According to this article (and many more like it), there are many countries around the world that will allow US citizens to study for free. If you are anything like me, you immediately began dreaming of all the amazing times you would have studying abroad, only to have those dreams come to a screeching halt when you thought about how to pay for your living expenses. After all, living anywhere ain’t cheap. It is one thing to consider paying for school and living expenses using student loans, but the fact of the matter is that most loans won’t pay for your living and studying expenses in a different country. And besides that, student loans are stupid. If you plan to get your degree using student loans, you are likely to be locked into paying for that shit for years to come–thus limiting your ability to travel, live abroad, take risks like quitting a job where you are unhappy, or dedicating time to volunteering.
So is it possible to live and study in another country and do things a little bit differently? Let’s see.
According to the Washington Post:
This Scandinavian country is among the world’s wealthiest, and its beautiful landscape beckons. It also offers some of the world’s most cost-efficient college degrees. More than 900 listed programs in 35 universities are taught in English. However, only Ph.D programs are tuition-free.
As stated in the quote, only doctoral programs are tuition-free. However, if you have EU citizenship, are married to a Swede, or fulfill any one of the numerous conditions, you might qualify for a free undergraduate or masters degree.
The entry requirements for undergraduate degrees (also known as “first round” in Sweden) are, at their most basic, completion of high school, proficiency in English, and a specific mathematics qualification (completion of 10 years of mathematics study). The specific program you are applying for will determine whether or not you have additional qualifications to meet. The bachelors degree programs are limited. For example, Lund University has five bachelor degree courses of study (Development studies, fine arts, mathematics, physical geography and ecosystem studies, and physics) while Dalarna has only one (international tourism management).
Masters degrees (also known as “second round”) are a bit more diverse, with more degree offerings available at most institutions. The entry requirements are similar to that of the first round.
With all degree options, it appears the most difficult portion of the application is the application for resident permits/visas. This process is estimated to take 2-3 months to receive word on the decision and can create a tight deadline between finding out your application status, applying for residency, and then beginning your studies. As with all visa applications, you can rest assured that this would be a heinously stressful process.
Studying abroad in Sweden would probably never be a viable option for me (since I have my hands full over here with USA and South African visa issues), but would love to hear how you managed the whole process!