A decade ago, the total number of Indian students opting to pursue higher education abroad was infinitesimal. Ten years later, the number has now multiplied by approximately 11 times.
As per data released by the Ministry of External Affairs, 2019 saw the total number of Indian students studying in foreign universities crossing 7.5 lakh.
Well, with global aspirations becoming more of a real scenario, opportunities to study abroad are increasing as well. From reputed international institutions known for their sophisticated pedagogy to the ones specialized to nurture specific streams of education, options are plentiful for Indian students today.
Why Do Indians Go to Study Abroad?
One of the top reasons why Indians opt for overseas education is the possibility of improved career prospects. Depending on the university or college they opt for, students tend to improve their chances of securing high-end jobs with global big-wigs.
An option to choose from a wide variety of educational streams or fields is another top reason that drives students to enrol with foreign universities. Other common reasons include emigration possibilities, ease of admission, quality of education, and the likes.
Factors to Choose Affordable/Cheap Countries
While selecting the country to pursue higher education, the cost of such pedagogy is among the foremost considerations. Creating a financial plan to support oneself throughout the course’s duration is thus a step forward to ensure the availability of sufficient funding.
Such a financial plan can definitely start with looking for a country that offers the most affordable educational experience. Few factors that one can consider when selecting the cheapest nation for quality education include the following.
- The average cost of living.
- Standard course fees across universities in the country.
- Cost of availing a student’s visa.
Based on these factors, students can compare and select the desired country. Other essential factors one should consider include a university’s reputation, reviews from international students, etc.
With this information, let’s now take a look at the countries that make it to the list of top destinations for affordable education abroad.
List of 10 Cheapest Countries to Study Abroad for Indian Students
Germany has lately gained popularity as one of the topmost destinations for international education for its cost-effective and quality living standard, reputed universities and highly affordable educational expenses.
Tuition fees for undergraduate and Ph.D. courses are nil at public universities in Germany. However, for a Masters enroll to receive such benefits, he/she must have pursued the undergraduate degree in the country itself. Indian students can also look for scholarships to pursue higher education here.
Except for a few specialized programs, most courses in Norway’s public universities can be pursued free of cost for all. Top reasons why students choose Norway for higher studies include the quality educational experience, a high standard of living, and of course, the natural beauty of the place. 4 universities in the country made it to the list of top 500 under the QS World University Rankings 2019.
While Italy’s cultural legacy and ancient treasures invite tourists from around the world, its high-quality educational options at a pocket-friendly cost also make it among the top destinations for international students.
Home to the oldest recognized university, the country has become a hotbed for international students. Multiple universities in Italy feature within top 200 in the list of QS World University Ranking.
Danish universities offer a balanced mix of traditional academics and experimental collaboration to leave students rich in knowledge and application. Institutions offering higher education here do so through over 500 courses across specializations and industries. Thanks to its research-oriented and innovative approach to education, the quality of academic pedagogy remains at par with many other expensive destinations on the globe.
With one of the most pre-eminent education systems globally, Switzerland is better recognized as an international center for academic excellence in vocational learning and diverse skill development. The country houses 12 universities in total, out of which 8 grab a spot in the top 500 list of QS World University Rankings, with ETH Zurich featuring at 10th. The higher education specializations in science and research stream offered here are limited but leading.
The EU’s official headquarters, Belgium is also among the top international destinations offering quality education at affordable prices. Students can pursue their courses in the country not only in English, but also in Dutch, French and German.
The country not only stands out as an educational destination but is also one of the most sought-after countries for job opportunities. While a majority of bachelor-level programs are imparted in Dutch or French, students pursuing their masters and higher degrees can pursue plenty of courses entirely in English.
Universities in Spain not only come with a well-grounded reputation for quality higher education but also come cheap. The tuition fees are reasonable across universities, making Spain one of the top destinations for international students, including Indians. Offering courses across numerous disciplines, Spain is also among the cheapest countries for higher studies in Europe.
A small country with a population of approximately 1.3 million, Estonia makes for a remarkable destination to pursue higher education. The education system competes typically with some of the best in world. Add to that, Estonia’s rich cultural diversity also provides students with an opportunity to learn and grow. Universities in Estonia offer more than 100 degree programs imparted fully in English.
Australia is a fairly new, but competing destination for international education. With its universities providing bachelors, masters and other postgraduate degrees across streams and disciplines, its popularity is difficult to beat. The renowned academic institutions and centres of learning are primarily situated in New South Wales on the East Coast.
Poland is home to some of the oldest academic pedagogues, imbibing a rich history of excellence in educational learning. One of the most affordable countries in Europe for higher education, Poland boasts of several international-grade universities offering inter-disciplinary degrees in both under and postgraduate levels. The reasonable cost of living here has made it one of the preferred international destinations for Indian students.
