Scholarships in Europe: studies free of charge – a viable possibility even for international non-EU / EEA students
Due to increasing tuition fees, study abroad make many talented people anxious. But please don’t think that your talents will go unnoticed, underestimated, or with no financial support. And, of course, don’t think that to obtain fee exemption or accommodation support, you need to be a genius and finish school with the highest grades. Every year, Europe develops and strengthens its cooperation not only in Europe, but globally, too, to cover countries all around the world. So, the ideal scenario of your graduation without paying a penny exists, too.
An extensive publication of a list of scholarships can be misleading
When thinking about study abroad, we, naturally, start looking for a university and study programme that meets our expectations. We thoroughly examine tuition fees, browse for accommodation opportunities and costs, briefly speaking, elaborate a financial plan. And when it comes to finance, we, certainly, study up various funding opportunities or scholarship programmes. So, this step may completely confuse us. Why? Because we will see the promised “jackpots” and abundant various financing offers. This may give the impression that funding is available to everyone in Europe, and the choices are endless. However, the deeper we dive, the faster we filter out which scholarships are offered for Master’s degree programmes, which ones – for doctoral studies, so, the number of scholarships for Bachelor’s degree programmes will shrink several dozen times. And if we further filter out scholarships for EU / EEA students only, the number will drop to a a tiny bit. In any case, that “tiny bit” still has its value and benefit for every international student. So let’s take a look at European scholarship programmes and funding opportunities for international non-EU / EEA students in detail.
International students who choose to study in Austria have the opportunity to apply for a scholarship. Scholarship providers in Austria:
- Austrian Government Scholarships – Monthly scholarships of €1,050 available for up to four months for international students of all study levels.
- Grants.at – A searchable database of scholarships to study abroad in Austria.
- (IDM) Danubius Young Scientist Award in Austria – The Institute for the Danube Region and Central Europe (IDM) offers a €1,200 ($1,350) scholarship to exceptional young scientist.
- OeAD (Austria’s Agency for Education and Internationalisation). Most OeAD scholarships include a monthly scholarship (depending on a target group). If necessary and where possible, health insurance will be taken out. OeAD also tries to provide accommodation (student space of residence or flat) for recipients of grants who wish to have accommodation arranged by the OeAD. Monthly costs: 220 to 550 EUR (depending on how much comfort the recipients of grants want). An administration fee of 18 EUR per month is payable to the OeAD for arranging accommodation.
- Some Austrian universities may provide other grants or scholarships. Ask about this option when applying or see if they have information about financial support programmes on their website.
Various scholarships in Belgium are available to international students who want to pursue studies in Belgium. However, for those seeking a Bachelor’s degree, scholarship options appear to be rather limited, and when applying to a university, final tuition fees and funding options depend of the region you choose to study, a study programme, and,in some cases, your country of origin. Many scholarship options are also offered to students with excellent academic achievements.
The Danish Government Scholarship consists of two parts and can be given as full or partial tuition fee waivers and/or grants towards covering your living costs. Scholarships are administered by the higher education institutions themselves, therefore, to be eligible for the scholarship, it is important to be in a full-time higher education programme student and to have a residence permit in Denmark.
The government scholarship can reach about € 1,050 per month and is supposed to cover the cost of living in Denmark.
You can also apply for Danish Government Scholarships at University College of Denmark. This scholarship cover 30-50% of the cost of tuition fees.
In Finland, scholarships are often awarded on the basis of students’ academic achievements and offered with full or partial tuition fee exemptions. Some scholarship options may include living allowance.
For example, Aalto University offers a scholarship of € 1,500, Stakunta University – only € 200-500, while the University of Helsinki or University of Jyväskylä, as well as many other Finnish universities focus rather on Master’s degree programmes.
The Émile Boutmy International Undergraduate Student Support Programme is the pride of French higher education. It can take many forms:
- A tuition grant of € 13,000 per year for the three years of the undergraduate programme.
- A tuition grant of € 8,800 per year for the three years of the undergraduate programme.
- A tuition grant of € 6,000 per year for the three years of the undergraduate programme.
- A tuition grant of € 3,600 per year for the three years of the undergraduate programme.
Again, talking about Master’s degree programmes, there are much more scholarship offers.
