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10 Best Fee Free Universities from Around the World

10 Best Fee Free Universities from Around the World
Written by Oana Schneider

In the contemporary society, investing in education is an important aspect for everyone who worries about their job and career prospects. Specialized qualification in various fields, however, comes with a price that more often than not amounts to unaffordable sums.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, the average cost of college tuition is in continuous growth, increasing with 4.5% in the private sector and with 8.3% for state universities. Find out which of the best fee-free universities are!

With these very non-encouraging prospects, one can conclude that college education will continue to be more and more expensive; and it is so not only because of high tuition fees. Actually, there are some universities where you only have to worry about finding reasonable accommodation and covering your living expenses.

When making a comparison of the tuition fees required all over the world, a future student will find out that Europe is by far the continent with the most generous offer. In fact, some countries like Finland, Denmark, and Germany have developed no-tuition educational schemes for some universities. Of course, in some cases this depends on whether the student chooses a part-time or full-time study program, and on whether he applies to a state university or to a private one.

Bearing all this in mind, let us introduce you to top 10 best fee free universities from around the world!

1. All Finnish Universities

Finland is famous for having the best educational system in the world – and, obviously linked to that, the highest literacy rate. In this context, you will be pleased to find out that each and every state university in this country, regardless of their field of study and of the nationality of the students, charges no tuition fees whatsoever!

Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean you no longer have to worry about your student finance, even if not having to pay for your classes is a major relief. All the students are expected to fully cover their living costs. On average, this amounts to about 700 euros each month, accommodation included. Of course, you may also get a scholarship if you apply for one, but it is important to keep in mind the fact that currently, they focus especially on funding Doctoral level studies; this means that it is considerably more difficult to get a scholarship in Finland if you are looking for Bachelor or Masters qualifications. we think this is probably the best of all the best fee free universities in the world.

You will find here a full list of higher education institutions in Finland, so you can pick the one that suits your needs best:

2. Online Tuition Free Universities

Other best fee free universities you may be interested in are the online ones. Yes, such universities do actually exist! A student can benefit from an international academic experience using distance learning education. This solution is way cheaper than studying abroad, for all the obvious reasons: you can be staying your place, in your home country, not spending money on transport and accommodation. You will only need a computer with an internet connection (and, of course, some time, interest, and motivation) in order to get a degree. Some of these programs are fee-based, but some of them are completely free!

The first institution of this kind is the University of the People – a non-profit higher education institution that aims to broaden the global access to university study programs. It currently offers associate degrees in two very demanded fields on the labor market: Management and Computer Science.

Another free popular learning platform welcoming international students to follow free online classes is edX – a joint teaching institution with courses taught by professors from Harvard, MIT, and Berkeley. Unfortunately, it doesn’t award degrees; successful students do get, however, certificates of study completion. Who said that the best fee free universities don’t exist, didn’t do their homework very well! 

10 Best Fee Free Universities from Around the World

Good education doesn’t have to be expensive!

3. University of Copenhagen and Copenhagen Business School

Just like a great deal of other Danish universities, the University of Copenhagen and Copenhagen Business school do not charge tuition fees for students having their residence in the European Union (EU) or in the European Economic Area (EEA, standing for EU and some other countries like Norway, Iceland, and Switzerland). Higher education is also free of tuition costs for all the students involved in exchange programs.

In addition to that, Denmark has a rich offer of private or public funded schemes financing scholarships and grants. On the other hand, international students that do not qualify for entering the above mentioned categories and do not apply for a tuition waiver scholarship at least a year before the beginning of their studies are still subject to tuition payments. These range between $8,000 and $21,000 (6,000 to 16,000 euros), depending on the institution and study program in question. Plus, parties are included at the best fee free universities!

4. All Public Universities in Norway, for graduate and undergraduate levels!

Yes, all universities are fee free universities in Norway! The general rule in Norway is that no state university or university college is allowed to charge international students with tuition fees! And the best part is that this principle applies regardless of the level of study – Bachelor, Masters or PhD. On the other hand, international students are required to pay a small administrative contribution of $50 to $100 per semester.

Private universities do charge tuition fees, but they are significantly lower than in other countries. If this is the case, anyway, foreign students are not charged higher fees than Norwegian students. The major downside of the Norwegian generous offer is that it comes with very high living expenses – around $15,000 per year.

5. Stockholm University, Karolinska University, Gothenburg University

To begin with, note that all the PhD study programs are free of tuition in all Swedish universities, for all categories of international students!

For undergraduate and Master degrees, Swedish universities has a generous offer of university-funded or public-funded tuition waivers to choose from. Some of the highest-ranked academic education institutions on the list include the three above, together with Stockholm School of Economics, Umea University, and Uppsala Universities. Fancying any of the best fee free universities so far?

6. Austrian Universities – free tuition for students from least developed countries

Non-EU students coming from least developed countries do benefit from special treatment in Austrian universities; namely, they are exempt from the payment of all tuition fees!

