While you can study a free or very affordable degree at all levels — Bachelor’s, Master’s, PhD — you should keep in mind that these countries also come with higher living costs, especially Finland and Norway.
Before offering more details about living expenses, let’s first look at what tuition fees you can expect to pay depending on your nationality:
- In Germany: public universities are free for all international students. The only exception is the Federal State of Baden-Württemberg, which introduced tuition fees for non-EU/EEA students in 2017.
- In Norway: public universities are free for all international students.
- In Finland: public universities are free for EU/EEA students. Non-EU/EEA citizens pay tuition fees that range from 4,000 to 18,000 EUR per academic year. However, PhD programmes are free for all international students.
Here are a few universities we recommend in Finland, Norway and Germany:
- Aalto University, Finland
- LUT University, Finland
- BI Norwegian Business School, Norway
- Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Norway
- Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Germany
- IU International University of Applied Sciences, Germany
Costs of living for international students in Germany
When Germany abolished the tuition fees for higher education students, the news circled around the world. More specifically, public universities from 16 German states are open to students from any country, and the monthly living costs for students are between 900 and 1,400 EUR in Berlin, Hamburg, or München.
If you’ve chosen a university or a polytechnic in a small German student town, such as Wolfsburg, Duisburg or Siegen, then your living costs will start at 630 EUR/month.
Tuition may be free at German public universities, but international students still have to pay a fee of around 100–350 EUR per semester for administrative costs.
Read the stories of these students who studied a degree in Germany:
Other living expenses you’ll have to cover while in Germany:
- Public transport: 70 EUR/month
- Accommodation: 250–400 EUR/month
- Phone/internet/TV/postage: 27 EUR/month
- Health-related expenses (health insurance, medication): 50–70 EUR/month. Learn more about international student insurance for students studying in Germany.
- Course/learning additional materials: 30–50 EUR/month
Scholarships are also available. The most popular services for student aid are the DAAD and BAföG.
Costs of living for international students in Finland
The average living costs of a student in Finland are at least 700–1,100 EUR per month. The minimum sum that you must prove that you have at your disposal during your studies is 560 EUR per month. The amount depends on the city where you will live.
See what these students have to say about studying in Finland:
The most expensive cities are Helsinki and Espoo, while your cheapest options are Oulu, Kuopio, Lahti, Lappeenranta, and Pori. The student union fees also have charges, but these vary from one university to another.
More about student life in these Finnish cities:
Here are the most common living expenses as an international student in Finland:
- Public transport: 55 EUR/month
- Accommodation: 300–600 EUR/month
- Phone/internet/electricity/garbage: 130 EUR/month
- Health-related expenses (insurance, medication): 36 EUR/month. Learn more about international student insurance for students studying in Finland.
Financial aid for students mostly applies to PhD courses and research. So, you may need to look for scholarships from other organisations.
Costs of living for international students in Norway
The only mandatory tax in Norway is the student union fee of around 30–60 EUR per semester. However, the fee provides benefits such as discounts for transportation and cultural events.
Monthly living costs in Norway add up to around 1,000–1,700 EUR per month. The extremes are Oslo, Bergen, Tromso as the most expensive cities. Volda, Sogndal, Porsgrunn, and Narvik have quite low living costs. The regular living expenses in Norway are:
- Public transport: 70 EUR/month
- Accommodation: 400–600 EUR/month
- Phone/internet/electricity/garbage: 210 EUR/month
- Additional study materials: 140 EUR/month
By attending a degree in Norway, you can benefit from an international student financing programme or even a collaboration between universities and institutions from other countries. These collaborations target certain academic fields or students from specific states, but they are available and accessible to all international students.
You can also use the Numbeo website to check out other prices and costs in Finland, Norway, Germany, or any other country.