Cost of Tuition in Europe
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How Much Does it Cost to Study Abroad in Europe?

If you’re considering an English-taught university degree in Europe, you’re not alone. There are over 1 million international students pursuing a full-degree education in the EU currently, and this number continues to rise each year. 

Many students flock to Europe, including from the US, because of the famously high quality, low cost degree options available across the continent, as well as the high quality of life and general mobility. But what does it actually cost to make this leap, to live and study abroad?

College in Europe: 9 Reasons to Study Abroad

No surprise, the cost of living in student cities across Europe varies considerably, depending on where you are. Scandinavia and Northern Europe, for instance, are known for higher living expenses while other regions, such as Southern and Central Europe, may offer more affordable options for students.

Beyond the expense of tuition, living costs cover housing, food, transportation, visa and residence permits, travel, and general personal expenses. Students should budget carefully and consider if their chosen city aligns with their financial means.

Let’s dig in!

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Housing Costs Abroad

One thing to know off the bat is that student life in Europe is a far cry from that in the states. As an international student you’ll operate more as a resident of the city you’re in, and much less as a student within a university system, relying on inclusions the school provides.

Campuses are more decentralized in Europe, and dorms and student housing are less common. Student cafeterias and meal plans aren’t the norm, and you’ll find yourself more often living in private rentals (sometimes with other students), and eating, shopping, and cooking independently, as a citizen of the city.

This may seem unfamiliar, but in the end, it allows for more student independence and self-reliance. And the cost of living in European countries often breaks down more simply, and more affordably when compared to student life in the US. 

Of course, the cost of accommodations will vary considerably depending on the location, lifestyle choices and preferences, but let’s take a look at the Netherlands first, since this country has the highest number of English-taught degrees on the continent. 

Rental prices vary greatly depending on the city and the type of accommodation, but on average, you can expect to pay between €300 to €800 per month for a room in a shared apartment or student residence. If you prefer to live alone, expect to pay more, possibly €500 to €1,200 or more per month for a studio or one-bedroom apartment. 

Compare this to the cost of accommodations in the Czech Republic, where it is more affordable at €200 to €600 per month for a room in a shared apartment or student dormitory. Rent for a studio or one-bedroom apartment can range from €300 to €800 per month.

In general, smaller cities and towns, particularly in Eastern and Central Europe, often offer more affordable living arrangements. Renting a room in a shared apartment, cooking meals at home, and utilizing public transportation can also help reduce expenses.

Pro Tip: It’s easy to find cost of living information by searching online, either by referring to sites like Expatistan or Numbeo, or simply searching for “student cost of living in (city/country of choice)”. To get a better idea of living costs, prospective students should really research housing options, transportation expenses, grocery prices, and other daily necessities in their intended destination.

Tuition Fees in Europe

Depending on the school and program, university tuition may be a student’s greatest expense. Of course, this isn’t always the case, as there are many deeply affordable programs in Europe, even some that charge $0 for tuition, even for international students. In some regions however, like Norway, tuition may be quite low or $0 for their university programs, but the cost of living is relatively high – this can be true for other areas of Europe as well.

Check out our Study Abroad Guide to College Tuition in Europe

Is studying in Europe really cheaper than in the USA?

Yes, by a large degree. The affordability factor is often one of the main draws for international students looking to attend university in Europe. The average tuition fee of all the 100% English-taught, accredited bachelor’s programs in Europe is just $7,390 per year for international students, and even lower for European students and EU dual-citizens.

According to the Education Data Initiative, the average cost of tuition fees for a student in 2022 living on campus at a public 4-year in-state institution is $25,707 per year or $102,828 over 4 years. Out-of-state students pay $43,421 per year or $173,684 in tuition fees over 4 years. Private, nonprofit university students pay $54,501 per year or $218,004 over 4 years. But these amounts don’t take into account transportation costs, daily living expenses, or student loan interest.

Further, the duration of many bachelor’s programs in Europe is often 3 years vs 4 years, as we’re accustomed to in the states, making the entire degree even that more comparatively affordable.

The cost savings extend to master’s degrees as well, as the average tuition fee of a master’s degree in Europe is just $9,050 per year. The typical duration for grad school is only 1.76 years in Europe, and so the average overall cost of getting a master’s is just $15,928 for American students. With average annual grad school tuition fees at over $30,000 in the US, a student getting a master’s in Europe will spend less than half on tuition fees vs getting a master’s from public universities in the US.

Check out our podcast episode Is Tuition Cheap in Europe?

Visa and Residence Permits:

International students planning to study in Europe typically need to obtain a student visa or residence permit, depending on the duration of their program and the country they choose to study in. Visa and permit application fees vary by country and can add to the overall cost of studying abroad. The typical cost range for student visas in Europe is €100-€500.

What is a Proof of Means?

