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Studying in Norway For Members

How much money do international students in Norway need to get by?

Robin-Ivan Capar
Robin-Ivan Capar - [email protected]
How much money do international students in Norway need to get by?
Students need around 130,000 kroner per year to study in the Norway. Photo by Abdulai Sayni on Unsplash

So, you've decided to apply to a Norwegian university and want to work out your expenses. If that's the case, make sure to check The Local's detailed overview of the cost you should expect to cover.

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Thousands of international students move to Norway to study at the country's universities each year, and the country's policy of not charging tuition (which is about to change for non-European Economic Area nationals) has been a magnet for many bright minds from all over the world.

While you can still take advantage of free higher education in Norway as an EU citizen, there are still several expenses that you need to plan for before moving to the country.

The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration suggests students have 128,887 kroner per academic year to cover typical living costs in Norway. For those on an education residence permit for non-EEA citizens, this is a requirement. This money can consist of loans, grants and any money from a part-time job in Norway if you already have one, or have been offered one. 

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A breakdown of monthly student expenses in Norway

Essential expenses that students are likely to encounter include accommodation, transportation, textbooks and educational materials, meals, entertainment, and various fees.

While your monthly expenses may vary based on the city you move to and the university you choose, the UDI's projection is a helpful framework for planning your finances.

According to the UDI, student housing options can range from 3,000 to 5,000 kroner per month. With bills, student housing costs can exceed 5,000 kroner a month. The most expensive student housing will likely be found in Oslo. Additionally, if you are unable to secure a place in official student housing, taking to the private market may stretch your housing budget even more. 

Those who need to rely on public transportation should expect to pay around 400-500 kroner for a monthly student transportation card. Student transport cards in Norway typically come with discount of around 30-40 percent. 

The cost of textbooks can vary greatly depending on the program, but one semester's worth of textbooks typically ranges between 1,600 and 3,800 kroner.

Eating options for students include student cafeterias, where meals can cost anywhere from 55 to 150 kroner, and inexpensive restaurants, where dinner might cost you between 120 and 250 kroner. That means that you should expect to spend northward of 3,000 kroner a month on food. This cost can be decreased by cooking more at home. However, grocery bills in Norway are still among the most expensive in Europe. 

When it comes to entertainment and leisure activities, both cinema and museum tickets are generally priced between 100 and 150 kroner. Alcohol is notoriously expensive in Norway (especially if you're drinking in a bar), and you can expect a beer to cost between 80 and 120 kroner.

Furthermore, plenty of universities in Norway will charge a registration, or semester, fee. For example at the University of Bergen the semester fee is 590 kroner. 

Those looking to stay in shape can expect to pay 500-750 kroner per month for a gym membership. However, some institutions will have their own sports facilities, such as Sammen Sports Centre at UiB, that work out cheaper per month than other gyms because they charge per semester. The Sammen Sports Centre costs 1,275 kroner per semester. 

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Additional expenses to consider

Aside from the expenses included in the UDI estimate, you should also consider the cost of your mobile phone (300-400 kroner for a sim-only deal) and internet plan (you can find The Local's guide to choosing the right provider for you here) and the investments that are attached to weather-proofing your wardrobe (Norway is known for its volatile and often cold weather, so you'll need to dress accordingly).

Energy bills are also another cost to consider if you opt for private housing over student halls. As you'll likely be sharing a home with a room each, the bill will probably be split by the number of people living at the address. Those studying in the south of Norway can expect higher energy bills. Overall, energy bills may cost between 400-800 kroner per month. Students can also apply for financial support to assist them with their energy bills.  

Furthermore, you may also be required to have health insurance as an international student. The cost of health insurance can vary depending on your insurance provider, your needs and personal circumstances, and the type of insurance plan you end up selecting.
 

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Tuition changes for non-EEA students

It's important to note that not all students are eligible for free education in Norway. Starting from the autumn term of 2023, students from countries outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland will be required to pay tuition fees to pursue university studies in Norway.

A potential workaround for non-EEA students who are subject to the new tuition fee policy is to participate in an exchange program.

However, this would only enable them to study in Norway for a shorter time period.

You can find more information on the introduction of tuition fees in Norway for non-EEA students here.

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