How Indians Can Transfer To Top Universities Tuition Free And Save Money


Post-graduation work opportunities. A world-class education. Easier immigration pathways. These are the reasons why many Indian students choose to study abroad – and many more will follow.

Approximately 1.8 million Indian students will spend US$75 billion to US$85 billion by 2024 on international education, according to RedSeer Strategy Consultants. Associate this with the currency of the country break through 80 rupees per US dollar twice in July, and Indian students are bound to struggle more thanks to a weak currency.

Luckily, tuition-free options are a great way to access quality education without going broke. At these institutions, not a rupee goes towards applications, books or course materials (although you may have to pay an administrative fee).

If you are an Indian studying abroad, consider transferring to European universities tuition-free. Curious how to do this? Here’s what you need to know about the European Credit Transfer System:

Since Europe is home to a number of tuition-free universities, ECTS is a great way for you to transfer to these institutions. Source: Ludovic Marin/AFP

Can I transfer to tuition-free universities in Europe?

If you are an Indian student studying at a university that uses the European credit transfer system in Europe, it is possible for you to transfer to a tuition-free university in that region. If you are studying at an Indian university, you cannot transfer to a tuition-free university in Europe.

What is the European Credit Transfer System?

Most tuition-free universities are located in Europe. They follow the European credit transfer system (ECTS), which helps us to compare how credits earned at one higher education institution are counted towards a qualification studied at another.

With this system, you can collect credits from different universities in Europe. The European Commission’s website states: “ECTS has been adopted by most countries in the European Higher Education Area (EHEA). Currently there is 49 countries included in the EHEA.

How are ECTS credits converted into study hours?

ECTS credits indicate the workload required to complete a module in a study programme. Generally, one year of full-time study is worth 60 ECTS credits.

The ECTS points for a bachelor’s degree range from 180 ECTS (three years full-time) to 240 ECTS (four years full-time). For a master’s program, the ECTS points will range from 60 ECTS to 120 ECTS.

The number of study hours convertible into an ECTS credit will differ depending on the different countries in the EHEA. Here are some examples:

  • United Kingdom: 1 ECTS is equivalent to 20 hours of study
  • Austria, Ireland, Italy, Malta: 1 ECTS is equivalent to 25 hours of study
  • Finland, Lithuania, Sweden: 1 ECTS is equivalent to 27 hours of study
  • Netherlands, Portugal: 1 ECTS is equivalent to 28 hours of study
  • Germany: 1 ECTS is equivalent to 30 hours of study

We recommend that you check whether the university has indicated the ECTS credits for a particular module on its website.

What are ECTS credits used for?

With this system, students can quickly move from one European university or institution to another that accepts ECTS credits. You can also convert your ECTS credits at UK or US credit points since two UK credits equal one ECTS credit. One American credit is equivalent to two ECTS points.

tuition free

Consider the cost of living when transferring to a tuition-free university in Europe. Source: Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP

Should you transfer to a tuition-free university?

Although you can transfer the ECTS credits you have earned from an EHEA university to an institution without tuition fees, take into account the expenses you will incur when living and studying in another country.

Take Norway, for example. You can expect to spend between 20,000 to 40,000 Norwegian Krone (1 Norwegian krone is worth about 0.097 USD at the time of writing) to live in this Nordic country.

It would also take time to adjust to your new living environment. On top of that, you may have to contend with a different learning style, as some tuition-free universities emphasize research-oriented training that will require students to actively participate in class.


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