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How to Study Abroad for Free

Updated on 02 February, 2024

Kanika Pruthi

Kanika Pruthi

Sr. Content Writer & Study Abroad Expert

Studying abroad enables students to gain a highly recognized education, immerse themselves in a different culture, gain a global perspective, and forge lifelong friendships with people from diverse backgrounds. However, the cost of studying at international universities can be a significant barrier for most students. But what if we tell you that the dream of studying abroad doesn't have to be a financial nightmare, and you can actually study abroad for free? Now, this raises the question –How to study abroad for free?

Start Your Study Abroad Journey with upGrad Abroad

Read More: Study Abroad after 12th and Graduation

 

This article will sail you through how to reduce tuition and living costs partially or even fully. We will also tell you how you can get an exceptional education at minimal prices.

Want to Study Abroad for Free

Germany – The Ultimate Study Destination with Zero Tuition Fees

Germany attracts students from all over the world for many reasons. Some of them include top-quality education, amazing post-study work opportunities, beautiful countryside, affordable accommodation, great culture, unique courses, and awesome nightlife.

Interested in Studying at German Universities

The primary allure for soaring interest in pursuing higher education in Germany is the absence of tuition fees at most public universities across the country. The education policy welcomes both German nationals and international students, irrespective of their nationality, to study in Germany for free. There are more than 300 public universities in Germany offering 1000+ study programs in total. Typically, a semester fee, ranging from US$170 to US$280 (approximately), is the only financial commitment required in these universities. Germans believe that education should not be treated as a profitable business and that everyone should have free access to education. Apart from the students, the approach is also favourable for the country’s economic growth. Free education attracts international students which, in turn, benefits the German economy.

However, there is a slight difference in the southwest of Germany, specifically in the state of Baden-Württemberg. In the autumn of 2017, this region reinstated tuition fees for non-European Union/non-European Economic Area (EU/EEA) students. They are obliged to pay approximately USD 1,660 per semester. This doesn’t apply to PhD students and refugees. They remain exempt from these fees.

Remarkably, over 49 German universities feature prominently in the QS World University Rankings. Furthermore, Munich and Berlin, two of Germany's most sought-after study destinations, have also earned their places as some of the most affordable cities for students. In the QS Best Student Cities 2024 rankings, both cities found their place in the top 30 most budget-friendly student cities worldwide, further enhancing Germany's appeal as a study destination.

Study in Nordic Countries for Free

Norway:

Norway has a highly competent education system. This picturesque destination has been popular amongst students seeking world-class education for free while enjoying a dreamy lifestyle. Earlier Norwegian universities charged USD 33 to USD 66 as a semester fee and the only condition for getting free education in Norway was that you must be proficient in the Norwegian language. But from August 2023, the non EU/EEA or Switzerland students need to pay USD 8,000 to USD 15,000 per academic year. 

Sweden

Universities in Sweden offer higher education to students from EU/EEA and Switzerland at zero tuition fees. However, if you are a researcher pursuing your PhD from any university in Sweden, you will get a stipend for your work and gain the degree without paying any tuition fee for it. There is also the provision of getting scholarships in many Swedish universities, which can be a great thing for international students who are worried about how to study abroad for free. Some Swedish universities popular among international students are Uppsala University, Stockholm University, and Karolinska Institute. 

Finland

You can pursue your higher education in Finland, where you can study for free, especially at the Postgraduate and Doctoral levels. This country is known worldwide for offering excellent courses in architecture, communication, design, and many more. Finland also has some great polytechnic colleges, which makes it a popular destination for students among other countries with free education for international students. In Finland, the newly implemented tuition fees start at a minimum of approximately USD 1,700 annually.

Other Countries Where You Can Study at Low Prices

Canada

It is the most popular study abroad destination which also offers high-quality education at low prices. Canada offers degrees that are internationally recognized and are highly valued by the top employers of the world. According to a UN survey, Canada figures among the top three countries that offer study, living, and working opportunities in a safe and peaceful environment. To study in Canada at a low price or to reduce the cost of studying in Canada, you get the option of part-time jobs and scholarships.

Part-Time Work in Canada

Apart from pocket-friendly prices, Canada also has a progressive and multicultural environment. Canadian laws also allow students to work for 20 hours a week during academic sessions. Students can work up to 40 hours a week during vacations. Part-time work with studies helps students cover some of their expenditures.

