Can you Study Abroad for Free?

9 mins read50.4K Views 22 Comments
Rahul Singha
Study Abroad Expert
Updated on Jul 26, 2022 18:03 IST

Can you Study Abroad for Free?

Getting a quality education does not come cheap! The cost of a college education has gone up dramatically over the years, making it increasingly difficult for people to afford. The number of people who are pursuing higher education is also increasing, which means that the demand for quality education has increased as well. Especially when you think of countries which have an excellent education system, there without having a budget of five-figures it looks impossible. While university fees and other living expenses are continuously rising across the countries, students are looking for options to pursue a recognized degree that too without feeling too much burden on their pockets. This brings us back to our question, can students study abroad for free?

You will be relaxed to hear, theoretically…yes! Now comes the next step, how is it possible? It is possible to study abroad for free but there are a lot of elements to it. The below-mentioned aspects can help students in covering their tuition fee partially or fully.  We will also inform them that how they can get a quality education at minimal cost.

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There are many scholarships available for students who want to study abroad for free. You just need to know where you want to go and what you need the scholarship for. Scholarship that too fully funded scholarship is one of the ways of pursuing higher education without feeling too much pinch on your pocket. However, getting a fully funded scholarship is extremely difficult, because the number of applicants is huge whereas the number of scholarships awarded is limited in numbers. Some scholarships will only accept students from certain countries, so make sure that you research the requirements before applying. Some of these scholarships will have a specific time frame in which they're open for applications, so it's important that you find out when the scholarship is open before applying.There are different types of scholarships like general scholarships and some are specialized funding schemes. Also, scholarships are offered by individual universities, government agencies, charitable institutions, and some private enterprises.

Two types of expenses covered under scholarships:

  • Tuition fee
  • Living expenses

Also, there are some scholarship schemes are which are given to some specific groups like ‘Central Sector Scheme of National Overseas Scholarship for SC etc. candidates’. This fellowship is awarded by the government of India to SC students whose annual family income does not exceed INR 6 lakh.

Scholarship granted by Individual Universities

Some universities automatically consider those students for scholarship whose profile is above 50% of the class medium. It means some universities automatically consider students for a scholarship if their profile is above 50% of the criteria set by the university. Also, some universities also consider students for need-based scholarships, so, they can pursue higher studies without worrying about tuition fee.

Know all about reducing your cost of studying abroad in the video below:

Education Exchange Programs (EEPs)

The Indian government has signed MOUs or Education Exchange Programs (EEPs) or Joint Declaration of Intent (JDIs) with 54 countries globally in the field of education. The aim of such agreements is to promote an exchange of students. India has signed MOUs to enhance the quality of education in India. This is a significant move by the Indian government as they want to make sure that their students have access to world-class education. With the signing of MOUs and EEPs, India is looking to expand its educational opportunities by increasing the number of students studying abroad. List of countries and their agreements can be accessed at the official website of the Ministry of Human Resource and Development (MHRD).

Apart from this, eight countries namely South Korea, China, Mexico, Commonwealth Scholarship (UK), Commonwealth Scholarship (New Zealand), Israel, Hungary, and Italy offer a scholarship to Indian students to pursue higher education in their respective countries. Interested students can apply online for getting these scholarships, MHRD facilitates the nomination process for these scholarships. 

German Public Universities

German public universities are not just about the number of students they have but also about their quality. They have a long history of teaching excellence, scientific research, and international recognition. The German government is trying to make sure that these universities remain competitive in the global market by providing them with funds for research, scholarships, and grants.

Public universities in 15 out of 16 German states charge no tuition fee from students irrespective of their nationality. Only universities in the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg (South-west Germany) charges EU €1,500 per semester from students. Generally, students need to pay nominal administrative or registration charges which range from €50 to €250. This fee also includes a regional transport pass, which is beneficial for students only and also includes student union membership. Germany’s strong economy, excellent education system, and low education costs make it a favorite among students and parents globally. Also, more than 40 German universities appeared in the QS World University Rankings which is a testimony of its prominence in the education arena.

People have a perception that they can study for free in German universities, however, getting admit in a German university is challenging as the profile of the candidate should be outstanding, also, various universities asked for the knowledge of German language as well. Also, because of no tuition fees, the number of candidates applying to German universities is always high, which raises the level of competition. Even if you are successful in getting admission to a German university, you still need to bear the living cost. A candidate needs to show around €8,700 (US$10,400) per year for getting a German student visa. Apart from this, one needs approximately €9,600 (US$11,500) to live a comfortable life in Germany. So, all those who think of pursuing higher studies in Germany at free now should be clear in their mind that they have to bear at least the living cost themselves.

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Study in Nordic countries for free

Studying in Nordic countries can be expensive. But there are some countries that offer free education. Northern European nations Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, and Finland are known for their quality higher education at affordable prices. Like, in Norway, higher education is free for all irrespective of their nationality or study level. Here also one needs to pay only a semester fee of around NOK (300-600). In Norway, students can study master's or PhD level courses in English. Also, international students need to demonstrate their English language proficiency.

