Skip to content

Your Guide to the Best Universities in Europe with Free Tuition

How Today's Degree-Seekers are Turning to Free Universities in Europe and Online copy

If you are applying to academic programs abroad or just starting to think about your next opportunity, you have a lot of options to choose from when it comes to free European universities. To help you pick the academic institution that’s right for you, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best free universities in Europe.

For many people, earning a degree abroad can be a great opportunity. You will have the chance to meet people from around the world, earn a unique and well-rounded education, and gain exposure to new languages.

As the cost of education trends upwards, it’s still possible to earn a high-quality education without going into debt. Fortunately, many public universities in Europe are tuition-free or offer more affordable educational opportunities to their international student body.


Source: Unsplash

Free Tuition in Europe

Many students worldwide choose to earn their degrees in European countries because of the affordability factor. In fact, there are 44 schools in Europe where Americans (and students from other countries) can learn for free.

For example, countries like Norway, Austria, Sweden, Finland, and Germany all offer various degree programs for free or at very low cost.

Best Universities in Europe with Free Tuition

Norway

Norway has the fourth-highest per capita income and is known for having one of the highest standards of living. Their education system is also highly revered. In Norway, regardless of one’s nationality, students can access tertiary education for free. It’s important to note that although their schools are tuition-free, there may be semester fees, though these may be as low as $35-70.

Some of the top-ranked Norwegian universities include:

University of Oslo

  • Students: 28,007
  • Faculty and staff: 6,631

Its various academic and social societies make the University of Oslo a unique study abroad option. Students can choose from more than 200 active societies, organizations, and clubs, like political societies, special interest groups, publications, and theater groups, to name a few.

University of Bergen

  • Students: 18,000
  • Faculty and staff: 4,000+

Students at the University of Bergen can take full advantage of the nature surrounding the campus. Endless outdoor activities are available, like hiking in western Norway, mountain climbing in Gullfjellet, mountain sightseeing, and an exciting range of winter sports.

Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)

  • Students: 40,000
  • Faculty and staff: 8,000

Known for its top-quality research initiatives, NTNU has marked itself as a leading innovative and internationally-recognized university. Some of its main areas of research opportunities include energy, health, sustainability, and technology.

Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU)

  • Students: 5,200
  • Faculty and staff: 1,700

Offering bachelor’s, master’s, veterinary medicine, and PhD programs, the Norwegian University of Life Sciences is an excellent option for incoming exchange students. Their interdisciplinary research contributes to the food, health, environmental protection, and sustainability sectors around the world.

Germany

Most public universities in Germany will offer free undergraduate education to all students, whether they are local or international. The small university fee is typically around $300-400 for the semester, which should cover all admissions costs. Remember to consider the costs of your visa, if traveling from abroad for your studies, as well as the additional living costs that you’ll be required to cover.

If you are searching for an English-speaking program in Germany, you may be interested in one of these universities:

Universität Freiburg

  • Faculties: 11
  • Campuses: 3

If you are already working in a full-time job, consider the Freiburg Academy of Continuing Education. Their programs include certificate courses designed to lay further theoretical grounding to your practical work experience. They also offer distance learning options for master’s degrees.

Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

  • Faculties: 13
  • Campuses: 1

Georg-August-Universität Göttingen is especially recognized for its diverse range of subjects and research-led teaching initiatives. It is no surprise that the university has graduated over 45 Nobel laureates!

Universitat Leipzig

  • Faculties: 14
  • Campuses: 1

Founded in 1409, Universitat Leipzig is one of the oldest universities in Germany, home to 14 different faculties and 460 top-quality professors. It has a long history of scientific developments and public services of general interest, including law, medicine, teaching, and pharmaceuticals.

France

Undergraduate university fees in France sit between 170 and 650 euros per year for EU/EEA/Swiss students. But this doesn’t mean you can’t find very affordable opportunities as an international student.

Some of France’s most affordable universities for international students include:

Jean Monnet University

  • Students: 20,000+
  • Established: 1970
  • Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctorate degrees

Students at Jean Monnet University (UJM) can select from degrees ranging several different faculties, including: law, economics, management, arts, languages, science, technology, health, and social sciences. It is a great option for those looking to explore France’s Rhône-Alpes region!