Every year, Canada welcomes more than 500,000 students for higher studies. It is therefore known as one of the best overseas busy destinations. After completing their studies, students can work for up to 3 years depending upon the length of the program they choose. Canada has high placement figures and international job opportunities, which is why students studying in Canada have better chances of becoming experts in their field.

These successful candidates are also selected by the top recruiters of the world. Studying in Canada is a great alternative for those who want to study abroad for free or with minimal costs. Canada charges low tuition fees for international and Canadian students. Many students choose to study in Canada because of its low tuition costs, the reputation of universities, and comfortable living.

Canada is undoubtedly a great country for study as it offers vast career opportunities and takes your career to new heights of success. However, you may face some financial difficulties due to the costs of living, and other factors . while studying in Canada. That can be a bit challenging.

Best Scholarships in Canada for Non-Canadians

1) Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship

This scholarship awards USD 52,000 to 70 fellowships for 2 years. It is for postdoctoral researchers in the areas of health, natural sciences, engineering, social sciences, and humanities. To be eligible, applicants require a PhD, PhD-equivalent, or a health professional degree.

2) IDRC Research Awards

This scholarship provides travel and research support to students up to USD 11,143. It can be availed by applicants from developing countries enrolled in master’s scholarships or doctoral programs. Applicants must have a valid work permit for full-time work in Canada prior to applying.

3) Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS)

This scholarship is offered in collaboration with the government of Canada and other participating institutions. It grants a maximum of USD 11,143 (approximately) per year. Each scholarship is used for one year (or two consecutive or three academic sessions). The value and duration of each OGS award are determined by the graduate unit of an applicant.

While master’s students can get up to two years of OGS awards, doctoral students can get up to four. Each student is allowed a maximum of six years.

4) Canadian Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship

This scholarship is for students from the Commonwealth countries pursuing master’s and PhD degrees at Canadian universities. It covers living expenses, traveling allowance, and other necessary costs.

Australia

Studying at Australian universities is a lifetime dream for many students who want to study abroad. Australian degrees are worth time and money as Australia follows global standards of education. However, the high fees in Australia may break the aspirations of many students. Studying in Australia can be quite expensive. So, you might be thinking of affordable ways to study there.

International students have two main options for studying at affordable prices in Australian universities. One way is to engage in part-time jobs and the other is to get a scholarship. There are fully paid scholarships available in Australia through which students can study for free. Not only this, but these scholarships also cover your living expenses.

Part-Time Work in Australia

Based on the present rules, starting from July 2023, individuals entering Australia on Visa Subclass 500 will be permitted to work for a maximum of 48 hours every two weeks during the academic session. Moreover, there will be no restrictions on the number of hours a student can work during course breaks, allowing unlimited work-hour opportunities.

Best Scholarships to Study in Australia for Free

1) Endeavour Postgraduate Leadership Awards

This scholarship grants an amount of approximately USD 175,030 by the universities and higher education institutes in Australia. It can be availed for 2 years by master’s students and for 3.5 years by PhD students. For availing of this scholarship, a candidate needs to meet the following eligibility criteria:

a) The candidate should not be an Australian.

b) Candidate should be at least 18 years of age while applying.

 c) The candidate should not be covered by other scholarship programs in Australia.

2) Adelaide Scholarships International

This scholarship allows international students to study at the University of Adelaide at an affordable cost. It reduces the tuition fee up to 50%. It is for students pursuing master’s and doctoral degrees. The benefit can be availed for 2 years and can be extended only for doctoral purposes. It covers the expenses related to tuition fees, living expenses, and health insurance cover. The eligibility criteria to avail of this scholarship include:

a) Candidates need to complete an Australian honours degree or another equivalent qualification.

b) Candidates have to submit proof of English language proficiency.

c) The candidate pursuing a doctoral degree should not have any prior research qualification.

d) Candidates applying for this scholarship should not be a resident of Australia and New Zealand. Ones who have applied for Australian permanent residency but have not received an outcome, can also apply.

3) University of Sydney International Research Scholarships

The University of Sydney is ranked 3rd among the Australian universities. Also known as UsydIS, this scholarship covers tuition fees and living expenses. It covers an amount of USD 23,904 annually. Doctoral students can get an extension of six months after completing their course. Any student who is a doctorate can re-apply for the scholarship for pursuing master’s programs. The eligibility criteria include:

1) The applicant should not be a resident of Australia.

2) Candidates should not have any research qualifications.

3) Candidates should not be covered under any other scholarship program in Australia.

Countries With Affordable Cost of Living

Canada

Canada offers several opportunities in a variety of fields. Additionally, the post-study stay-back option, often known as the PGWP, allows students to stay in the nation and look for employment opportunities.

