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Published: Sunday December 15, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Sunday December 15, 2013 MYT 10:38:09 AM

Higher education at lower costs

Be multilingual: Taking up a foreign language may come in handy if you decide to study abroad.

Be multilingual: Taking up a foreign language may come in handy if you decide to study abroad.

THEY say the best things in life are free but let’s face it, free things are hard to come by in this day and age.

Now, education may be listed as a basic human right but affordable access to it is another matter altogether.

The reality is that many graduates today receive degrees with a hefty bill on the side.

That’s why it may be hard to believe that there are countries and institutions that offer free tertiary education to international students.

Among these are the public universities in Argentina, Iceland, Luxembourg and Norway, which do not charge students any tuition fees, regardless of nationality.

In their pursuit of a degree, students only have to pay administrative fees. Have we got your attention yet? Read on.

Hola Argentina!

Argentina has over 100 tertiary institutions, with public universities charging no tuition fees for undergraduate studies.

The largest of these, and best ranked, is the University of Buenos Aires (UBA) located in the country’s capital.

Established in 1821, the university offers more than 100 undergraduate programmes under 13 faculties: Agronomy; Architecture, Design and Urbanism; Economic Sciences; Exact and Natural Sciences; Social Sciences; Veterinary Sciences; Law; Pharmacy and Biochemistry; Letters and Philosophy; Engineering; Medicine; Dentistry; and Psychology.

Degrees are completed in four to six years and all undergraduates at UBA spend the first year of their studies under the Basic Common Cycle, which provides them with basic, guided training on their chosen course of study as well as interdisciplinary training and exposure.

Prospective undergraduates apply with their high school certificate and may be required to take an entrance exam.

Upon acceptance, students must apply for entry clearance and a student visa. The medium of instruction is Spanish but there are intensive language programmes offered by the university.

Students can expect to spend USD$400 - USD$800 (about RM1,290 - RM2,570) a month on living expenses in Buenos Aires.

Visit http://estudiarenargentina.siu.edu.ar/ for more information.

Fire and ice

Iceland has seven universities, each with its own area of specialisation.

The University of Akureyri (UNAK) and the University of Iceland (UI) are both public institutions that charge no tuition fees.

There is however, an annual registration fee of ISK60,000 (about RM1,640) at both universities.

UNAK focuses on Business and Science, Humanities and Social Sciences, and Health Sciences, while UI is a comprehensive university with 25 faculties under five schools: Social Sciences, Health Sciences, Humanities, Education, and Engineering and Science.

All undergraduate degrees at both universities are taught in Icelandic but a number of courses are offered in English.

In addition, UI offers two undergraduate programmes in English: Icelandic Studies and International Studies in Education.

Learning Icelandic is possible through the Icelandic Online web course, offered by the UI Language Centre, or through Icelandic language courses offered by the universities or private education centres.

Prospective undergraduates may apply with their secondary matriculation certificate. Proof of English proficiency may be required and certain fields of study may also have entrance examinations.

A residence permit and student visa is required to study in Iceland.

The estimated cost of living in Iceland is about ISK140,600 (about RM3,950) per month for one student.

Visit http://www.studyiniceland.is/ for more information.

Where fairy tales rule

Luxembourg is a small country nestled between Belgium and Germany.

The country has one university, the University of Luxembourg (UL), while its people speak four languages: English, French, German and Lëtzebuergesch.

Established in 2003, the university offers programmes at undergraduate, masters and doctorate levels under three faculties: the Faculty of Science, Technology and Communication; the Faculty of Law, Economics and Finance; and the Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education.

The 19 undergraduate programmes offered include Biological Sciences, Engineering, Law and Economics, Psychology and European Studies.

Prospective undergraduates may apply online and must have their secondary school leaver’s diploma recognised by the Luxembourg Education Ministry (those without diplomas must take an entrance exam).

Once accepted, an application for a residence permit and a visa must be submitted.

There are no tuition fees; students pay only enrolment fees for each semester: 400‚ (about RM1,750) for the first two semesters and 200‚ (about RM875) for the remaining four.

Courses are taught in two languages (English and German, English and French or German and French) while some are taught in all three languages.

The cost of living in Luxembourg is high, with an estimated monthly budget of 1,000‚ (about RM4,375) for a single student.

All university students are allowed to work 10 hours a week during school time and 40 hours a week during school holidays.

Visit http://uni.lu/ for more information.

Land of the midnight sun

In Norway, students at state universities and university colleges do not pay tuition fees. Every semester, students pay a semester fee ranging between NOK300 and NOK600 (about RM160 - RM315), depending on the institution.

The University of Oslo is the country’s oldest and largest university with eight faculties: Humanities, Law, Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Medicine, Dentistry, Social Sciences, Theology and Educational Sciences.

International students may apply for all undergraduate programmes except medicine and dentistry.

Undergraduate programmes are taught in Norwegian and international students must complete the mandatory one year Norwegian language course before they begin the three-year undergraduate degree. Some courses are also offered in English.

To apply, prospective undergraduates may submit their secondary school leaving certificate, proof of English proficiency and other relevant documentation online.

Upon acceptance, a student residence permit is required.

Living expenses in Norway are considered to be higher than in many other countries and you should expect to have a monthly subsistence of roughly NOK8,900 (about RM4,670).

Students are allowed to work up to 20 hours a week once they have applied for a work permit.

Visit http://studyinnorway.no/ for more information.

  • StarEducate has made every effort to provide up-to-date and accurate information where possible. Note that information provided here pertains to undergraduate studies only and may differ for postgraduate studies. As this is not meant to be a definitive guide but rather an introductory overview to studying in Argentina, Iceland, Luxembourg and Norway, interested students are encouraged to pursue further independent research before reaching any decision.

Tags / Keywords: Education, countries with free higher education


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