Can You Study Abroad For Free?

April 26, 2019


When one imagines getting a degree from a college or university abroad, getting it for free is not what generally comes to one’s mind. In countries like the US, higher education is so costly that even their own citizens need to take student loan to finance a degree course from a college or a university. As unbelievable as it may sound, the fact is that, in US alone the current outstanding student loan debt stands well over $ 1.3 trillion. In such a scenario, when one comes across a blog like this one, whose heading suggests the possibility of free higher education abroad (even though it’s a question and not a statement), it looks, at best, like a click-bait, if not scandalous altogether.

We, at Student Cover, would like to assure you that this blog is neither a click-bait nor a scandal. In this blog, we will show you 4 genuine and perfectly legal ways of getting quality higher education from a university abroad without having to pay a hefty tuition fee. By hefty tuition fee, we mean those in the range of lakhs of rupees.


Countries providing free Higher Education

In India, the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, guarantees free and compulsory education to children aged 6 to 14 years of age but does not guarantee the same for secondary, senior secondary, or graduate degree levels. However, there are many developed countries in the world where even higher education is almost free and provided to anyone (irrespective of his or her citizenship status) who secure admission in any of their publicly funded educational institutions. These countries include Germany, Brazil, Norway, Greece, Iceland, Luxembourg, France, Sweden, Austria, and the Czech Republic.

Here is What you need to know about these counties providing free or cheap education even to International Students.


The Germans’ belief in not treating education as a commercial product had led the outside world to benefit from it. Germany’s stronger economy and elite quality of higher education make the country the best fit to pursue undergraduate, graduate, or other study programs. International students can pursue a degree by paying a nominal administrative fee of around €150-250 which is less than Rs 25,000.

There is only one exceptional university in South-West Germany namely, Baden-Württemberg which reintroduced tuition fees for all the non-EU students who are required to pay €1,500 in a semester (3,000 in a year), but the students eyeing a Ph.D. program will remain unaffected by this new change. Other than that, most of the undergraduate programs in public universities don’t require any tuition fee, except for those flagship courses that require infrastructure.

There are almost 300 public universities in the country completely funded by the government, and more than 1000 programs to choose from. The majority of these publically funded universities are consistently ranked amongst the top 100 World University Rankings, hence making them remarkably good.

Nordic Countries

Nordic Countries involve; Norway, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, and Finland. These nordic countries are divided based on what they are capable of offering to the international students and what they cannot. For instance, in the case of Norway, it is very similar to Germany where the students irrespective of their nationality are not charged any tuition fee except for the administration charges which is NOK 300-600. The majority of UG programs are taught in the Norweigan language. So in order to get through their selection process, it is a must to know the language or one could enroll in a language program in the country which are very cheap. Although, most of the master’s level programs and P.hD are taught in the English language.

In case of Iceland too, there are no tuition fees charged but only registration fees by up to ISK 75,000, a year. However, when it comes to countries like Denmark, Sweden and recently added Finland, they do not extend their free higher education policy to students outside EU/EEA. Hence, the international students are supposed to pay their tuition fees for pursuing bachelors and master’s degree. the exact amount of the tuition fee vary from one cou try to another. For Denmark it ranges between DKK 45,000 and DKK 120,000, in Sweden, it is between SEK 80,000 and SEK 145,000, and in Finland it falls between €6,000 – 18,000. A non EU student can only expect to study free of cost either through scholarship program or studying in Swedish or Finnish as medium.

Other Countries offering low or no Tuition Fees

There are other study destinations too, mainly the European countries that offer free of cost higher education or maybe low tuition fees which makes it easier for international students, especially from a middle income group country like India to obtain better education. Countries like France where only a small amount of administrative fee is charged, it becomes a good option to pursue higher education here. Other study destinations involve, Czech Republic, Brazil, Greece, Austria and even Taiwan where higher education is free for international students or at a very minimal cost. But some countries from the list require the applicants to know the local language in order to get admission. Students can overcome this hurdle by taking admission to language courses that are very cheap.



Each year, lakhs of students apply for scholarships to study abroad. These scholarships provide financial support to students who have either displayed outstanding academic records or belong to certain underprivileged sections of society. However, the scope and extent of financial support vary from one scholarship to another. While some scholarships only cover tuition fees, others provide support to meet living expenses as well. Indian students, who belong to underprivileged sections of the society can also avail government-sponsored scholarship schemes.

Some of the popular scholarships for international students include, Erasmus Mundus Scholarship (for EU countries), Commonwealth Scholarship (For citizens of Commonwealth countries), Fulbright Scholarship, Aga Khan Foundation International Scholarship, Tata Scholarship for Cornell University etc. To know more about the different scholarships available to Indian students to study abroad, you can visit the following page: The types of scholarships you can get to study abroad


Company sponsorship

As part of Human Resource Development, many well-established companies sponsor management education of their employees in universities abroad. These are often referred to as Executive MBA programs. Companies bear the cost of both the tuition fees as well as living expenses of employees that are sent to educational institutions to pursue a degree or diploma in management. However, in order to get such sponsorship, an individual has to be an employee of that company.

The downside of such sponsorship programs is that the employee, after completing the course, cannot leave the company for a specified period of time. This is usually done in order to ensure that the employee does not leave the organization which has spent a lot of money on his or her education, and the organization could benefit from the newly developed skills and knowledge gained by the employee.


Education Exchange Program

In order to provide exposure to Indian students, the government of India has reached an agreement with about 54 countries under which Indian students get to pursue higher education in those countries. The cost of tuition fees and living expenses are borne by the countries with which the Educational Exchange Program or the Joint Declaration of Intent (JDIS) was signed. Students can visit the official website of the Ministry of Human Resource Development(HRD) to know more about the Education Exchange Program.

We hope that the reader will find the content of this blog informative and useful.

Disclaimer: This blog was written based on the personal research of the writer. Readers’ discretion is advised. Neither Student Cover nor the writer will be held liable for any wrongful interpretation of this blog’s content.

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