Relevant details related to pursuing higher education in these countries include –
|Countries||Top Universities||Top Courses Subjects to Pursue||Annual Cost of Education/Tuition Charges||Annual Living Expenses|
University of Berlin
University of Konstanz
|Public institutions – Mostly free. Some universities may charge around INR 2.6 Lakh.
As both domestic and international students can pursue various under and postgraduate courses free of cost at public universities, the cost of education mostly involves admission fees only.
For private institutes, it can go up to INR 4 Lakh.
|Range – INR 6.5 Lakh to INR 8 Lakh.
Further, one can use their student ID to save on expenses like transportation, entertainment and cultural events.
|Norway||University of Bergen
University of Oslo
Arctic University of Norway
|Computer Science and Information Technology
Biotechnology and Life Sciences
Animation and Visual Arts/Digital Media
|Tuition Fee – Nil
Based on the university you choose to study, there can, however, be a semester fee payable, which is usually nominal within around INR 5,000. Access various memberships like sports facilities, health services, student unions, counselling, etc. with such payments.
|Range – INR 9 Lakh to INR 10 Lakh
Students can enjoy specific discounts on transportation and entertainment with their student ID card.
|Italy||University of Bologna
Politecnico di Milano
Sapienza University of Rome
University of Padua
European School of Economics
University of Milan
Other common centres of education here include the universities of Florence, Pisa, Trento, Pavia, Genoa, Turin, and Siena.
|Tuition fees – Between INR 75,000 and INR 4 Lakh.
Also, most of the Masters programs can lead to an average annual cost of INR 3 Lakh.
|Range – Between INR 7 Lakh and INR 10 Lakh.
While destinations like Pisa, Bologna, Padua and Turin are cheaper, studying in locations like Milan, Rome and Florence will be costlier.
|Denmark||TUD or Technical University of Denmark
University of Copenhagen
Copenhagen Business School
Biotechnology and other Biomedical Sciences
|Tuition fees – Between INR 4.5 Lakh and INR 12 Lakh.
International students with higher qualifications can further save on this cost by obtaining scholarships.
|Range – Between INR 7.5 Lakh and INR 11 Lakh.|
University of Zurich
EPFL or Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne
Accounting & Finance
Data Science and Analytics
It is also a suitable destination to pursue courses across Sports, Science, and Management.
|Tuition Fees – Between INR 1.2 Lakh and INR 4 Lakh.
The cost is, however, for each semester instead of annually.
When studying in private institutions in Switzerland, the cost can multiply by six to eight times.
Students with high merit and pursuing their masters can, however, trim down this cost by obtaining scholarships from top-rated universities in the likes of Zurich.
|Range – Between INR 10 Lakh and INR 12 Lakh.
University of Antwerp
|Tuition fees – Between INR 70,000 and INR 3.5 Lakh||Range – Between INR 7 Lakh and INR 11 Lakh|
|Spain||University of Barcelona
University of Navarra
University of Valencia
The Complutense University of Madrid
|Arts and Humanities
Biotechnology and Biosciences
|Tuition fees – Between INR 50,000 and INR 4 Lakh
In the case of private universities, the cost can multiply up to 6 times.
|Range – Between INR 5 Lakh and INR 9.5 Lakh.|
Estonian Business School
University of Tartu
Tallinn Institute of Technology
Tallinn University of Technology
|Computer Science and Information Technology
|Tuition fees – Between INR 1.5 Lakh and INR 6 Lakh.
Pursuing specialisations like a medical degree involve much higher costs though. Postgraduate students can, however, avail scholarships to pursue their choice of specialised course.
|Range – Between INR2.5 Lakh and INR 5 Lakh
|Australia||University of New South Wales
Australian National University
University of Western Sydney
University of Melbourne
|Tuition fee – Between INR 5.5 Lakh to 12 Lakh
Pursuing a postgraduate degree in the country can involve higher fees for students.
|Range – Between INR 5 Lakh and INR 8 Lakh|
|Poland||University of Gdansk
University of Warsaw
Medical University of Warsaw
University of Wroclaw
AGH University of Science and Technology
Life Sciences and Biotechnology
|Tuition fees – Between INR 2 Lakh and INR 4 Lakh||Range – From INR 3 Lakh to INR 5 Lakh|
These were the top few countries where Indian students can look forward to pursuing higher education at affordable costs. Some other destinations that can qualify for similar educational quality at reasonable costs include New Zealand, Netherlands, Ireland, England and Sweden. Make sure to check the costs involved including living expenses alongside the quality of education when selecting one of these countries to pursue higher education.