5 cool European countries where you can do a master’s for free

Thinking about your postgraduate study, but worried about your budget? We’ll let you in on a secret – you can do a master’s in Europe for free or a fraction of the costs!

If you’re stuck between travelling or considering further study after graduating, why not combine both and do a master’s in Europe? The best part is that it could be completely free!

You can now get Postgraduate Loans to so you can cover costs of studying a master’s within the UK, but it’ll still add to your pile of student debt, and you’ll likely have to stump up for living costs.

While many European universities allow EU students to study for free, only a few let non-EU students join that party. We’ve listed some of them below.

UK tuition fees for EU students

If you’re thinking about dropping out of university but aren’t fully sure what would happen to with your Student Loan, don’t worry. Here are the key things you should know…

University is not everyone and deciding it isn’t for you shouldn’t be considered a failure by any stretch. The learning environment might not be for you and that’s okay.

However, often students make the decision without understanding what happens to their Student Finance (and other legal obligations). This guide will get you on track, and if you’ve yet to jump ship, this should help with your decision making.

How much money will you owe if you drop out?

Once your university has confirmed your withdrawal with the Student Loans Company (SLC), all future Student Finance payments will be stopped, for both parts of your Student Loan. There’s a great chance you’ll have other obligations too.

Tuition Fee Loan

Your Tuition Fee Loan is the part of your Student Finance that covers the cost of your degree.

It’s paid directly to your university in three instalments each year. The first two instalments are paid near the start of terms one and two and each amount makes up 25% of the total amount borrowed. The last one that is paid at the start of the third term and equates to 50% of your loan for that year.

You can currently get up to £9,250 per year towards tuition fees, so double-check how much you have taken out this year and the previous years. This is will be the amount you will have to pay back (minus the fees for terms you haven’t yet completed) plus added interest.

It’s worth bearing in mind that you will still be charged for a full term even if you quit halfway through. This will be added to your loan balance which will become repayable later.

Maintenance Loan

Your Maintenance Loan covers day-to-day living costs. It’s paid directly to your student bank account in three instalments throughout the year, one will be at the start of each term, and each instalment equates to roughly a third of the amount borrowed for that year. The official Maintenance Loan split is 33/33/34. Note that in Scotland, loans are paid monthly.

The amount you’re entitled to depends on your household income (i.e., how much money your parents make) and your living situation (whether away from home outside London ,you’re living at home or away from home and in London).

As an example, students from England can get up to £9,488 to cover their living costs if they live away from home and outside of London (and up to £12,382 if they live in London).

The sum you’re entitled to will probably be different from how much your mates are entitled to as everyone’s situation is different. Have a look at our full Maintenance Loan guide to find out more.

Double-check how much you have taken out this year and any previous years to start working out how much you will have to pay back, and bear in mind the small amount of interest on top.

Again, you won’t have to pay back any Student Finance you have not yet received.

Grants and bursaries

You may have received a grant or bursary on top of your Tuition Fee Loan or Maintenance Loan, such as Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSA), an NHS bursary or money from your university’s hardship fund.

These, in general, do not have to be paid back – but you are only entitled to them for as long as you’re enrolled as a student.

Make sure you let your university know the exact date you decide to terminate your studies to avoid having to pay back any money you weren’t entitled to (and may have spent in the meantime).

If you received a grant or bursary from any other source, you would need to get in touch with the provider to let them know you have dropped out of uni and will need to stop receiving payments.

SLC will take the grant or bursary you have received into your account when they reassess your situation to avoid leaving you out in the cold.

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Accommodation

You may also be bound by a contract for any student accommodation your renting, possibly for the remainder of the academic year.

This means that you may have to pay rent until you come to an agreement with your university accommodation provider or your landlord about your moving out date.

Let them know that you’re dropping out of university to figure out the best way forward and avoid getting yourself into a legal tangle.

Taking a break from university

You might consider temporarily taking a break rather than dropping out completely, for example, to support a family member or sort out mental health issues.

Take care of yourself first, then come back and consider your other options when your situation has improved.

Taking a break for medical reasons

You can request for your Student Finance to include an additional 60 days of funding if you decide to suspend your studies due to ill health or pregnancy. Get in touch with your university who will put your request through to the Student Loans Company.

If you need more than 60 days of extra funding, you can ask SLC for another extension. You’ll need to provide SLC with both of the following:

A letter from your doctor justifying your circumstances

Proof that you would be in financial hardship without the funding (bank statements, tenancy agreement, utility bills or any other kind of document that demonstrates responsibility for financial obligations during the period of suspension).

Taking a break for any other reason

Sometimes life gets in the way and you may decide to put your studies on hold for other reasons.

You may still be entitled to some of your Student Finance during a break if you have left uni because:

You are experiencing financial difficulties

A work placement you were counting on has been prematurely terminated.

SLC will ask you to provide evidence to justify your suspension. Once your situation has been reassessed, SLC will send you a letter detailing how much financial support you are entitled to.

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