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Norway offers tuition-free quality education

Are you considering studying in Norway? In that case, you don't have to worry about paying high tuition fees.

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A group of students sitting in a park
Norway is an expensive country to live in, but in return you can study at a tuition-free quality university.
Photo:
Emil Breistein

Public universities in Norway do not charge students tuition fees, regardless of the student's country of origin. This is a unique opportunity to obtain a degree at a quality university at no cost, and one of many reasons why Norway has become an attractive country for foreign students.

A Spanish student, Artur Rubinat Lacuesta, has come to Norway for a master’s degree in Public administration at the University of Bergen (UiB) and is happy to share his thoughts on studying in Norway.

High quality

Lacuesta is often asked whether the quality is lower in an education system without tuition fees.

«I reply that the quality is good. I'm often asked whether the universities in Barcelona are as good as the Norwegian ones. They are, but we have a problem with old text books and low salaries for teachers and professors in Spain».

He believes that most people understand that being state-financed does not mean «free» and low quality.

No fees

«Teachers, researchers and professors need salaries. They are paid with public funds. Unfortunately, there is no consensus in Spain to increase taxes in order to provide education for everyone. We have moved away from the Scandinavian model and have a system that is more like Great Britain or the USA».

He believes many students from other parts of the world are surprised when they discover that most Norwegian institutions do not require fees from the students.

Why Norway?

«The reason why I came to study in Norway was that I wanted to see how you live here. It is quite exotic for us from the south to come here to the north», says Lacuesta and continues:

«When I studied in Barcelona, we were asked whether we would consider studying abroad. I immediately chose Scandinavia and my first choice was Bergen. I first came here as an exchange student in 2009, and now I'm here for a longer stay to take a full master’s degree».

Bergen, a seaport on the west coast, is Norway’s second largest city. Bergen is a popular place to study with many colleges of higher education and a university.  The students in Bergen come from more than 100 different countries.

How expensive is Norway?

«Living costs such as housing, food and drink are expensive for someone who is used to Spanish prices. I work as a tourist guide alongside my studies and help out during exam time for the bachelor’s students. But with free education, there is a balance in one’s finances».

Student welfare is important

All students at UiB have to pay a small fee each semester. At the moment it costs 66 EURO per semester to register as a student at UiB. If you are an exchange student you are exempt from this fee, but you still get the same advantages.

The student welfare organisation (Sammen) uses the semester registration fees to provide student welfare measures such as affordable accommodation, health care, sports activities, climbing clubs and a wide range of social events for students.

«I feel looked after as a student, both academically and in my free time. You also have great modern buildings and designated reading rooms for students.

Bergen - recommended!

«And are you happy in Bergen»?

«Absolutely», he says:

«It's a unique experience to walk straight out of the city centre into such a beautiful landscape with high mountains and a view over the fjords and ocean. I can highly recommend Bergen»!