Study opportunities for international students in Germany are very favourable. It has not only a flexible tuition fee programme, but also a variety of foundations supporting both local and international students.
One of them is Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Scholarships. Scholars receive up to €744 per month. Depending on the applicant’s situation, scholars may also receive a contribution to health insurance of up to €71 and long-term care insurance of up to €15 per month. Scholars with children can receive a family allowance of €155 per month. The scholarship does not have to be repaid. The Foundation supports stays abroad during the funding period – through subsidies for travel expenses, tuition fees and international health insurance, especially for study or research stays, language courses and internships of up to 12 months.
The Deutschlandstipendium at German Universities – Funding is normally granted for at least 2 semesters but may be provided for a maximum time which covers the standard period of study. At intervals of 2 semesters the university reviews whether the scholarship holder still meets the award criteria and whether private funding will continue to be available. A scholar receives €300 per month (€150 are supplied by private sponsors and €150 by the Federal Government). The Deutschlandstipendium is awarded irrespective of personal or parent income.
Again, in the case of Greece, the state focuses the support on students of master’s or doctoral programmes. Undergraduate students may only expect scholarships if they choose certain universities and certain programmes, such as Undergraduate Merit scholarship – this is a one-time scholarship of up to EUR 10,000 for students taking ancient Greek archaeology, history or literature programmes. This is a partial scholarship available only for two applicants holding a non-Greek passport.
Italy distinguishes from other European countries for its specific tuition fee system, which strongly facilitates study for local students, however, the conditions may seem difficult to understand and fulfil for international students. Many scholarship programmes in Italy alleviate the situation for international students, and the complicated admission documentation process will really pay off. Here are some examples of Italic scholarship programmes:
University of Bologna Study Grants for International Students. For First Cycle and Single Cycle degree programmes: 3 study grants worth € 11,059 each and full tuition fee waivers for a total amount of €20,000. Each full tuition waivers are awarded for one academic year only. Students who are awarded the waivers must pay €157.64 in regional taxes, the duty stamp and insurance premium (amount subject to change).
Bocconi Merit and International Awards. This award of merit includes a full tuition waiver worth up to € 12,000 per year. The Bocconi International Award consists of a 50% tuition reduction for both Undergraduate and Graduate level.
Padua International Excellence Scholarship Programme. The scholarship includes a subsistence allowance of €8,000 and a tuition fee waiver. The only amount to be paid by beneficiary students for each year consists of an admission fee, corresponding to the regional tax . The scholarship has a maximum duration of 2 continuous years for Master’s degree candidates or 3 continuous years for Bachelor’s and Single Cycle degree candidates.
In Lithuania, scholarships are mostly awarded to those foreign citizens who study under certain student exchange programmes based on cooperation between universities around the world. Talking about Master’s degree programmes, funding is higher for them, besides, various discounts on tuition fees are offered. Meanwhile, scholarship for the programme offered by the Baltic Institute of Technology for international students is 100% free education and no requirements for nationality, financial status or academic achievement; the only requirement is to pass an admission test.
Although the cost of studies does not seem attractive to international students in part of universities in the country, there are always opportunities to reduce higher tuition fees by broad funding options and international scholarships. Here are some of them:
Orange Knowledge Programme. The scholarship is a contribution towards your costs of living and costs such as tuition fees, visa, travel, insurance etc. Awarded individually according to a candidate’s eligibility criteria.
Utrecht University Excellence Scholarships. The Utrecht Excellence scholarship can be awarded as tuition fees OR tuition fees plus €11,000 living expenses.
The Hague World Citizen Talent Scholarship. Each € 5,000 scholarship covers almost two-thirds of the total first-year university tuition fee and is awarded only once.
In terms of graduate degree programmes, of course, scholarship offers will be significantly higher than for undergraduate students.
Spain, when awarding support to international undergraduate students, focuses mostly on international needs and financial situation, as well as on the merits in studies and fostering the Spanish language.
Spanish Studies Abroad Financial Aid. Preference is given to those who prove their commitment to learning Spanish both in and out of the classroom. Scholarship amount: € 425-1,275 ($ 500-1,500)
CIEE Scholarships and Grants. Where needed, CIEE Scholarships and Grants provide support to students who face financial obstacles when studying abroad. CIEE can offer to students € 640 to € 1706 ($ 750 to $ 2,000) for airline tickets, plus € 2,133 ($ 2,500) for semester programme costs or € 853 ($ 1,000) for summer programme costs
Among the enormous scholarship and support programmes for graduate students or students from EU and EEA countries, we found several programmes with quite good offers and for international bachelors from non-EU /EEA countries, where the scholarship is usually intended for tuition fee reduction.
