As the student debt bubble appears on track to surpass $1.5 trillion this year with no end in sight, free public college is becoming more and more appealing for young Americans.

While the Republican-controlled Congress and President Trump aren’t likely to pass any legislation making public university tuition-free anytime soon, American students willing to get their education overseas can do so for an extremely low amount, without even having to learn a new language. Here are 7 countries non-wealthy American students may want to consider for their postsecondary education:

1. Germany

Free University of Berlin, Germany

Germany has abolished most tuition fees, and American students who don’t speak German will be pleased to know that there are hundreds of classes they can take that are entirely in English. For example, a 3D printing course offered at Aachen University next month is taught in English and only costs €550 (approximately $642 USD). Comparatively, one course at the University of Southern California cost $5,700 in 2014.

2. Slovenia

University of Ljubljana, Slovenia

The home country of First Lady Melania Trump is also another place American students can study for cheap, and in English to boot. A searchable database sorted by subject shows over 100 classes in English American students can take. While EU students go to college entirely for free, non-EU students will have to pay fees, although the cost can be as low as €1500/year (approximately $1,752 USD). University housing is as low as €80/month (approximately $93.47 USD). Comparatively, average tuition costs at an American public university can be between $10,000/year and $25,000/year, depending on if a student is in-state or from out of state.

3. Iceland

University of Iceland campus

The University of Iceland, which is in the country’s capital city of Reykjavik, offers both undergraduate and graduate-level courses (PDF link) in English for American students who don’t speak Icelandic. According to, the school charges no fees except for an annual $600 registration fee. Students will also need to budget for less than $1,000 a month in living expenses, like housing and food.

4. France

University of Toulouse, France

While France is typically harder to navigate without having a grasp of the French language, there are multiple post-graduate level courses offered in English. Annual fees typically amount to approximately $200 USD, though international students will need to prove that they have enough in the bank to cover living expenses while studying abroad. The low student fees also don’t apply to France’s elite Grandes Ecoles universities.

5. Finland

Helsinki University main library

In the Scandinavian country just West of Russia, postsecondary college degrees offered entirely in English will only cost about $1,700/year, according to Investopedia. However, warns prospective students that Finland will require you to apply for not only a residence permit, but show that you have at least $7,400 in the bank to cover a year’s worth of living expenses.

6. Brazil

University of Sao Paulo museum, Brazil

Even though Brazil speaks Portuguese, American post-graduate students who want to pay less and ear their degree abroad have the option of obtaining their education in English from Universidade Estadual Paulista (University of São Paulo) for free. Students will even be offered free Portuguese classes in order to better help them integrate into Brazilian society.

7. Czech Republic

Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic (Photo: Peter Visontay)

If you’re an international student who speaks Czech, classes at more than 70 universities around the country are entirely free. However, college course programs offered in English are also available for roughly $2,000 USD per year — just a tenth of what an out-of-state student would pay at an American public university. living costs in the Czech Republic are also much more affordable than in other parts of Europe, with students only needing between $350 and $750 to cover monthly expenses.

If you’re hoping to apply to study abroad in any of these countries, visit the appropriate country’s consulate in your city to get started.


Tom Cahill is a contributor for Grit Post who covers political and economic news. He lives in Bend, Oregon. Send him an email at tom DOT v DOT cahill AT gmail DOT com.

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