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Places in Europe where you can get inexpensive higher education

Aleksandra Baranova

3 July 2023

#EDUCATION

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"I would like to study in Europe but cannot afford it" is a common belief among the applicants. Thinking of expensive education may stop you from submitting an application in a university of your dream and does not help your career development. Despite a common belief, higher education in Europe can be relatively budget-friendly and affordable.

Alexandra Baranova, the author of the GoStudy blog, lists several options of getting budget-friendly education in Europe.

Germany

TU Munich is the most prestigious technical university in Germany. It was founded in 1868 and now offers 178 programs in a wide variety of applied subjects: aeronautics and geodesy, architecture, chemistry, informatics, mathematics, and etc. An average tuition fee per academic year is quite budget-friendly and equals only to 352 euros.

Prior to the submission of the documents for admission to a Bachelor's program, it is necessary to ensure that the High school diploma complies with the level required for the study at a German university. This can be done in both English and German websites. If the certificate (diploma) does not comply with the requirements, you will have to study in Training College before the admission. The Bachelor's degree is a must-have if you are going to apply for a Master's program. However, each program has its own specific requirements.

Poland

University of Warsaw is one of the largest and respected universities in Poland, and still is considered to be one of the most inexpensive universities in Europe. The University graduates won six Nobel Prize Awards, including Joseph Rotblat, a physicist, and Menachem Begin, the prime minister of Israel.

There are all sorts of programs to choose from: European Politics and Economics, Archaeology, Finance, International Investment and Accounting, International Relations, Psychology, Political Science, Cultural Studies, History, Philosophy, etc. Average tuition fee for programs taught in English is 3000 euros per academic year, that is extremely inexpensive for a university in Europe. Applicants are required to provide a certificate confirming the command of English at the B2 level in addition to a nostrified degree or high school diploma in order to be admitted to a program taught in English. Students who are planning to choose a study conducted in Polish are also required to confirm their level of language.

France

Université Paris Cité is the largest university in Paris that is in the top of the 50 best universities of France. It was founded in 1306. Average tuition fee per academic year for a Bachelor's program is approximately 270 euros, for a Master's program is approximately 350 euros. Thus, it is one of the most inexpensive universities in Europe despite of its high status.

Students that have already started working by the admission time, in addition to the standard documents will have to provide their work contract and a copy of the document confirming salary payment dated less than three months. If a student is going to study in two universities simultaneously, they will have to provide an admission confirmation certificate from the second university. See the full list of the documents on the official website of the university.

The École normale supérieure de Lyon (also known as the ENS de Lyon), despite its "out-of-the-capital" location is known as one of the most prestigious universities in France. It is the place where future professionals of public service used to study before the change of the education system and simultaneous increase of the number of foreign students. The École normale supérieure de Lyon is also famous for its research activities.

An applicant from the countries outside the EU or European Economic Area can receive Master's degree in Computer Science, study Physics, Chemistry, and other Natural Sciences.

Future students are selected on the basis of the package of documents that includes the following:

  • a copy of the passport;

  • a motivation letter;

  • CV;

  • previous high school diplomas or university degrees;

  • credits received during studying (for the applicants studying during the submission of the application);

  • certificates confirming the level of English and French languages (minimal acceptable level is B2-C1).

The amount of credits required at the moment of admission to a particular year of a Master's program depends on the chosen study program. 180 credits ECTS would be enough for the applicants applying for the first year of Master's program, while that for the second one would be 240.

Tuition fee for a Bachelor's program is 184 euros per year at the time of writing, while that for a Master's program is 243 euros per year. Such prices are considered to be inexpensive for European education.

The Czech Republic

Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague (Czech Česká zemědělská univerzita v Praze) was founded in the middle of the XX century and is a part of 5% of the most prestigious universities in the world. Gardening, landscape architecture, environmental engineering, cynology, applied ecology, water handling services and forestry, informatics, farming and many other aspects of local interrelation with the environment are available for studying within Bachelor's and Master's programs.

There is no tuition fee for programs taught in Czech. Tuition fee for programs taught in English may vary from year to year.

Metropolitan University is relatively young in comparison with other Czech universities: it was founded in 2001. Nowadays it is one of a few private universities that offers study programs in both Czech and English and has the status of a university. Financial Management, Tourism, International Relations, International Business are just a few Bachelor's programs. In addition, students have a chance to spend a year in a partner university in Slovakia, Germany, Italy, France or India, and receive a double diploma of both universities in the end.

Tuition fee

Tuition fee for full-time studies is 2262 euros per academic year.