Claude Bernard University

  • Students: 47,860
  • Established: 1809
  • Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctorate degrees

Also known as Lyon 1, the university produces over 9,000 graduates per year and awards 350 PhD degrees per year. Students in the science and technology sector can select from 17 areas of expertise, 57 vocational BA degrees, and 111 MA degrees.

Paris Descartes University

  • Students: 33,500
  • Established: 1971
  • All degrees, specializing in law, mathematics, medicine, social science, and sports

With nine different training and teaching faculties, Paris Descartes University stands out as a leader in the fields of human and health sciences. Not only do students have access to competitive career-oriented courses, but those pursuing higher education can select from 13 different doctoral schools.

Source: Unsplash

In countries like Finland, Denmark, Norway, Germany, and Sweden, students who are not from the EU/EEA might be asked to pay a small yearly or semester fee, even if the school’s program is actually tuition-free. This is why it is important to do all your research beforehand. Make sure to speak with an academic advisor as soon as possible about your current financial state and the best plan of action for your upcoming academic needs.

Alternatively, if you are a student of the EU or EEA looking for academic opportunities in other member states, consider these top BA degree programs across Europe:

BA in Economics and Business Administration

  • Germany – Berlin School of Business & Innovation
  • Full-time
  • Three-year degree

Bachelor’s Degree in Scientific Visualization

  • Switzerland – Zurich University of the Arts
  • Full-time
  • 6-semester degree

BA (Hons) Fashion Design

  • United Kingdom – London College of Contemporary Arts
  • Full-time
  • 3-year degree

Bachelor of Arts in Software Engineering

  • Germany – Code University of Applied Sciences Berlin
  • Full-time
  • 3-year degree

BA in Film Directing and Video Games

  • Poland – Warsaw Film School
  • Full-time
  • 3-year degree

Source: Unsplash

For those who have already completed an undergraduate degree and are looking for graduate degree programs in Europe, you might be interested in these MA programs:

Master in Public History

  • Poland – University of Wroclaw
  • Full-time
  • 4-semester degree

MSc.F in International Finance

  • Switzerland – Geneva Business School
  • Full-time
  • One year degree

Master of Business Administration in International Hospitality

  • Netherlands – Hotelschool The Hague
  • Full-time
  • 13 months degree

Master in Business Analytics and Big Data – MiBA

  • Russia – Saint Petersburg University
  • Full-time
  • 2-year degree

Master in Management

  • Spain – Toulouse Business School – Barcelona
  • Full-time
  • 2-year degree

Source: Unsplash

Why is Education More Affordable in Europe?

The education model in Europe is different than that in America. Traditionally, Europe has higher taxes than America, so in essence, taxpayers help to subsidize education for the student population. For example, Germany has a relatively high-income tax, which is why it’s possible for their educational institutions to be free for both international and domestic students.

The high tax model ends up benefitting international students as well since they can take advantage of Europe’s debt-free model of education. However, for students who do not wish to relocate to another country to earn their degree, they can take advantage of online universities that may also be tuition-free.

Online Degree Option: The Benefits of Distance Learning

Learning online has broken down geographic barriers that previously existed, thanks to the aid of technology. Technology is making education more accessible for students all around the world.

For example, at the University of the People, you can earn a degree from our US-accredited university entirely online. As the world’s first non-profit, tuition-free, accredited, online American university, UoPeople takes pride in its mission to provide students access to affordable and quality education, no matter what their financial circumstances may be.

The Bottom Line

Whether you choose to earn a degree at any of the many free universities in Europe (or the best university in Europe) or decide to enroll at a tuition-free online university instead, it is definitely possible to obtain your higher education without having to accrue debt.

With the rising price tag of attending college, you can save a ton by studying internationally in a tuition-free European country or by enrolling online. Fortunately, there is a long list of options for where you can attend college.

Now, the choice is in your hands to decide where you want to go!