Tuition fees at Universities in Europe - Overview and comparison

by Jennifer Weingarten

Looking for a top class university with accessible study fees? Then, Europe is the place for you. The European university system is mostly based on public funding, that is why European universities can provide excellent quality for very low or even no tuition fees at all!

Hospitality and engaging social life.

In total Europe offers almost 30,000 international study programmes that you can apply for. International students in Europe enjoy great living standards, cities full of culture and an intense social life. In most of the cities, universities and student organizations involve international students in diverse social activities making them feel like home. Check out why Europe is so popular among international students.

Differences between EU and Non-EU students

In general, EU students should have the same rights when they move to another EU country. Therefore EU citizens are automatically entitled to study in other EU member states: they should not be paying higher tuition fees and they should be able to receive a residence permit (in order to obtain financial sustain as any other national student). The same works generally for EEA and Swiss students too, although some conditions regarding public student loans and residence permit might differ for them.

For non-EU students this works differently. European High Education welcomes non-EU students in Europe: although they are required to pay for tuition fees (on behalf of Norway and Finland), almost everywhere they can apply for scholarships or funding. Did you know that in Europe there are in total 16 billion euros worth of Scholarship available every year? Have a look at ScholarshipPortal.eu to find the one that matches your requirements best.

View 23,687 study programmes with less than 800€ tuition fee »

Country fee focus. Would you prefer the charming districts of Paris or do you care more about a sound academic environment in Oxford? Whether you are looking for a Bachelor's, a Master's, or a PhD on Studyportals you can choose your destination country and search for a maximum tuition fee.Hereafter we provide information on study fees for international university students in different European countries.

Average tuition fees in Europe

Tuition fees in Europe are generally very low compared to other continents, while many European universities belong to the world's top. So it is possible to get top quality education against very reasonable costs. Studying abroad in Europe is therefore very popular nowadays, we also see this in our visitor statistics for example: every month our study choice websites attract more than 2 million visits from all over the world.

Of course this differs per country though, and it also depends on if you come from Europe (the European Economic Area) or not. The average tuition fee for an international Master’s programme in Europe is around € 5.100 for students from within the EEA, and € 10.170 for students from outside the EEA. For international Bachelor programmes this is € 4.500 for EEA students and € 8.600 for non-EEA students.

But many students don’t realize that you can study for less than a thousand euro per year, or even for free, in many European countries. There are more than 3.000 Master programmes in Europe with a tuition fee less than one thousand euro.

Tuition fees: An overview per country
Austria

In Austrian universities there are no tuition fees for students from EU-EEA member countries, Switzerland and least developed countries. All the others pay a study fee of about 600-1500€ per year (EUR 363.36 / 726.72 per semester). All the students are compelled to pay a semester fee of EUR 16.89 to be member of the Austrian Student Union. For more information you can visit the website of the OEAD (Austrianagency for international mobility and cooperation in education, science and research).

Read more about tuition fees and living costs in Austria »

Denmark

University education in Denmark is free for students from the EU-EEA member countries and Switzerland. For all others students tuition fees range from about EUR 6,000 to EUR 16,000 Euro per year. Scholarship programmes are available both for European and non-European students.

Read more about tuition fees and living costs in Denmark »

Finland

No tuition fees are charged for Bachelor’s and Doctoral programmes, regardless of your nationality. Master's programmes are in general for free for students from EU/EEA member countries but also students outside of the EU can study for free in most cases. In the academic year 2013/14 just selected study programmes charge tuition fees for non-EU/EEA students of EUR 2,500-12,000 per year. One exception are Erasmus Mundus programmes that do have a tuition fee that ranges from about EUR 3,000-20,000. Here, non-EU/EEA students usually pay a higher fee than EU students. However, Erasmus Mundus Scholarships and other financing options are available for these studies.

Read more about tuition fees and living costs in Finland »

France

France is one of the most popular countries and has also very affordable tuition fees: public universities charge only between about EUR 200 and EUR 650 EUR per year depending on study level (Bachelor’s/Master's) and study programme. This applies also to non-EU students.

Read more about tuition fees and living costs in France »

Germany

Germany is another European country that has top universities but very low tuition or even no tuition fees. In contrast to other countries this also applies for students outside of the EU/EEA! Universities are allowed to charge a maximum of 1000€ a year (500€ a semester) but in the academic year 2013/2014 most universities do not charge any tuition fee. You just have to pay an administration fee of about 50-200€ per semester that covers the public transport ticket and other student services.

