Students face many challenges these days, learning new complex subjects, balancing work and play and often being away from family and friends. However, for many, finance is one of the toughest subjects. Even with financial support, it can be challenging to balance funds across accommodation, study materials and food, while ensuring you have enough left over to actually enjoy the great social life that university promises. Before you decide where to study, it’s important to understand the financial requirements of your desired location, so you can make an informed choice and plan ahead. Here we look at the cost of studying in major European countries.
Is it expensive to study in Europe?
To give a blanket response to this question and consider Europe as a whole would be extremely difficult. Europe is a complex and interesting continent with 44 countries. Each country has it’s own culture and unique pros and cons and economic factors vary greatly between them.
In the main, most countries offer some really great benefits such as national healthcare. Some also offer subsidised or regulated tuition fees, which can have a great impact on the annual cost of living for many students. These benefits may also vary based on whether you are studying from inside or outside the EEA (European Economic Area) so this is a factor you will also need to research based on your own circumstances.
For the purposes of this list, we have assessed some of the most popular European countries for international students, which also rank highly based on our student reviews on EDUopinions, so you can be sure that you are reading about places which offer a great student experience, whilst assessing the affordability of each.
Top European Countries: The Cost Of Studying
Many students choose Germany as it offers education at a nominal fee. For all universities outside of Baden-Württemberg, undergraduate programmes are free, aside from nominal charges per semester for enrolment, confirmation and administration. Usually, this charge is around EUR 227/semester.
In terms of cost of living, depending on where you study, expenses are lower than the average for much of Europe. Expect to pay around EUR 800 per month including accommodation and all living expenses. Of course, you can reduce this cost by opting for budget-friendly student accommodation. In general, the cheaper places to live are in the east of the country. Also, you’ll find that the major cities are pricier than elsewhere in the country.
Italy is a country with rich cultural heritage and is considered to be a very accessible study destination for international students. Tuition fees in Italy are regulated and therefore can be significantly lower than other European countries. If you are studying at Bachelor level then expect to invest around EUR 850 – EUR 1,000 per academic year.
Living expenses in Italy can be anything between EUR 650 and EUR 950/month. Again, this really depends on where you choose to live. Cities in the North can be much more expensive than if you opt to live in the South. While eating out can be a little pricy for students (particularly if you have expensive tastes), groceries are very reasonable, so improving your culinary skills can also help you save money in this country.
For students who love the French culture, France is a great country to work and study in. It has numerous higher education institutions spread over more than forty cities, each with their own unique charm. If you are a student from within the EEA fees are subsidised and cost just EUR 170 per year for a Bachelor programme or around EUR 250 for a Masters. If you are an international student from outside of the EEA then fees range from around EUR 2,800 to 3,800 depending on the level of study.
As a student in France, you can live on a moderate budget. On average budget around EUR 700 – EUR 950 per month. If you choose to live in Paris then you will need to increase this amount. However, you can actually get by on less if you opt for university accommodation.
Portugal has 5 of its universities in the world top rankings which is a testament to the great quality of education on offer. The average tuition fees in Portugal are EUR 950 – EUR 1,250 per academic year. Fees vary as they are set individually by the universities.
In terms of cost of living, Portugal offers great value and is one of the most affordable places to live in Western Europe. around EUR 600 – EUR 700 per month is a good amount to budget if you are living in university accommodation, although if you choose to live in private accommodation then this may increase your living expenses by around EUR 200 per month.
Spain is the country of choice for over 60,000 international students. With over 70 different universities to choose from it also has a relatively low cost of living. Tuition fees in Spain are extremely variable – ranging from EUR 500 – EUR 20,000 for a Bachelors. The factors that affect this include whether the university is private or public and whether you are coming from inside or outside of the EU or EEA. We can help you understand the options for you based on your budget.
The cost of living in Spain is affordable compared to many other places in Western Europe. If you live in Madrid or Barcelona, which are the most expensive cities in Spain, then a budget of around EUR 900 – EUR 1200 should suffice. You can bring this down to EUR 700 – EUR 800 per month if you opt for a more affordable city.
If you are considering studying in one of the top countries in Europe then hopefully this has given you some valuable insight into what locations may work for you and your budget. If you are still unsure where to study, then you can also check out our list of 5 affordable countries to study business in Europe, or this list of the 10 best countries to study in Europe.