As much as we all aspire to do our Bachelor or masters degree in a university close to home, or send our kids to one of the top schools in the country, sometimes budget is an issue. Unless you go to countries with free university education.
A report in 2016 estimated that raising a child in Singapore would cost S$360,000 on average and up to S$1 milllion on the higher end of things.
To no surprise, a bulk of the amount is goes to paying for a child’s tertiary education tuition fees and expenses. In this generation, it is still considered a priority for kids to go to university, and for us adults to pursue further studies if we can afford to.
Personally, my dad sent me to a private university in Singapore which cost him over S$64,000 in just school fees alone. Coupled with giving me allowances and paying for my study materials, he spent about S$100,000 in just three years.
In Singapore, t’s HELLA expensive to pay for private university tuition fees. That is why many students are looking abroad to study.
Here are countries with free university education (or almost free):
If you’ve ever dreamed of living in a cold country (and we’re talking super cold!), then you will want to consider Norway. Tuition is free at public universities, giving students the opportunity to earn degrees at top-ranked institutions such as the University of Oslo, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, and the University of Bergen.
However, you must take note of the living costs there. Living expenses in Norway are considered to be higher than in many other countries. The average cost of living for a month in Norway is around S$1,600 including boarding, food and study materials.
Estimated total cost for 3 years: S$57,600
Finland used to have tuition-free, state-run universities. However, starting in 2017, it introduced a US$1,650 (S$2,250) fee (or more depending on the course) for international students who wish to obtain their degrees in English. When comparing this to a private university in Singapore which charges north of S$20,000 per year, it’s a huge difference.
But good news for doctoral students, as well as those pursuing their studies in Finnish or Swedish, still pay no tuition. The government also plans to offer scholarships and financial aid to international students with exceptional academic backgrounds.
The cost of living in Finland is also very high, with accommodation and food setting you back about S$2,300 per month.
Estimated total cost for 3 years: S$89,550
Only students pursuing research-based doctoral degrees get free tuition in Sweden with some programs of study offering stipends to international students. Nevertheless, students should be aware that Sweden’s high cost of living may put them over budget, even when they pay nothing to earn their degrees.
Accommodation alone will set you back around S$1,000 for a room, and S$400 on food and S$200 on transportation, making the average monthly cost of living in Sweden to be over S$1,600.
Estimated total cost for 3 years: S$57,600
All students enrolled in any of the country’s public universities can attend for free. German universities also offer a wide range of programs entirely in English at op-ranked institutions, such as the University of Munich and University of Bonn.
The cost of living in Germany is also substantially cheaper than in other parts of Europe. You could probably get away with a monthly cost of living of only S$1,300 if you live quite simply.
Estimated total cost for 3 years: S$46,800
As far as countries with free university education goes, Slovenia is lesser known. It is also a less popular option when it comes to studying abroad, but it should be on the top on your list. Slovenia is rich in cultural experiences, with close proximity to the beautiful Italy and Croatia, as well as free university tuition! Similarly to Germany, Slovenian universities offer numerous programs of study in English!
Cost of living in Slovenia is reasonable. You can rent a small studio apartment and have one meal out everyday in a month with just under S$1,200.
Estimated total cost for 3 years: S$43,200
In the past, students needed to speak French in order to attend university in France. Today, both public and private universities offer courses in English. Those attending public universities only pay a few hundred Euros per year, depending on the degree level and program of study.
France is also surprisingly affordable for students to live in. The average cost to rent a small room outside the city centre is only about S$850, while other living expenses will add your total cost of living up to about S$1,100 per month.
Estimated total cost for 3 years: S$39,600
Other countries such as Mexico and Brazil also have virtually free tuition – students need only pay registration fees, which amount to very little. Cost of living in both Mexico and Brazil are also fairly reasonable.
Universities in China are also affordable with school fees only amounting to about S$4,000 per year, which is still affordable and comparable to local university rates though it may not be as appealing as countries with free university education. However, it is a great way to brush up on your Mandarin!
Know of any other countries with free university education? Let us know in the comments.
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