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Norway Free College: Your Guide to Choosing


There is no doubt that university can be expensive. However, there are places where college is less expensive or even tuition-free, including online universities like University of the People and in countries that offer free college like Norway. Did you know that in Norway free college is the norm as most institutions are publicly funded? Like the value proposition of UoPeople, the Norwegian government believes in education as a human right, and therefore, there are no tuition-fees for both citizens and international students alike.

While private institutions can charge tuition fees, they are relatively lower than the cost of private education in different countries. Despite the lower cost of education in the country, the cost of living in Norway is considered to be relatively high, so if an international student chooses to learn there and establishes their status as a student resident, they must find the funds to support their life in the country. At the same time, there are various ways to get assistance for living expenses as an international student through loans, fellowships and scholarships.

Let’s take a look into the Norwegian system of higher education to assess the public and private opportunities to earn your higher education degree in the Scandinavian country.

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Is College Free?

There are no tuition fees at Norwegian public, government-funded institutions. The Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research is responsible for the educational institutions in the country, which span eight universities, nine specialized universities, private colleges and 22 university colleges. The academic year goes from August to December and January to June.

Until 2005, private institutions were illegal in Norway and then they became a more common option for international students as opposed to citizens. In fact, less than 10% of the population of Norway attends a private institution because the publicly funded system is so strong.

There are also university colleges, which mostly concentrate on undergraduate education and vocational training. Depending on one’s career goals, there are different ways to go about earning their degree or vocational certificate.

Pros and Cons to Study in Norway

Along with the free tuition model of education, Norway has many other offerings that make it a worthwhile study destination for international students and residents alike.

These include:

1. Quality Education:

The education system is one of the best in all of Europe. The good quality of education along with the low cost make Norway an attractive European destination to study.

2. English:

Norway is a great option for students from around the world because nearly all Norwegians speak English, so most degree programs are offered in English.

3. Nature:

The physical environment of Norway is breathtakingly beautiful and full of natural scenery that is sure to wow those that travel here.

4. High Cost Country:

Despite all the benefits, the cost of living in Norway is considered to be high. However, international students can work for 20 hours per week to help earn money to pay for their living expenses.

The Educational System of Norway

After understanding all the pros of tuition-free education in Norway, you may be wondering how does it all work to be admitted?

Admission in the higher educational system is set up as follows: Either a student must complete 3 years of upper secondary school and receive a general university admissions certification or a prospective student can fulfill the 23/5 rule, where applicants must be at least 23 years old and have completed 5 years of upper secondary school with work experience. They must have also passed general education courses including English, Norwegian, math, science and social studies.

Additionally, in 2003, Norway implemented the Bologna convention and was one of the first countries in Europe to do so. The Bologna process is a system that follows the 3+2+3 model of school year systems. The framework spans 3 cycles and means that it takes 3 years to earn a bachelor’s degree, 2 years for a master’s degree and 3 years for a doctoral degree.

As opposed to cosigning to the Bologna process, students can choose to enroll in a traditionally Scandinavian vocational program. This form of study involves 6 years and can reap the following candicacies: Candidate of Medicine (, Candidate of Theology (cand.theol), Candidate of Veterinary Medicine (, and Candidate of Psychology (cand.psychol).

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Online Options

While studying in Norway offers a great tuition-free opportunity for students around the world, the high cost of living and geographical location could be a cause for concern and a barrier to entry for some. In this case, there are alternative ways to earn tuition-free education from all around the world by attending an online university like University of the People.

Not only is the institution tuition-free, but it is also 100% online which will give you immense flexibility to choose when to study. Whether this means working while learning or raising a family as a single parent, you can balance life with studying relatively easily. The flexibility of UoPeople’s programs may offer more benefits for students than studying in Norway.

UoPeople has its accreditation in the United States and has four degree-granting programs, including: Health Science, Computer Science, Business Administration and Education. The United States is still one of the most popular destinations for international students to earn their degree, but it is also one of the most expensive, with university costs averaging almost at $100,000. That’s why being able to earn a degree from an American institution for zero tuition costs, but may require assessment fees is a game changer!

The Bottom Line

Regardless of where you choose to earn your degree, it cannot go unstressed that education should be an affordable and accessible human right. Both the country of Norway and University of the People have taken steps to make this truth a reality.

When enrolling as an international student in a public, tuition-free university in Norway, you must consider the high cost of living. However, when enrolling at UoPeople, you can do so from anywhere in the world.

Pursuing your higher education will open up opportunities and help you grow as a person both professionally and personally, so it’s always good to know your tuition-free options!