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Countries with Free College 2024

The monetary cost of attending a modern college, university, or other institute of higher learning can often be prohibitively high. Tuition fees in the United States, for example, averaged $10,000-$38,000 per year (US$) in 2021-22, with many private universities exceeding $50,000. Housing and living expenses add to that total. Grants and scholarships can help offset tuition costs, but typically fall short. As a result, many students—particularly minorities, who earn a disproportionately low income in many countries—cannot afford to attend college. Those students who do attend must often take out massive student loans, saddling themselves with significant debt that can take decades to repay.

To address these concerns, a number of countries have made college/university tuition free for their citizens. In these systems, higher education is available to most students at little to no cost (often requiring only a small administrative fee) regardless of limiting factors such as income level or social status. Most of these countries are developed nations and many are democratic socialist states in which the government also provides other essential services such as universal or single payer health care.

Countries that offer free college/university to international students

A number of countries further extend the offer of free (or minimal cost) tuition to international students as well. This enables students from the United States and other countries with high college tuition costs to study abroad while also obtaining their education with minimal cost. However, it should be noted that classes in many countries are taught in that country's native language—universities in Greece, for instance, teach most classes in Greek rather than English—which could introduce a language barrier. Also, most of these countries are European, and may require extra fees from students from outside the European Union (EU) and/or European Economic Area (EEA). A full list of countries that offer free tuition to nationals and/or internationals can be seen below.

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Tuition (International)
ArgentinaNominal fees
Nominal fees
Free for EU/EEA for two semesters. Nominal fees for non-Europeans
Minimal fees for EU/EEA. Nominal fees for non-Europeans
BrazilLanguage dependent
Free, but must know Portuguese
CubaStandard (med exepted)
Full fees, but international medical students with Bachelor's or equivalent may get scholarship
Czech RepublicLanguage dependent
Free for classes taught in Czech. Courses in English have fees
Free for EU/EEA & Switzerland. Notable fees for non-Euro undergrads. PhD programs free for all. Non-...
Free for citizens, although system is in need of reform
EstoniaNominal fees
Nominal fees for internationals. Scholarships available. PhD programs free. 150+ programs taught in ...
Full fees
FinlandEU- & Lang-dep.
Free for EU/EEA, Switzerland, & speakers of Finnish or Swedish. PhD programs free for all. Some clas...
Free w minimal fees for EU/EEA. Fees for non-Euros rising, but scholarships available. Many courses ...
Free for undergrads from any country; may have small fee. Many courses in English, but some German-o...
Free for EU/EEA (most programs), nominal fees for non-Europeans. Must speak Greek
Free for all nationalities except for minor registration fee. Most undergrad classes taught in Icela...
IndiaNominal fees
Nominal fees for international students, but students are not allowed to work while attending
IranFree w obligation
Free, but grads must serve government for as many years as were needed to get degree
Nominal fees (€900 and €4,000) for EU students
Free w high scores on on aptitude exams. Limited availability
LebanonNominal fees
Nominal fees
LuxembourgNominal fees
Nominal fees. Most classes taught in English, German, or French
Free for EU students and Maltese citizens, nominal fees for non-EU students
Full fees
Full fees
Full fees
New ZealandStandard
Full fees. Slowly phasing in three years' free instruction for New Zealanders as well as Australians...
Free w/ one year completed or strong placement test score. Minimal fees. Most undergrad courses taug...
Free to all. Spanish proficiency is helpful
Free to Filipinos
PolandNominal fees
Free for EU/EAA students, nominal fees for internationals. Many programs in English
Free to Russians and Belarusians with adequate grades. International slots are limited (15,000). Cla...
Free for EU and many Eastern Europeans, nominal fees for internationals
Free for EU, nominal fees for non-Europeans
Sri LankaStandard
Full fees. Free to nationals who score in top 15%-17% (approximate) on aptitude tests.
Free for EU/EEA and Switzerland. PhD programs free for all. Many scholarships available
TaiwanNominal fees
Nominal fees for internationals. Scholarships available. Classes may be in Mandarin
Trinidad and TobagoStandard
Full fees
TurkeyNominal fees
Nominal fees
Full fees
showing: 39 rows

Which countries have free college?

Countries that offer free college without nominal fees include Germany, Kenya, Panama, Norway, Iceland, and Iran. Many EU nations also provide free college to those from other EU countries.

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