Countries with free tuition

The astounding cost of higher education in the United States has many soon-to-be college students not sure whether going to college is worth the price.  There are many benefits of getting a degree, so families are looking for ways to lower their college tuition bills.

A potential alternative is looking abroad, as some countries offer free tuition to international students; attracting skilled workers is a big reason countries offer college courses in English.


All students enrolled in any of the country’s public universities can attend for free.  Most German universities offer a wide range of courses and programs entirely in English, allowing American students to earn a degree without speaking any German.  They have highly ranked schools like the University of Munich and the University of Bonn, so you can still get a high-end education without paying much. In 2015, over 4,600 U.S. students were fully enrolled in German Universities, a 20% increase in 3 years.  


Students used to have to speak French in order to attend a University in France.  Many programs of study at public and private universities are offered in English. Students who attend public schools usually pay a few hundred dollars per year, depending on the level of the degree and the program of study.  

Over the last few years, France has modified its free tuition model, and some EU students pay tuition based on family income. This may impact how much international students pay to attend French universities.


Until recently, citizens and international students paid no tuition at state-run universities.  However, starting in 2017, international students hoping to earn a degree in English will pay approximately $1,650 or more per year, depending on the degree level.  

Doctoral/Ph.D. students, as well as those studying in Finnish or Swedish, still pay no tuition. The government also plans to start offering scholarships to international students with extraordinary academic backgrounds.  All Finnish universities are publicly funded.


Students who can tolerate a harsh winter and one of the highest costs of living in the world might want to earn their degrees in Norway.  Tuition is free at public universities, regardless of nationality or study level, giving students the chance to study at top-ranked institutions like the University of Oslo, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, and the University of Bergen.  

All you need to pay is a semester fee which is usually less than $100. The majority of undergraduate programs are taught in Norwegian, but at the master’s and Ph.D. level, English language programs are much more common and free tuition still applies.

Other countries that offer nearly free or cheap tuition

Europe remains a highly sought-after destination for students looking elsewhere from high-priced U.S. colleges and universities, but public universities in countries like Mexico and Brazil also have virtually free tuition.  

Students pay registration fees, which amount to very little compared to the exchange rates. Some universities offer top-notch programs of study in English. Earning degrees in these countries makes it possible for students to learn languages like Spanish and Portuguese.  

Americans can also attend university in China for about $3,000 per year, which is very affordable compared to costs in the U.S. The best tuition deals in China are reserved for students pursuing their studies in Chinese.

These countries also have lower living expenses than many of the European countries.  With each year of tuition in the United States rising, countries with free college look more and more appealing.