Moreover, non-EU students coming from other countries have cheap tuitions – around 700 euros per semester, and they can apply for full or partial reimbursement with financial help from a wide range of scholarships. Tuition waiver grants are available and relatively easy-to-get, provided on an institutional level. Living expenses for a student in Austria amount to 700 or 800 euros. 

7. Free Bachelors at German Universities

Up until January 2005, public higher education tuitions had been fully covered by the German state. Now the situation has changed a bit, but as of October 2013, only 1 out of 16 Federal states imposed tuition fees that, nevertheless, do not exceed 500 euros per semester. The 15 other will only request a symbolic contribution to be paid each semester, of around 50 euros or so. Pay attention – this is only valid for Bachelor degree programs!

Master studies are subject to tuition fees that vary between 650 and several thousands of euros. Browse the official websites of German universities to find specific information according to your academic profile and needs. You should also know that the average German student spends between 500 and 800 euros to cover their living costs.

To sum up, Germany can be considered one of the most student-friendly European countries. However, note that most Bachelor degrees in Germany are taught in German. If you do not speak German, it is more likely to find a study program in your field taught in English only at Masters and PhD levels. If none of the best fee free universities appeal to you, keep reading!

10 Best Fee Free Universities from Around the World

Looking for a nice campus?

8. US Military Service Academies

United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, United States Coast Guard Academy, and US Military or Naval Academies do not charge any tuition fee. Moreover, room and board are funded by the state, so students only have to provide for personal expenses. However, the admission is tough and all these institutions require students to serve after graduation. If you are not accustomed to heavy discipline and authority, this may not be a great offer for you! This is our dearest of all the best fee free universities: you serve your country and your country serves you!

9. Deep Springs College, California

Located in a cattle ranch in Inyo County, California, Deep Springs provides higher education in humanities to exceptionally gifted students, with no tuition fees whatsoever for the best 26 of them. The admission process is very difficult, though; this college has admission rate selectivity of 6% to 15%, each year. If you are looking for the best fee free universities universities in the world, Deep Springs College is the one to look after!

10. University of Melbourne, Australia

University of Melbourne famously offers a number of 150 fee remission grants to international students with great results, on a yearly basis. The initiative belongs to the Australian government, which has decided that time has come for Australia to begin brain-hunting for international students with top results in biological, civil, environmental, and mechanical engineering.

However, it is not the only university offering such scholarships to foreign learners interested in studying in Australia. University of Sydney, for example, awards 30 grants each year, while the University of Western Australia has recently developed a fee-waiver program funding 90 yearly PhD research scholarships to fully cover the tuition expenses. Check out these best fee free universities before packing your stuff for college!

About the author

Oana Schneider

Oana Schneider is a published author located in Chicago, Illinois, who currently works for as a communication specialist and blog editor. She writes about lifestyle, family budget, has a degree in Communications and advocates for women’s rights. Her future plans include getting a Labrador and losing a few pounds.


  • Thanks for the insightful article! I think it’s ridiculous how much college cost in the US. Education is so important. If anyone is interested in free online courses checking out Coursera is worth a shot. I know some of them offer certificates for a cheap price, but honestly the free courses are fun to take if you have some free time and enjoy learning.

    • It’s not really the educational system that’s broken in the United States. The main culprit is how schooling is funded by most people. Loans are a terrible way to finance an education, and lower tuition rates would benefit everyone more. Still, part of the blame rests on the students that lazily take out loans without knowing what they’re truly doing to themselves.

    • The courses on are not only fun to take, some of them are produced at a very high quality. The most popular courses that are listed there have some of the most comprehensive and insightful curricula I’ve ever seen. Currently I’ve finished 5 courses and all of them are top notch. Being able to receive a certificate from them for a small fee is just the icing on a cake. Most of these courses after all are associated with famous universities around the US and abroad.

  • Higher education is definitely something that should be either low-cost or free altogether. There’s no reason that universities should be raking in profits by charging over-inflated tuition rates while cutting services and courses for their very students. It’s literally in the best interest of everyone to make education more affordable across the board.

  • This is interesting I did not know these places had low cost or free. I would be more interested in studying if the college’s around here would drop their fees down a bit, that would be nice. Right now with being debt already its not an interest unless I can find something cheaper.

  • I’m not going to go for an international move to save money on education but I love the suggestions for online universities. I kept changing my major in college in search of interesting classes to take and ended up with a pretty huge pile of student loans, almost twice the credits it should have taken me to get that degree. I love that there’s a way to continue learning free. I’m not really worried about the additional credits as long as I can learn stuff.

  • All I can say is “WOW”! I also spent a lot of money on my college education. As a mom, I am so happy I found this article for my children. The cost of education here in the US is staggering and many, like me, graduate with a pile of debt. I wish I would have read something like this 10 years ago.

    Many students are not given classes on finance or are not assisted by their parents. When I first started college I didn’t understand loans or what they cost down the road. I had the too optimistic idea that when I graduated I would be making a great wage to pay everything off. I know I won’t allow my children to make the same mistakes with education costs to end up in the same situation.

    Thank you all for posting the comments about Coursera. I will be checking those programs out today!

  • How about the Southern Insititue of Technology in South Island New Zealand? Google search this to find out more

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