News of the naira crash last week to a historic low against the US dollar spurred widespread panic among Nigerian students planning to study abroad. The country’s plummeting currency means that more students will look at tuition-free universities elsewhere to continue their educational journey while taking living costs into consideration. 

While free undergraduate degrees are difficult to come by without external scholarships, there are scores of tuition-free universities worldwide for postgraduate programmes. Depending on the country, degree level, and field of study, some courses may even cover living costs, as is the case with most PhD programmes in the US.

If you’re a Nigerian postgraduate student scouting for greener pastures elsewhere, here are six institutions that don’t charge tuition to international students: 

Tuition-free universities in Europe and the US 

#1 RWTH Aachen University

A popular choice among students globally, RWTH Aachen University is Germany’s largest technical university with over 13,000 international students from 138 countries. It ranks 58th globally in graduate employability under the latest QS World University Rankings, so a degree from this research powerhouse will certainly boost your CV. 

Like any other public university in Germany, international students from non-EU countries can study there for free. You would need to pay a contribution fee of 50 euros per month, on top of living costs.

Work is permitted for up to 120 full days or 240 half days per year unless you’re employed as an academic assistant, in which case your working days will not be capped.

#2 University of Oslo

Norway is another country with stellar tuition-free universities for students outside of the European Union. As the top-ranked university in the country by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings in 2022, the University of Oslo offers postgraduate programmes taught in English, ranging from courses like fluid mechanics, and social anthropology, to maritime law.

Arguably one of the most expensive countries to live in, you can work up to 20 hours weekly to support yourself, which gives you ample opportunity to practice your Norwegian. This gives you added advantage post-graduation, where you’re allowed to remain and work in the country for a year. 

The University of Oslo is Norway’s premier university, and is often listed among the world’s top 100 universities by multiple ranking tables. Source: Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP

#3 University of Iceland

A lesser-known gem among tuition-free universities in Europe, this Reykjavik-based campus doesn’t charge tuition for international students. You’ll only be required to fork out 75,000 Icelandic króna (roughly 560 US dollars) annually to pay for registration fees.

Under certain conditions, the university might waive IELTS or TOEFL if you have sufficient proof of English language proficiency from prior studies. You don’t have to master Icelandic — there is an impressive range of English-taught courses for both the master’s and PhD programmes.

If you’re keen on this university, do take note that the admission period is only once a year, which is from December 10 to February 1 in the following year for non-EU students. 

#4 University of Ilinois Urbana-Champaign

The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign tops our US university pick due to its unparalleled breadth of programmes offered at the graduate level. Considered a “Public Ivy” institution, you can enter into its PhD programmes with a bachelor’s degree in just about any discipline imaginable. TOEFL isn’t required for Nigerian students, so that’s one less barrier to joining a top 50 school in the world. 

#5 University of Wisconsin-Madison 

You can never go wrong with tuition-free universities classified as Public Ivies. The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s graduate programmes largely award students master’s degrees en route to a PhD, so take your pick from its extensive list of subjects to specialise in. 

The Graduate School website provides country and programme-specific information to ease your application process. Generally, a Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) and an English proficiency test aren’t needed for Nigerian students to be admitted, unless explicitly requested by your faculty. 

Camp Randall Stadium is one of Madison’s most-recognisable landmarks, and is located on the campus of the University of Wisconsin. Source: Patrick McDermott/Getty Images North America/Getty Images via AFP

#6 The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin)

Another university where English proficiency tests are waived for Nigerians, UT Austin is also ranked in the world’s top 50 universities, according to THE. Texas is home to the largest Nigerian-born population in the US, and Austin is one of the fastest-growing cities in the US, with a high national job growth rate. 

The city is home to Silicon Hills, an area where clusters of global tech giants such as IBM, Intel, and Apple have made camp. Post-study work opportunities abound when you’re surrounded by high-tech companies, so that’s an added incentive to start preparing your application package.

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