In addition to the visa application fees, students usually need to provide proof of financial means to support themselves during their stay. Essentially, this is the minimum amount of income a student will need to live as a student.

This is an amount set by the individual country’s government as part of the immigration process. Students who aren’t EU citizens need to provide proof that they have the full amount for the year during the immigration process. This is an important aspect to consider when you’re exploring university programs abroad.

Health Insurance Costs:

Healthcare systems and insurance requirements differ across Europe, but many countries mandate that international students have their own health insurance coverage, and this often needs to be proved during the visa process. Some universities offer their health insurance plans for students, while others require students to purchase insurance independently.

The cost of health insurance can vary depending on the coverage provided and the country’s healthcare system. It’s essential for US students to research the health insurance requirements in their chosen destination and budget for this expense accordingly.

Travel Expenses & More:

Traveling as an international student in Europe is a given. In fact, this is one of the many draws and benefits of studying in this part of the world. And even though travel throughout this region is relatively accessible and affordable, it will need to be budgeted for and considered as an expense. Flights, train tickets, accommodations, and other travel costs should all be added to a student’s budget – and don’t forget your travel back-and-forth to home (keeping in mind holidays, or seasonal breaks), whether that’s in the US or elsewhere.

Important to consider as well are miscellaneous academic expenses such as books, course materials, but also visa renewal fees (if applicable), and cultural and leisure activities. These are usually minor costs, unlike the many hidden fees of university in the US. We wrote an entire blog post about these fees – check it out here. But regardless, these fees can add up and are important to factor into your budget. You can sometimes learn what these costs/fees are on a university’s website. 

Cost of Transportation –
Reduced Rates for Students Studying Abroad

Public transportation is famously excellent, and relied upon across European countries. Many European countries offer discounted rates for students through various youth or student cards. For example, the European Youth Card (EYCA) often provides discounts on transportation among other things. These cards may offer reduced fares on trains, buses, and other forms of public transportation.

Several European countries offer special rail passes for students, such as the Eurail Youth Pass or Interrail Youth Pass. And some universities or educational institutions may have partnerships with transportation companies to offer discounted passes for students. Students can often find discounted rates for train or bus passes through online deals, promotions, or booking websites. It’s worth checking the official websites of transportation companies for any ongoing offers.


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As well, the ISIC (International Student ID Card) is widely recognized and provides discounts on various services including transportation in many countries worldwide. Students should check to see if this card offers any transportation discounts in the countries you plan to visit.

Overall, it’s advisable for students to research the transportation options available in the specific countries they plan to visit and inquire about any available student discounts or passes. Prices and offerings can change, so it’s best to check with the transportation companies directly for the most up-to-date information. 

One more thing: don’t discount your feet, or two wheels, since these often become your primary means of getting across the city you’re living and studying in.

Financial Aid and Scholarships:

Even though tuition fees and living costs, in general, are significantly more affordable across Europe than they are in the US, attending school abroad can still be an overall serious investment for a student. Luckily, there are numerous financial aid options in Europe on offer, including scholarship opportunities, either at the country or school level.

Check out our podcast episode: How to Get Financial Aid for College in Europe


For American students, this is the form you fill out to determine eligibility for student financial aid. Many schools in Europe – hundreds, in fact – work with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and allow students to use US student loans. For many study abroad programs there would also be no fees or penalties for using your 529 plan funds – they would apply to these institutions. Here is a list of schools with a federal school code, and that work with FAFSA and may cover costs. 

In our database of 11K+ English-taught degrees, we have a filter option where you can search for schools in Europe that have a FAFSA #. Currently, over 1,000 English-taught bachelor’s and over 3,000 master’s degrees in our database have a federal school code.

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European Aid for International Students

It is sometimes the case that schools in Europe offer funding opportunities and scholarships – some are specific to international students. At most schools in the Netherlands, for instance, incoming non-EU students can apply for the merit-based Holland Scholarship, which is a one-time payment of $5172. And in France, all students— including international students—can receive a housing subsidy, called CAF, which is around $103 per month.

The very best way to learn about scholarships in Europe is to go directly to a school’s website that directs students to scholarship opportunities, either through the school itself or otherwise. Often they include aid for study abroad programs or full degree program fees as well.

You can also check out our article 45+ Scholarships and Grants for Degree-Seeking International Students for further ideas on obtaining financial aid.

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Typical savings compared with a private university in the US

Pursuing a degree abroad is an opportunity of a lifetime, and offers international students the chance to get out of their comfort zone, develop global citizenship, and access a high quality but affordable education. But it’s still an investment of time and finances, and it’s important for students to take all aspects of this option into consideration before setting sail. 

At Beyond the States we’re here to help with any and all aspects of this journey, for international students exploring this possibility, looking for a best-fit program, and ultimately pursuing their degree abroad. 

Are you ready? Check out our Timeline to College in Europe to set your dreams in motion.

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