Cost of Living in Canada

Living costs can be categorized into accommodation costs and daily or monthly expenses. Accommodation costs vary depending on where you want to stay. The rent is always different in the city’s heart from that in the outskirts. The type of accommodation you choose also influences your out-of-pocket costs.

Item

Estimated Cost (per month)

Housing and accommodationUSD 371 to USD 1,485
Food and groceriesUSD 178 to USD 356
Utilities and cableUSD 74+
InternetUSD 37 to USD 74
PhoneUSD 45+
Health InsuranceUSD 56 to USD 89
EntertainmentUS 89+
TransportationUSD 59 to USD 116

Germany

It is a well-known European country where students can work both while studying and after graduation. The country has a long history of providing high-quality education. German public universities are known for free education, and they are at the forefront of major scientific advancements as well.

Cost of Living in Germany

Many students can study for free in Germany, but they have to pay for their living expenses. In Germany, the average annual cost of living is around USD 14,196 .

Item

Estimated Cost (per month)

Housing and accommodation (including utility)USD 435
FoodUSD 210
Health insurance, doctor's fees, medicationsUSD 106
Transportation costsUSD 94.50
Recreation, culture, and sportsUSD 69
ClothingUSD 49
Study materials, such as booksUSD 33
Telephone/Internet/radio and TV license, postageUSD 34
Other expensesUSD 153

France

France is a relatively affordable country for Indian students to pursue an undergraduate or postgraduate degree, with various higher education institutions located in over forty cities.

Cost of Living in France

The cost of living in France for international students can be divided into accommodation and living expenses.

Item

Estimated Cost (per month)

Rented accommodationUSD 850
Health insuranceUSD 32
UtilitiesUSD 106
Sports and entertainmentUSD 40 to USD 66
TravelingUSD 32 to USD 80
Other expenses (including food)USD 23 to USD 49

Norway

Norway never fails to surprise travel enthusiasts. International students will find it to be an equally interesting study hub. In Norway, there are numerous educational opportunities. Norway offers over 200 master’s degrees and English-taught undergraduate programs.

Cost of Living in Norway

Accommodation, books and stationery, food, and other utilities are all included in the cost of living in Norway. You can expect to pay anywhere between USD 1,392 to USD 2,432 per month on average. In large cities, prices can be significantly higher.

Item

Estimated Cost (per month)

Accommodation

USD 858 to USD 1,863

Food

USD 92

Utilities

USD 242

Mobile and internet

USD 92

Books & Supplies

USD 25 to USD 56

Transportation

USD 72.56

Entertainment

USD 11 to USD 15

New Zealand

It is a popular choice among students from around the world as New Zealand’s infrastructure and policies have a global impact.

Cost of Living in New Zealand 

Student halls of residence and shared apartments are two of the most popular types of accommodation for international students. The monthly rent and utilities are mentioned below:

Item

Estimated Cost (per month)

Accommodation

USD 925 to USD 1,105

Food

USD 88

Utilities

USD 135

Mobile and internet

USD 90

Sports and entertainment

USD 39

Transportation

USD 95

Can Part-time Jobs Help You Reduce Cost of Studying

Yes, a part-time job can help if you are an international student trying to get through life in a foreign country. While your education in one of the countries mentioned above can cost you almost nothing, maintaining yourself in a foreign land can be difficult if you do not earn something extra. Unlike India, where international students are not allowed to do part-time jobs, you can easily find one in most foreign countries. But there are a few restrictions for international students that you should be aware of. For instance, in Canada, you cannot work for more than 20 hours a week during your termThis is extended to a limit of 40 hours per week during the holiday season. So, before you go on a part-time job hunt, gather all the information about the rules and regulations that you must follow as an international student.

The kind of job you get can vary depending on what university you are studying in. In many universities, you can find on-campus jobs, for instance, in laboratories, libraries, receptions, cafeterias, and gyms. Yet given the limited number of such positions, it can be difficult to land such a job. Still, you need not worry as there are many off-campus opportunities such as waiter/waitress, receptionist, data entry and contact centre jobs, and many more. Doing a part-time job will help you pay your rent, bills, and daily requirements, and it will also be valuable to your resume. 

