Where can I go to school abroad for cheap?
June 21, 2012 7:20 AM   Subscribe

Where can I go to school abroad for cheap?

I'm 24, female and poor. Is there anywhere I can go to school in Europe (anywhere, but preferably France, England or Spain) and receive credits toward a bachelor's degree for very little money?

Helpful information:

-I am looking to stay in Europe for about a year
-I am not a citizen of any country other than the U.S.
-I am not super smart.
-My income on paper is likely too high to receive any significant financial aid. (Most of my income I don't actually end up keeping(long story) and much of what I do keep is going to student loans from previous schooling, so, I still can't afford to go back to school. Especially if I won't be working much while in school.)
-I speak mostly only English, but could probably be somewhat proficient in French with a little work.

Thank you for your help!
posted by gcolmes@gmail.com to Education (13 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
posted by molecicco at 7:42 AM on June 21, 2012

posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 8:00 AM on June 21, 2012

I was talking about this recently with a friend and on my brief investigation non-resident tuition just about anywhere in Western Europe was comparable to out of state tuition at a US Public college.

So not cheap at all.
posted by COD at 8:07 AM on June 21, 2012

Apparently I didn't check Germany when I was looking. We were actually talking about England but I then checked a few other random countries and didn't see any bargains.
posted by COD at 8:08 AM on June 21, 2012

I suppose the Netherlands would fit the bill (it's relatively inexpensive compared to the US, and we have a lot of study programs offered in English), but you would still need enough money to live on in order to get a study visa. Currently this stands at about €800 a month. And to be honest, this is really not enough to live on in the major cities, where rents as a newcomer can be really, really high and it's hard to find a place to live anyway. The actual study fees (we call it collegegeld vary per institution and course. To give a rough idea, at one place foreigners would be paying €5,500 per year in tuition fees.

Hopefully that gives you enough of an idea to know whether it's worth looking into on your budget.
posted by rubbish bin night at 8:13 AM on June 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

Yeah, there are a number of low-tuition programs to be found in Europe, but the deciding factor is cost of living. I paid $1200 a year for tuition in Switzerland, which is basically nothing, but then I ended up taking out major loans to cover the cost of living, which was astronomical (a six dollar slice of pizza, for example, is a steal in Zürich, and mixed drinks are never under fifteen dollars).

Berlin is cheap though, and it's popular with foreign students, which is why I posted the above link. Good luck!
posted by molecicco at 8:30 AM on June 21, 2012

To follow on rubbish bin night's points, the German Academic Exchange Service highlights the fact that tuition is only a small part of the total cost of studying abroad. When applying for a student visa, you need to be able to provide a financial guarantee that shows you've got the minimum amount of funds on hand to support yourself.
posted by evoque at 8:31 AM on June 21, 2012

...preferably France, England or Spain...
Degrees in England are typically expensive and low quality, so you'll do well to steer clear of them.
posted by Jehan at 8:39 AM on June 21, 2012

Degrees in England are typically expensive and low quality, so you'll do well to steer clear of them.

Degrees in England are... starkly bimodal in quality. Great if you can get into Oxford or Imperial College or whatever, not so hot outside of the Russell Group. You say you're not super smart, so maybe that isn't an option and pretty much all English degrees will cost you a huge amount of money, regardless of quality.

I can vouch for the quality of German universities and the tuition costs will be very low, I don't know about France or Spain though.
posted by atrazine at 8:57 AM on June 21, 2012

"Degrees in England are typically expensive and low quality, so you'll do well to steer clear of them"

Based on what, exactly? My tutors - albeit in a Russell Group uni - were well known in their field.

My advice is to consider cost of living as much as fees, too. If you get into LSE or Imperial, fantastic - but you'll also have to find somewhere to live in London, which will cost you £400 a month if you're lucky. You may have to work given your situation, and for that reason I'd be wary of choosing Spain given that a quarter of all their young people are out of work.
posted by mippy at 9:59 AM on June 21, 2012

Re: English degree courses. There are crap degrees in the Russell Group and gems outside it. It's a broad brush indicator but it's no substitute for knowing a good course when you see one (or not).

None of them are cheap, some of them are excellent value for money. Any genuine degree will not, for a US citizen, be much cheaper than tuition in the US, and perhaps more than some in-state fees. The best value for money is probably the Open University which is distance learning of a very high standard, but far from free. There have been posts on here in the past about it as a foreign student.

I also see you're thinking of transferring credit from an overseas course to count towards a Batchelors degree in the US: I've never heard of anyone doing this in the UK outside an organised exchange program and I would imagine it would be difficult to arrange.
posted by cromagnon at 12:19 PM on June 21, 2012

If I'm not mistaken, Finland offers free tuition, even for international students, but Helsinki is a very, very expensive city.
posted by taltalim at 7:59 AM on June 22, 2012

According to Oxford on the polders, a university education in the Netherlands is becoming a popular option, both because it's cheaper than some countries (especially the UK) and because it offers classes in English.
posted by kristi at 12:13 PM on June 23, 2012

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