Read more about tuition fees and living costs in Germany »

Italy

In the boot of Europe study fees depend on the university chosen and on the income of the student family; the same applies for EU/EEA and Swiss student. In public universities an annual fee ranges between EUR 150 and EUR 3,500, depending (on your family income and) on the university chosen. Private universities can charge up to EUR 16,000 per year. In general in Italian universities there are no (or very low) admission costs.

The Netherlands

In The Netherlands study fees for EU students are EUR 1,835 Euro (2013/2014) while they can reach up to about EUR €20,000 for non-EU students. EU-EEA/Switzerland students are entitled to receive a public loan. Citizens coming from other countries may apply for a study loan or scholarship at certain conditions.

Read more about tuition fees and living costs in the Netherlands »

Norway

Higher education in Norway is considered to be free of charge for everyone, although in state universities students have to pay for a small semester fee of NOK 300-600 (EUR 39.00-79.00 approx.). Students are granted a student card that gives them the right to have health care and transport for free, as well as reductions for cultural activities and events. In private universities there are tuition fees to be paid depending on the programme chosen.

Read more about tuition fees and living costs in Norway »

Spain

Each regional government sets its own tuition fees for Bachelor’s degrees. In public universities those cost between EUR 535 and EUR 1,280 per academic year. In private universities a Bachelor’s programme could cost between EUR 5,000 and EUR 12,000. Master’s programmes and PhDs study fees are calculated per credit; each credit can cost between EUR 22 and EUR 34. Therefore a typical Master’s program of 60 ECTS per academic year could cost between EUR 990 and EUR 2,040 yearly. These fees apply to all international students.

Read more about tuition fees and living costs in Spain »

Sweden

The Swedish government has introduced study fees for non-EU and non-EEA/Switzerland citizens starting from the academic year 2011-2012. Those students have to pay an application fee of SEK 900 (~100 EUR). Each university sets its own study fee that can range between SEK 80,000-140,000 (~EUR 9,000-15,750) per academic year. These fees apply only to Bachelor and Master’s programmes, while PhDs are tuition-free. At the same time the parliament of Sweden has allocated funds for two scholarship programmes for foreign students: one is directed only to scholars from 12 developing countries (Bangladesh, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia); while the second one has no geographical limitations. Here you can find all the information you need about university admission in Sweden.

Read more about tuition fees and living costs in Sweden »

Switzerland

For EU-EEA members study fees in Swiss universities range between CHF 1,000 and CHF 4,000 (~750-3000 EUR). In most cases the same fees apply for foreign students as well; only in five universities foreign students are asked to pay extra taxes. Scholarships are available for EU and eastern European students.

View 23,687 study programmes with less than 800€ tuition fee »

UK

After offering low tuition fees for long time (no tuitions were paid until 1998), the UK government has recently decided to allow universities to raise study fees. It is important to note, that Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are independent from this decision and pursue their own strategy on tuition fees. In Scotland for example, Scottish and non-UK EU citizens do not have to pay any tuition fee.

In England there are ‘home’ or ‘oversees’ rate of fee. The first one refers generally to EU residents and EEA/Switzerland students (the latter are subject to some restrictions); in these cases tuition fees range from £ 3,500 (EUR 4,255 approx.) up to a max of £ 9,000 (EUR 10,941 approx.) per year. ‘Oversees’ study fees can range between £ 3,500 (EUR 4,255 approx.) until £ 18,000 (EUR 21,882 approx.) per year. Nonetheless, the United Kingdom still remains one of the favourite destinations for many foreign students worldwide. Thanks to the quality of their teaching (in English) and the facilities offered, United Kingdom’s universities are every year in the top 10 of the Times World University Ranking. For more information about what type of fee (‘home’ or ‘oversees’) you should be paying, you can have a look at the UK Council for International Student Affairs website.

Read more about tuition fees and living costs in the UK »

Europe is going for more

Fight fire with fire, some say. That is why despite financial crisis the European Union is going to invest more money in education. Recently, the European Commission has presented its multi-annual financial framework (2014-2020) that proposes 70% funds increases for training and education: 17 billion euros that will be supporting transnational learning mobility; cooperation between institutions; modernisation of education and implementation of education policies in the Member States.


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