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Tuition and scholarships in Europe

There are several reasons why people should consider Europe as their study destination: high standards in education, open societies, relatively safe countries, appealing cultures and splendid nature. Another reason: the tuition fees are as a whole lower than in other countries and there are many scholarship opportunities to be found.

Tuition fees in Europe

It is difficult to generalize about tuition fees. When talking about Europe, we are referring to 33 countries that all have their own rules when it comes to tuition fees. For example: fees in Finland range from 4 000 – 18 000 euro, in Belgium the usual fee is 890 euro and in Norway most education is free, except for a semester fee.

Besides differences between countries, the level of fees depends on numerous factors:

  • Programme that you are enrolled in
  • Type of education: University vs. University of Applied Science
  • Level of education: Bachelor vs. Master
  • Private or public institution
  • Length of the programme
  • EU or non-EU student

And these are only a handful of factors. Then how do you find out what you’d have to pay in your situation? Don’t worry, as you can find detailed and specific information on the country profiles of the countries that you are interested in. On these profiles, an estimation of the tuition fees is listed. You can find more details on the national information portals and on the website of the institution where you consider studying.

Scholarship opportunities

Even though studying in Europe is relatively cheap compared to some other countries, you may still be looking for help to pay the tuition fees. To ease the burden on (international) students, every country offers scholarship opportunities. You’ll find more detailed information on the country profiles.

Overall there are several ways to get a scholarship:

  1. Government in your country: sometimes (local) government offers scholarships to students who are going to study abroad. An example is the Fulbright student scholarships that are sponsored by the US Department of State. Many more countries offer financial support in this way.
  2. Government of the country where you are going to study: Scholarships often feature highly in the investments made by European governments to attract international talent to their countries. Malta, for instance, offers the Malta Arts scholarship to support arts students. In Germany, DAAD offers a wide array of scholarships to students with specific nationalities. And these are just two examples. Almost every European country offers scholarships like these.
  3. Institution where you are going to study: Many institutions want to attract the best students. To alleviate the possible financial burden, many offer “excellence”, “talent” or “honours” scholarships. This usually means a (partial) tuition waiver and allowance, but it varies per institution. To illustrate: the University of Milan (Italy) offers fee exemptions and scholarships to “able and deserving students (…) who meet criteria such as talent (and) merit.”
  4. Erasmus+ scholarships: When you are enrolled in a study programme in Europe and you want to do an exchange or take up an internship in another EU country, you can apply for an Erasmus+ scholarship. As an exchange student, you do not need to pay extra tuition. As you already paid tuition to your institution, this scholarship offers you a monthly allowance. Or you can apply for an Erasmus Mundus scholarship and do a masters degree programme. One programme, several European countries as it includes courses that are taught at different universities across Europe.
  5. Global organisations: Several global organisations, like the Rotary foundation and the Aga Kahn foundation, offer scholarships to students. The requirements for this type of scholarship are often very specific: you have to be a member of the Rotary to be eligible for that scholarship, whereas the Aga Kahn foundation offers its scholarship only to students from developing countries.

A scholarship can make many aspects of your study period easier. Look into the scholarships you could be eligible for, and apply to a few. Bear in mind that application is often more than just an online form: you’ll have to provide references, write motivation letters, draw up a budget estimate, sending in transcripts and sometimes it even involves auditions. Be prepared and thorough, because if you persevere, you may, in the end, get that scholarship.

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