Sweden scholarships for international students. This scholarship programme offers scholarships that partially cover tuition fees. Tuition fee is usually reduced by 50% and scholarships are awarded on the basis of academic excellence.
Jönköping University scholarship. The Jönköping University Scholarship is awarded annually on behalf of the Swedish government. Scholarships for students paying for tuition will cover 30% of the fee for undergraduate and graduate programmes.
Switzerland might be called the scholarship capital. There are indeed endless offers for support, based on collaboration between universities around the world, awarded for students’ merits, academic interest, or financial difficulties. We have selected some of the most realistic and advisable offers for international students from around the world:
University of St.Gallen Excellence Scholarships. Awarded to international students enrolled in undergraduate studies on merit. Scholarship value: covers the current tuition fees at the Bachelors Level. As the scholarship runs for six semesters, a grantee receives an annual sum of EUR 5,840 (CHF 6,252) bringing the total award for 3 years to EUR 17,520 (CHF 18,756).
University of Basel. The University of Basel has its own fund to aid students with very limited resources and from low-income families. The funds are awarded primarily in the form of partial scholarships during the final degree phase (BA/MA). Scholarship value: ranges from EUR 187 to EUR 560 (CHF 200 to CHF 600) per person per month.
Aristotle College. The Reginaldus Foundation awards several scholarships to deserving and needy students of the university campus of Lugano. These grants are aimed at students who intend to live in Aristotle College, which offers board and lodging and some academic activities. Scholarship value: The scholarships cover the college fees, totally or partially, depending on applicants’ merit and financial situation.
It is realistic indeed to obtain a scholarship for study in the UK, as the choice is quite wide. Scholarships here are offered not only by the Government but also by many non-governmental organisations. There is also individual support grants available for students depending on what country they are from. For you to understand the sizes and possibilities of scholarships, we hereby provide both an example of state support and support offered by a non-governmental organisation:
British Chevening Scholarships. UK government’s global scholarship programme, funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and partner organisations. Scholarships cover, fully or in part, any full-time graduate programmes.
CastleSmart Scholarship. Every year, CastleSmart, a real estate agent, offers € 7,040 (£ 6,000) to a UK undergraduate student (open to all nationalities). Applicants must create an interesting YouTube video describing their study and career plans.
Anywhere in Europe
Students in Europe can also use the general European scholarship funds, apply and expect a positive response.
Surfshark Privacy and Security Scholarship – The grant of EUR 1,707 (USD 2,000) is awarded to a current student of a secondary school or university (undergraduate or postgraduate) in the United Kingdom or in any European Union (EU) country. To apply, you will need to submit an essay. The scholarship is open to all nationalities.
The Eastern European Study Abroad Scholarship. These are several scholarship programmes intended for several international students. The scheme is designed so that no student of merit is left aside. Funding covers all or part of the cost of studies, or grants for research projects, or cash to cover students’ academic expenses. Monetary value in excess of EUR 2,133 (USD 2,500 ) is offered to students having academic excellence or students who are financially incapable of completing their studies but have high grades.
Undergraduate Students Global Contest Scholarship. The KaS Undergraduate Students Global Contest Scholarship is awarded annually to students who demonstrate excellent academic performance. Scholarship value: up to EUR 1,280 (USD 1,500) towards tuition fees.
Global Student Contest Scholarships. Global Student Contest Scholarships are awarded annually to students who demonstrate excellent academic performance and academic merit. Scholarship value: up to EUR 1,280 (USD 1,500) towards tuition fees.
To receive funding for studies abroad, you normally need to take the first two steps at the same time: to fill in the application for studies and submit the application with all necessary documents for scholarship. When choosing a source of funding and scholarship foundations, please keep in mind that majority of scholarships are awarded based on your academic achievements and merits after the first semester of study.
If you are a non-EU / EEA student, you will probably still need to pay a full tuition fee at most European universities and you may only expect more reductions or financial support after the first semester.