Fundraising For Studying Abroad and Virtual Studying 

Despite being the dream of millions of students, studying abroad can be financially challenging for most people. Even if you are admitted to a University that does not charge you for your higher education degree, living in a foreign country can be expensive, especially if you belong to India. There are a few ways you can raise money for pursuing the course from a place you like. One such way is by raising funds to support your finances during your stay abroad. While the proposition of raising funds can feel a little awkward for many, it is one of the best ways to ensure the fulfilment of your dreams without any financial hindrance. You can go for crowdfunding and create a campaign for yourself using a free fundraising platform. Or you can directly approach your family members, friends, and acquaintances to help you with your finances. There is also the option of selling your work to raise money. 

But if, for some reason, you are still unable to raise the sum you were hoping to, do not give up on your dream of studying abroad. You can study abroad virtually and learn from some of the best universities worldwide. Read on to know more.

Ways to Reduce Cost of Studying Abroad

Anyone planning to study abroad will be looking for ways to lower the cost of studying while living in a foreign country. Listed below are a few ways that can help you reduce your expenses to a large extent-

  • Choose your study destination wisely. If you go off to a University where you can study for free abroad, the biggest chunk of your expenses is automatically off the book. Choose a country like Germany or Norway and keep yourself from getting anxious about course fees.
  • Try staying at university-arranged houses or in student apartments with roommates as they are far less expensive than personal apartments, hotels, or homestays.
  • Buying second-hand equipment, furniture, etc. can help save you a lot of money.
  • Analyzing the potential hidden costs of a course before you apply is imperative if you want to save your valuable money.
  • You can study virtually and save a lot of the cost of studying abroad. You will get the very best of education without spending your entire fortune.

Study abroad with upGrad Abroad:

upGrad Abroad has started uniquely designed programs that enable students to save money on tuition fees and other expenses. Students enrolling in these programs will be studying a part of their program online and completing the course on-campus. 

Benefits of Joining upGrad’s Program:

  • Quality education at lower prices
  • Degree from international colleges/universities
  • Time-saving
  • 1/5th of cost
  • End-to-end assistance for applications and visas

Why choose us?

Our programs are industry-relevant and delivered by top industry experts from around the world. With our live discussion forum, candidates can interact with peers from different geographies. They can connect with them and resolve their doubts.

Not only this, there are live weekly sessions by leaders from the industry that will help you to shape a better career. By understanding the importance of practical learning, we have developed short videos that will help you to grasp important topics in less time. Our programs will also help you to brush up on your communication skills so that you can impress the employer in no time.

After completing the study modules, learners will get copies of the completed content. They need to practice and revise the content in order to perform well in assignments and tests. These are assigned by teaching associates every week. Learners will also get feedback on their consistent growth. With our programs, students can access recorded lessons, live lectures, podcasts, and a lot more.

We are pleased to tell you that now you can study at the best global universities with upGrad Abroad. To know more about our pathway programs, contact us!

Frequently Asked Questions

How to study abroad for free?

If you wonder how to study abroad for free, you can do so by applying to public universities, for example, in Germany or the Nordic countries. You can also apply for scholarships and grants to lower the cost of studying abroad. Or you can also go study virtually and save a lot of money on your degree.

 

 


 

 

 

Which country can I study abroad in for free?

The best countries to study abroad for free or at a minimal cost are Germany, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, France, Czech Republic, and Austria.

 

 


 

 

 

Which countries pay you to study?

You can get monetary support from the governments of Norway, Denmark, Holland, and Finland for your study.

 

 


 

 

 

How can I get a full scholarship to study abroad?

Apply to as many scholarships as possible, like the Fulbright-Nehru Fellowships, Tata Scholarship, Commonwealth Scholarship, Fellowship, etc. Through grants and scholarships, you can significantly cut your cost of staying and studying abroad.

 

 


 

 

 

Is there any scholarship for Indian students to study abroad absolutely free?

There are quite a few scholarships for Indian students to study for free abroad like the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship, Fulbright-Nehru Fellowships, Chevening Scholarships, Inlaks Scholarship, Erasmus Mundus Scholarships for International Students, etc.

 

 


 

 

 

How to study abroad for free after 12th?

First, you will require a passport if you want to study abroad. Then, choose the country and the University you want to go to. Choose a country like Germany or Norway if you’re going to study with zero tuition fees. You will have to apply directly to international Universities and choose affordable courses. You can also study abroad virtually and save a lot of your money.

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

Kanika Pruthi

Sr. Content Writer & Study Abroad Expert

Kanika has 5+ years of experience as a writer and content developer. She has written for a wide range of industry verticals, including hospitality, restaurants, non-profits, finance, IT, HR, technology, payroll, and education. She has worked as a creator for a few leading companies and has also helped brands grow through her creative writing.

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