These Countries Offer Free University Tuition For All Students, Including Malaysians

But... cost of living is high.

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Did you know there are several countries where you can study for free or at a very low cost?

Studying overseas can teach you a myriad of things that you wouldn't otherwise learn in a classroom. From life experience to immersing yourself in a different culture and language, there are just so many perks of staying in another country.

While many countries are expensive, there are also affordable education choices. In fact, there are universities that offer free tuition fees for international students!

Do note that while tuition fees are free, universities will charge administrative fees, which tend to be much smaller. And of course, living expenses may be much higher than what we're used to in Malaysia.

1. Germany

Berlin, Germany.

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University tuition: Free
‍Average cost of living: RM3,900 - RM4,800/month
‍Popular courses: Business Administration, Architecture, Engineering, Data Science, Law
‍Best free universities: Free University of Berlin, Heidelberg University, Humboldt University in Berlin

P‍ublic universities in Germany offer free tuition for all, including international students, and is a top destination for education around the world. On top of that, Munich and Berlin are both ranked within the 30 most affordable cities to study in.

Despite tuition fees being free, you do have to pay administrative fees of around €250 (RM1,200) per semester. This covers access to the library, student affairs organisations, IT infrastructure, student events, and public transport.

You will also need to be proficient in Germany as classes are taught in the national language.

While in the country, students can choose to work full-time or part-time to help support themselves. Plus, you can stay up to 18 months after graduation to secure a permanent job if you plan to stay on.

2. Iceland


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University tuition: Free
‍Average cost of living: RM6,000 - RM10,000/month
‍Best free universities: Bifrost University, Iceland Academy of Arts, University of Iceland

Iceland has five public universities, all of which offer free education, however, you will have to pay around RM1,900 - RM2,500 per year for the university registration fee.

Also, do keep in mind that Iceland is one of the most expensive countries to live in. Depending on your lifestyle, you can expect to spend around RM6,300 a month on housing, food, and transport.

The perks of studying in Iceland include the fact that English is widely spoken, it's one of the most eco-friendly countries in the world (around 80% of its energy comes from hydro and geothermal power!), and it is home to some of the most beautiful natural landscapes.

With a student work permit, you can work for up to 22.5 hours per week. Post-graduation, you can get a residence permit for up to three years in order to secure a full-time job.

3. Czech Republic

Czech Republic.

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University tuition for Czech-language courses: Free
‍‍University tuition for English-language courses: Approx. RM19,000/academic year
‍Average cost of living: RM1,500 - RM3,300/month
‍Popular courses: Economics, International Affairs, Tourism, Architecture
‍Best free universities: The Academy of Fine Arts, The Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague

The Czech Republic is much more affordable to live in, and with free tertiary education, what's not to love? You need to be proficient in Czech in order to enjoy the free university courses, however they also offer affordable courses in English.

If you pursue a degree that is accredited by the Czech Ministry of Education, you'll be allowed to work while studying. After graduating, you're allowed to stay on for up to nine months on a residence permit, if you're planning to secure a full-time job.

4. Argentina

Buenos Aires, Argentina.

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University tuition: Free
‍Average cost of living: RM2,700 - RM4,200/month
‍Best free universities: University of Buenos Aires, La Plata National University, National University of Cuyo

Private universities in Argentina can be pretty pricey, but many of their public universities offer free tuition for international students. You will have to be proficient in Spanish as courses are taught in the language.

Argentina also provides grants and scholarships for international students, and there are no restrictions on the number of foreign learners at its universities.

Bonus: Norway

Alesund, Norway.

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Norway's public universities offer free undergraduate courses, but they are only open to EU students. For non-EU residents like us, the tuition fees are around RM60,000. :')

However, Norway makes it to the list as a bonus country due to the fact that they offer PhD courses for free in their public universities, which are open to all international students. You only need to pay a student union fee of around RM150 - RM300 per semester.

Similar to Iceland, you can expect a high cost of living, with monthly expenses around RM6,000 to RM8,000 for accommodation, transport, and food.

The upside to doing your PhD in Norway, in addition to the beautiful landscapes and culture, is that PhD candidates tend to get paid a salary throughout their studies!

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