Sinlung /
30 May 2011

How About Studying Abroad... For Free!

By Apoorva Tadepalli

Most European varsities are government-funded and offer courses for international students charging little or nothing. Some of them even pay you for taking up higher education there, reports Apoorva Tadepalli

How about studying abroad... for free!

Studying abroad is enticing, all right. But the crunch is that along with the big names like Cambridge and Harvard come premium fee tags, especially when your purse is not two-tonne heavy. Is there a way out? Yes, not one but many!

Just look beyond the UK in Europe, you may find many a varsity -- with big names too -- that are ready to take you in for tuition fees that range between a little and nothing.

One of the biggest differences between higher education in the UK and in the rest of Europe is that in countries like Germany, Finland and Sweden, the universities are publicly-funded. These universities offer high standards of education and are becoming increasingly popular.

It's free in Finland

In Finland, higher education is fully funded by the government, and many courses like design, environmental science and architecture, which are popular among international students, are taught in English. However, there are over 100 other courses that are open to international students.

Local and international students are provided with free university tuition for under-graduation as well as for post-graduation. Some masters programmes even pay students to conduct their masters thesis and do research, especially for courses like Computer Applications. Students who pursue their Masters and conduct research get paid up to 50 euros a month.

How about studying abroad... for free!

If a student's research is in connection with a particular industry, they fetch more funds because the industries' funding is heftier than that of the universities.
What more, Finland is gaining popularity among Indian students.

For a chemical engineering master's course, the number of students who got enrolled from India tripled this year. One of the major reasons for this is the convenience of living in Finland.

The total cost incurred by students averages around 800 euros a month, especially when the universities often arrange for accommodation for students through student unions. Lodging is also relatively inexpensive. Student apartments are less expensive than private apartments and can be easily arranged for on

How about studying abroad... for free!

Study and work in Sweden

Sweden is another country where a significant portion of the universities are public and tuition fees are low.

Till date, international and national students have received almost free education, paying only around 30 euros per term. This amount gives students a student card that is necessary to write exams at the university, and also use public transport and shop with discounts. However, this structure may change for non-European students.

Though individual universities do not offer scholarships, the Swedish Institute, which is a collective body regulating education in Sweden, does. Hence, international students, who are not given free tuition, may apply for these scholarships. They can also get jobs in the city, because non-citizens do not need a special permit to work.

The other costs that students have to incur average around 750 euros a month, particularly because student dorms are rented out at a lower price than private dorms.
Germany is also emerging as a favourite international study destination.

Like Finland, Sweden and Germany, there are several other European countries that have institutions that offer high-quality education and rank high in the QS World Rankings. The governments in these countries support education to a great extent, whereas in the US, most institutions are private and in the UK, scholarships and financial aid are rare.

Why European countries, apart from the UK, are not so popular among students is because of the assumption that language would be a problem. Besides, they don't want a degree from an obscure name. But, now, students are realising that these are non-issues and, above all, money matters.

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