International students from outside the EU/EEA region can study in Finland for free if they study in Finnish or Swedish. The Finnish government has a policy called the "Finlandization" which means that students are not required to pay for their tuition and living expenses. In addition, students from all over the world can apply for a scholarship to study in Finland. Also, PhD programs in Sweden, Denmark, and Finland are fully funded. Students can also earn while pursuing their PhD courses. 


In addition to this, MS (Graduate) and Ph.D. scholars are also awarded financial support in the form of assistantships. There are different types of assistantships for both Ph.D. and MS scholars are:

  • Graduate Assistant
  • Graduate Research Assistant (GRA)
  • Teaching Assistant
  • Research Assistant

These scholars or graduates are responsible for supporting (assistantship) the university or teachers/professors while working on their research or pursuing their graduation. Attending graduate schools or doing research can be a costly affair for some. Assistantship hours can vary between 15 to 20 hours a week depending on the college, department, discipline or the work they are assigned. These Assistants are remunerated in the form of a stipend and it depends from college to college. This stipend helps the students in focusing on their studies/work instead of working full-time.

Those who are planning a career in academics may gain invaluable experience from the teaching assistantship. Moreover, this also helps them in understanding the subject better and can also help them by developing a relationship with the professors. This networking opportunity can work wonders for them in future in case they need letters of recommendation.

Know all about Studying Abroad on a Budget across affordable countries in the world:


Bursaries are government-funded financial assistance for students. Bursaries can be used for tuition fees, living costs, and books. They are often awarded to students with financial need, but they can also be given out on a first come first serve basis. They vary in amount and duration depending on the organization that is offering them. They are different from scholarships. Generally, scholarships are merit-based and are awarded for excellence in academics. Whereas, Bursaries are financial-need based awards that do not have to be repaid. Various colleges and universities offer financial grants to students in the form of Bursary, so, students can pursue higher education without worrying about the fees and other expenses. The terms and conditions for getting it varies from university to university. Most of the institutions offering bursaries require students to donate or contribute after completing their studies, so, that others can also benefit through this. Also, in many institutions, students need to give their services in lieu of the bursary.   

Paid Internships

An internship is gaining formal work experience offered by the employer to potential employees for a specified period of time. This work is related to the student’s field, which ultimately helps them in enhancing their profile and also helps them to learn about their field. Also, the work gives them an edge over other job seekers in the market. Apart from giving them some extra money, the internship gives students industry experience which can prove to be handy at the work and so they can manage more responsibilities while receiving less on-the-job training. Most important, interns get a chance to network with other professionals from their field which can benefit them in the future as well. Paid internships are a great way to get your foot in the door and learn how to be a professional. 

Part-time Work

Part-time jobs are a great way for people to earn some extra money and build up their career simultaneously. Various countries allow foreign students to do paid work for 20 hours a week. Like students with Canada students visa or New Zealand student visa can take a paid job/work for 20 hours a week. Most of the popular study destinations across the globe allow students to work for up to 20 hours a week while completing their studies. Generally, these are the maximum number of hours the students can work along with their studies, they are allowed to work for lesser than this. In part-time work, students are paid on hourly basis. Usually, the rate of pay varies from $10 to $12 per hour. The working hours are restricted because authorities don’t want that the part-time work will affect students’ lose their focus from studies in any way.

So, after looking at all the aspects, we come back to our question we asked that can students study abroad for free, practically…No! Students need to bear other costs themselves, but the cost of pursuing higher education abroad can come at par with the Indian Education System.

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About the Author
Rahul Singha
Study Abroad Expert

With over 8 years of experience in overseas education, Rahul Singha has been previously associated with prominent education houses. He is also responsible for keeping a sharp eye on education policies of major study... Read Full Bio



Varshini saragadam

8 months ago

Sir., I get graduated with 75 percent and looking for studying master's with full scholarship can I get this

Reply to Varshini saragadam


Rahul SinghaStudy Abroad Expert

a month ago

Hello Varshini. For assistance with university admissions, would request that you get in touch with our Shiksha Study Abroad counsellors here:


Karan Singh

8 months ago

HEY PIYUSH I A'M Karan i have completed graduation 2013 than 2013 to till now job in delhi i planning in MBA IN Arboroad pl advise

Reply to Karan Singh


Rahul SinghaStudy Abroad Expert

a month ago

Hello Karan. For assistance with university admissions, would request that you get in touch with our Shiksha Study Abroad counsellors here:



9 months ago

Hey sir I'm graduated from du my total 46% can i still receive free studying scholarship?

Reply to Manisha


Piyush Kohli

9 months ago

Hi Manisha, there are different criteria for getting a scholarship, so, you need to check whether you are meeting the requirements or not and move ahead accordingly.



11 months ago

Hii sir, This is dhanushiya from chennai i had completed my b. Com so am planning for pg in abroad... Can you please guide me in this

Reply to Dhanushiya


Aprant Agarwal

11 months ago

Hi Dhanushiya. You need to decide the country, course, university, and your intended career path. Please elaborate where you want to study and what course you wish to pursue.


Rekha T N

a year ago

hello sir, am completed my Master's degree in Pharmacy, now am looking for PhD in germany. can you please suggest a university related to the Dept. pharmaceutical Analysis in abroad

Reply to Rekha T N


Aprant Agarwal

a year ago

Hello Rekha. For application and university shortlisting you can contact our experts here:

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