This list is just a quick peek into the world of practically free higher education – this list focuses on undergraduate options more than anything else but some of the information does apply to advanced degrees. Don’t forget that there is a cost to be considered here – living expenses! In any case, these options are much more fiscally responsible than most American universities… plus you get to swan around the world and possibly learn another language while studying!
Germany is the best possible option for getting a cheap education – there are over 900 programs that are run exclusively in English, the student fees are limited to a couple hundred euros per year (but only in certain areas – otherwise it is free) and they have Oktoberfest, castles and more beer than you will ever find at any frat party in America.
Norway is one of the only Nordic countries that provide free university to all students – EU/EEA, resident and international. Previously, Finland was on the list but that is scheduled to change as of this year, so you’re a little late on that front. Be warned – living expenses in the Nordic countries tend to be much higher than anywhere else.
If you are an EU national (not from the UK), you can study for free in Scotland. Think of the kilts!
The tuition fees for EU/EEA students is zilch, but if you are an international student, it is about 700 euros per year. Practically free.
If you are looking to do a Ph.D. – Sweden is the place to be. Free for all students with a wide variety of programs in English.
Higher education in France is almost free – you pay annual tuition fees of a couple hundred euros… oh, and you have to put up with the French, but that is a different sort of cost. Most of the programs available are in French but there are some schools that offer courses/programs in English. Definitely a viable option, particularly if you love bread, cheese and wine… that is why I went to school in France.
Slovenia is practically free, even for international students AND they have over 150 programs available in English. Plus you are near Italy and Croatia so think of the time you can spend lounging on the coast with an Aperol Spritz. That’s it, I am going back to school.
Higher education in Argentina (at public universities) is free for all. There are some courses available in English, but it will limit the scope of your options.
If you feel like heading south, try Brazil. For international students, the cost of education in Brazil is next to nothing. There are programs and courses available in English but most school-related activities are conducted in Portuguese.