition-Free (or Low-Cost) Education

Several European countries provide high-quality education at affordable or no cost, ensuring you don’t have to compromise on academic standards.


Austria is another fantastic destination for studying in Europe at minimal cost. EU/EEA students can study for free at any degree level, with only a small fee of €363 per semester after the initial period. Non-EU/EEA students face slightly higher fees, around €726 (~US$803) per semester. Living expenses in Austria average about €11,400 (~US$12,600) annually. Vienna, the capital, ranks 13th in the QS Best Student Cities 2019.


Belgium offers different fee structures based on its two main language communities, but EU students pay a maximum of €906 annually. While non-EU international students pay higher fees, they remain relatively affordable at around €4,175 (~US$4,620) per year. Living costs are roughly €11,400 (~US$12,600) annually. Brussels, the capital, is ranked joint 43rd in the QS Best Student Cities.

Czech Republic

In the Czech Republic, students who speak Czech can study for free at any public university. Those who prefer to study in English can do so at a cost of €4,000-12,000 (~US$4,425-13,275) per year. Living expenses are more affordable than in many Western European countries, averaging around US$9,000 annually.


EU/EEA students can study for free in Greece at public universities and colleges, except for some master’s programs. Non-EU students also benefit from low-cost education, at about €1,500 (~US$1,660) per year. Greece boasts one of the lowest living costs in the European Union.


While private universities in Italy can be expensive, public universities are significantly cheaper, with fees ranging from €900 to €4,000 (~US$995-4,420) per year for undergraduate programs. EU students have access to the same funding opportunities as Italian students, including loans, grants, scholarships, and fee waivers. Milan ranks 40th and Rome 70th in the QS Best Student Cities.


EU students benefit from low tuition fees in Spain, while international students can study for €750 to €2,500 (~US$830-2,760) per year at public institutions. Fees are per-credit and can be higher for graduate programs. Living costs in Spain range from €10,800 to €13,200 (~US$11,940 – 14,600) annually. Madrid, Barcelona, and Valencia are notable student cities, with Barcelona ranking highest at 21st in the QS Best Student Cities.

Additional destinations for tuition-free (or affordable) study-abroad opportunities


Buenos Aires, the vibrant capital of Argentina, secured the 31st spot in the QS Best Student Cities 2019 rankings. In Argentina, local students benefit from tuition-free education at universities. However, international students should anticipate a modest enrollment fee at public institutions. Meanwhile, private universities in Argentina may charge annual fees exceeding US$5,000.


In Taiwan, the value you get from tuition fees is remarkable, especially considering the quality of education its top universities provide. Take National Taiwan University (NTU), for instance. Ranked 69th in the QS World University Rankings, NTU offered undergraduate programs at just TW$100,920-124,200 (~US$3,200-3,965) per year in 2017/18. The bustling capital of Taiwan, Taipei, clinched the 17th spot globally in the QS Best Student Cities 2019 rankings and ranked 14th for affordability.

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