Prague School of Creative Communication is a perfect choice for those applicants who see themselves working in the field of marketing and PR, are interested in social networks, SMM, online and offline advertising. The University offers the following variety of the Bachelor's programs:

  • Digital Marketing and Communication

  • Creative Marketing

  • Creative Management

  • Graphic and Media Design

  • Animation and Visual Effects

  • Copywriting for Mass Media

  • Photography and Audiovisual Arts

  • Creative Writing"

The first three programs can be taught in English. Students may choose to continue studying in Master's programs that are taught only in Czech.

It is required to fulfill the following steps in order to be admitted to Prague School of Creative Communication:

Fill and pay for the online application (transfer 500 CZK to the specified account).

Prepare a translated to Czech and notarized copy of the high school diploma or university degree. Foreign students must provide nostrificated documents.

Have a certificate confirming command of Czech or English language, depending on the chosen program of study. Important: an excellent knowledge of the language is a key aspect for the admission to liberal fields of study that assume oral presentations and text writing. Applicants are expected to know Czech at least at C1 level, a TOEFL certificate would be a plus to confirm the level of English.

Passing the entrance exam means to pass an interview. It consists of two parts. At the first stage you will be asked to provide your portfolio: an essay, photo and video recordings, articles, publications, and etc. At the second stage an applicant shall talk about their favourite books, films, exhibitions - about everything that can inspire and give evidence on their horizons. Foreign students will also be assessed for their knowledge of Czech (English) language.

Tuition fee at the School is affordable in comparison to other European universities and depends on the chosen rate; tuition fee for a Bachelor's program varies from 1400 to 2800 euros per year, while that for a Master's program varies from 1600 to 3100 euros per year.

Italy

The University of Florence can also be included in the list of the most inexpensive universities in Europe. The total amount of tuition fee for 2021/2022 academic year at the University varies from 156 to 2650 euros, provided that 156 euros is a fixed payment for any student just for studying at the University.

The University of Florence is also one of the oldest universities in Italy: it was founded in 1321. Giovanni Boccaccio, a poet and a writer, lectured here on The Divine Comedy by Dante. Nowadays applicants may choose from a wide range of liberal, technical and natural science fields of study: architecture, economics and management, psychology, political science, engineering and technologies, life science and medicine, law, mathematics and physics, and etc. The University offers not only basic Bachelor's programs, but those of different levels up to the PhD degree.

Passing an Italian Knowledge Test at the B2 level and a nostrificated document confirming previous education (high school diploma, Bachelor's degree, and etc.) is an obligatory condition for successful admission to the University. Only after sign-up and submission of the online application students will see annual tuition fee (see the details in the Official Manifesto of the University). It also worth mentioning that there is a limited number of students for admission to some programs.

Spain

Fans of Spanish culture and warm climate should consider one of the ten best universities in Spain, the University of Granada. The first lectures in the University were held in the first half of the XVI century. The University offers high-quality yet affordable education; average tuition fee per year is almost 760 euros, excluding an additional administrative fee at the beginning of the first year (around 60 euros).

The list of some programs that can be chosen within a Bachelor's program is given below (see the full list of programs here):

  • "Biochemistry

  • Archeology

  • Fine Arts

  • Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage

  • Dentistry

  • Criminology

  • Tourism

  • Sport and Exercise Sciences

  • Geology

  • Human Nutrition and Dietetics

  • Physiotherapy

  • Social Pedagogy"

Necessity to pass entrance exam during the admission to a Bachelor's program depends greatly on the applicant's legal nationality, so it is recommended to clarify the details in the Education center. A nostrificated document about the previous education is also a must-have.

Sign-up to a Master's program and submission of applications is done online. See the details here. The recommended command of Spanish is at least the B1 level.

Sign-up to a Master's program and submission of applications is done online. See the details here. The recommended command of Spanish is at least the B1 level.

"Why do I have to pay money for my studying if I can study for free?"

At the end of the article it is necessary to answer the question that can come to the both applicants and their relatives mind. Obviously, here we are not talking about administrative fees but about actual tuition fees.

The European universities offer a really high level of education. Fees that a student pays for their studying, first of all, will go to:

The most up-to-date equipment in the classes that makes lectures, seminars and presentations easier.

Access to international databases and libraries. Opportunity to find all or almost all necessary information online helps greatly during working on term or graduation papers and is invaluable to students during the exam preparation.

Involvement of industry experts and professors, overwhelming majority of whom are "practicians" rather than "theorists". Graduates may immediately apply knowledge gained during their studying in real life.

Moreover, tuition fee assumes that the admission process will be simplified and students will get individual approach during studying. Groups of students in commercial programs or in private universities may be smaller. Thus, professors will have enough time for not only giving new material but answering questions arising during the discussion, too.

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