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In which countries can Israelis get free higher education?

Many Israelis pursuing higher education choose to do so in a local university, but a recently published study offers an insight into educational institutions overseas that offer Israelis to study for free. The study by Erudera – an online education search engine – compared universities all over the world to find the ones that offer a cheap tuition fee - or no tuition at all -ahead of the upcoming academic year.

While the study looked into many academic institutions across Europe, most educational institutions worldwide mostly offer free education to their own nationals, asking for higher tuition fees from students who choose to come and study from abroad. There are, however, countries that are willing to allow foreign students - including from Israel - to come and study for free - including the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, and Iceland.

So, if these offers are enticing, how come not many Israeli students choose to pursue them? The answer can be found in the fine print of the terms and conditions, which include rigorous requirements.

In the Czech Republic and Finland, for example, a waiver from paying tuition is only given to students studying in the countries’ native tongue, meaning that if you don’t speak Czech or Finnish, you’ll have to pay tuition that could reach €18,500 per academic year.

In Germany and Iceland, while education is free for all students no matter in what language they choose to pursue their studies, high living expenses could prevent Israelis from attempting to get accepted into a local university.

According to the study, living expenses differ between countries where Israeli students are accepted. The cheapest is the Czech Republic with expenses estimated at €300 €650 per month. Czech Republic is followed by Germany with expenses estimated at €934, Finland with €700 – €1,300, and Iceland with a hefty €1,400 monthly expense bill.

While students also require to file for a student visa, those who graduate and want to find work in the profession they studied inside the country are given an extension to the visa by the government.

Post-graduate visas in Iceland are the shortest, ending after six months. The Czech Republic allows an extension of up to nine months, Germany of up to 18 months, and Finland of up to 24 months.

With many in Israel struggling to catch up to payments for higher education while working and renting housing, studying abroad could be a lucrative option, but only after thoughtful consideration and planning.

Matan Shor