5 Countries With Free College for Undergrads

Looking to cut back on student debt while exploring the world? We've found five countries with free college tuition (or very low tuition fees).

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by Danika Miller

Published March 18, 2022

Edited by Hannah Muniz
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5 Countries With Free College for Undergrads

In the U.S., the average annual tuition and fees for a four-year college can range from $11,000 to $38,000. To get on the cheaper end of that range, you'll have to choose an in-state public college or university.

But did you know you can also save money by going abroad? You'll find many countries with free college across Europe — and a handful of these extend that perk to international students.

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Ready to start your journey?

Below, we've highlighted five countries that offer free college for international students (or very minimal tuition).

Keep in mind that scoring free college in one of these international destinations isn't simple — you'll need to get a student visa and jump through enrollment hoops.

1. Germany

Germany is home to legendary breweries, extensive train systems, Alpine scenery, Bavarian lakes, and renowned universities.

Perhaps its biggest temptation for American students, however, is that college here is entirely free. While you may have to pay some small administration fees and student visa costs, tuition is on the house.

Both domestic and international students can earn an undergraduate degree in Germany at no cost. The one exception to this rule — the state of Baden-Württemberg — charges tuition fees for non-EU citizens. Nevertheless, these fees are still relatively low.

In Germany, students must choose their degree before enrolling in a university. As such, you're essentially applying for entrance to a specific program, not the school as a whole.

2. Norway

Majestic fjords, a serene coastline, the northern lights, and unique cities all await in Norway — as does a reputation for top-notch higher education.

Students attending public universities in Norway do not have to pay any tuition fees, and this applies to international students as well. Many degree programs are conducted in English, but some universities, like the University of Oslo, require fluency in Norwegian.

While international students may worry about Norway's high cost of living, student housing is subsidized by the government. Most Norwegian universities also guarantee housing for international students.

3. Iceland

About 5% of Iceland's 18,000 college students are international. The small island country attracts students from around the world with its rich history and supernatural lore. It's also known for its breathtaking landscape, filled with green meadows, hot springs, geothermal lakes, glaciers, waterfalls, and even volcanoes.

Iceland's public universities don't charge tuition, though you can expect to pay registration and administration fees. The country is a popular choice for students interested in sustainable energy and marine fields.

Though nearly all Icelanders speak English, whether classes are taught in English will depend on the university and program. Many schools readily accommodate international and exchange students.

4. Austria

College in Austria is free for students from EU and EEA countries. Other international students must pay a relatively low annual fee of €1,500, or around $1,700 per year.

Austria's location at the center of Europe makes continental exploration a breeze. It's also one of the most peaceful countries in the world.

In addition to being the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Franz Schubert, and the waltz, Austria boasts tasty apple strudel and schnitzel, tons of outdoor recreation, and fairytale villages.

Most university programs in Austria are taught in German, with a fair number taught in English.

5. France

If you choose to study in France, you can enjoy fresh pastries, a scenic coast, world-class art and museums, and chic fashion.

While tuition for international students in France isn't free, it's significantly cheaper than that for U.S. colleges and universities. Non-EU students will pay €2,770 per year at the Licence level (similar to a bachelor's degree) — that's equal to about $3,000 per year.

Because France is such a popular country for international students, many universities offer courses in English to accommodate learners from around the world.


Feature Image: @ Didier Marti / Moment / Getty Images

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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