by Geanina Spinu
All public (state) Norwegian universities do not charge tuition fees, even for international students. This is true for all levels, including undergraduate studies, Master's programmes and Ph.D. programmes.
Students may be required to pay a semester fee, but this typically amounts to around 500 NOK per semester. In order to take an exam this fee will have to be paid in full. But the fee also grants you membership in the local student welfare organisation, which in turn entitles you to several benefits. These benefits may include on campus health services, counselling, access to sports facilities and cultural activities. Payment of the semester fee is also necessary to get an official student card that, among other things, gives you reduced fares on most forms of public transport and lower ticket prices to various cultural events.
Even if there are no tuition costs, students do need to cover their living expenses, including housing, books, food and travel. In order to get an international student visa, the Norwegian government will require students to have NOK 90,800 in a Norwegian bank account in your name to cover a 10-month university year.
Norwegian students are entitled to loans and grants from the State Educational Loan Fund (NSELF). The basic support is at most NOK 90 800 per academic year (10 months). The basic support is initially given as a loan, however, 40 % of the loan may be converted to a grant for students who live away from their parents and pass all exams. The grant will be reduced if student's income or assets exceed certain limits. The amounts are universal for all students who are eligible for financial support. The maximum amount of grant is NOK 36 320.
Students under 25 years of age may also receive a grant for travel costs. Financial support is also given for study abroad as there is full portability of NSELF loans and grants. Exchange students and full degree students qualify for support.
Students taking care of children may receive a grant for each child under the age of 16.
Students on parental leave can be given a grant for up to 44 weeks, and students who cannot study because of illness may have the loan converted into a grant for up to four months and two weeks a term. Physically disabled students can get an extra grant if they are unable to work during their studies, and they may also receive basic support for twelve months per year.
Tax benefits for parents and family allowances play no role in the student support system.
Programmes and courses with tuition fees
Most private institutions have tuition fees for all their programmes and courses. But the fees are usually significantly lower than those of comparable studies in most other countries. Also, foreign students don't pay higher tuition fees than Norwegian students.