There are thousands of international students who come to Norway to study at the universities, and get to experience the Norwegian culture while also getting a free university degree.
But even though the university degree itself is free for EU-citizens (but no longer for international students), you still need to pay the living costs for students in Norway. And as you might know, Norway is very expensive.
So what are the living costs for students in Norway like, and how much money do you need to study in Norway? Let’s take a closer look!
The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) recommends that you need 128,887 NOK (around $13,000) per year to study in Norway. This will be enough to cover the full living costs of students in Norway for 11 months in most cases.
In other words, you need quite a lot of money if you want to study in Norway, so don’t be too tempted by the fact that there are no tuition fees for EU or EEA-citizens at the universities.
But how true are there numbers presented by The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration? Let’s take a closer look at why you might need such a big amount of money to study in Norway.
The living costs for students in Norway are high
Students tend to live more inexpensively than working people, but it’s impossible to live very cheaply in Norway no matter how frugal you end up being.
There’s just no denying it: Norway is expensive. And this means that the livings costs for students in Norway are going to be high as well, even when you try to make it as cheap as possible.
But what exactly are you going to be spending those 128,887 NOK on each year when studying in Norway? Time again for a closer look at the different livings costs expected for students.
Housing costs for students in Norway
The main expense is going to be housing. Student housing is by far the cheapest option, but the student apartments are few and difficult to get into.
Most students rent apartments from private individuals, and can expect to pay between 3,500 NOK and 5,000 NOK for a small apartment.
This adds up to at least 42,000 NOK for a year if you go for the cheapest option of a student 1-bedroom apartment in one of the cheapest student cities.
If you want to study in a big city like Oslo, Bergen or Trondheim, expect to pay much more for renting a room or an apartment.
The average cost of renting a 1-bedroom apartment in Oslo is 10,189 NOK (around $1,000 USD) per month! The costs are a bit lower in Trondheim or Bergen, but I would still expect 5 – 6,000 NOK per month in these places.
In these cases, you won’t get far with only having 128,887 NOK for the entire year, since all your money will go to rent.
No matter where you study, the housing costs are going to be one of the biggest parts of the living costs for students in Norway. So finding a cheap place to live is going to be a top priority for most international students, but it’s not as easy as you might hope.
Also read: Detailed guide to renting an apartment in Norway.
The cost of food for students in Norway
The next biggest budget post for the living costs for students in Norway is going to be food. And yes, food is also pretty expensive in Norway.
Luckily for students, eating out is the most expensive options, and this is very easy to avoid. So don’t plan on going out to eat more than a few times per year in most cases.
Even after all this, be prepared to spend between 3,000 NOK and 4,000 NOK on food per month. You can probably go a little lower if you live frugally, but I don’t think it will be possible to go much under 2,500 NOK per month unless you go dumpster diving or eat food without nutrition.
The cost of textbooks for students in Norway
Buying a full set of the textbooks needed for classes at the university costs on average 2,500 NOK per semester. It might be lower some years, or higher others, since some classes will have more textbooks than others.
But be prepared to spend anywhere between 1,500 NOK and 3,500 NOK for a complete set of all the textbooks you need for a full semester. And keep in mind that a single semester is half a year, so there’s a total of 6 semesters for a bachelor’s degree.
In other words, you might end up paying as much as 21,000 NOK for your textbooks over a 3 year period! Most people won’t get anywhere close to this number though, but it really depends on what you study.
You will be able to save some money by buying used textbooks, and can in some cases cut the costs by over 50 % if you find a good deal.
While you won’t need to buy textbooks all that often, it’s important to keep this number in mind when calculating the expected living costs for students in Norway, since these textbooks are pretty expensive compared to regular books.
The cost of entertainment for students in Norway
Entertainment is yet another budget post that is going to be expensive in Norway. The great thing is that you are going to be able to choose how much you are going to spend on entertainment, but knowing most students, it’s going to be a lot.
It’s obviously impossible to put a number of exactly how much students in Norway should spend on entertainment each month, and it will vary a lot from person to person. But if you like going out to have fun, then entertainment will be a big piece of the living costs.
Some examples of cost for different types of entertainment in Norway:
|Type of entertainment||Typical cost|
|Museum entrance fees||100 – 200 NOK|
|Going to the cinema||130 – 150 NOK|
|Buying a beer at a bar||90 – 110 NOK|
|Going to a football match||100 – 300 NOK|
|Gym membership (per month)||300 – 400 NOK|
You might not get entry into Norway unless you can prove that you have enough money
The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) actually has strict requirements that all foreign students need to be able to prove that they can cover their living costs for students in Norway.
This means that you need to somehow be able to prove that you either have or can get at least 128,887 Norwegian kroner if you are coming to study here for one full year.
Keep in mind that the 128,887 NOK number is the 2022 / 2023 number, and it might increase in the future. I’m trying to update posts like this one each year, but double check at UDI’s website just to be sure that it’s the updated number!
There are multiple options to prove how that you have enough money to support yourself, such as:
- Have the money in your banking account.
- Have a contract for working part-time in Norway while studying.
- Have a contract for a grant.
- Have a contract for a student loan.
If you are unable to prove that you have they money, or will be getting it, you’re not going to be granted a student visa to study in Norway.
So you absolutely need to be able to cover the livings costs for students in Norway if you want to take advantage of the tuition-free universities.
Nicklas is the owner and editor of The Norway Guide, and is responsible for most of the content on the website.
He lives in Skien, Norway with his wife and two children. Nicklas is specialized in Norwegian ecology (including Norway’s geology, wildlife and flora) from his degree in Ecology And Nature Management at University of South-Eastern Norway, but has a particular interest in tourism and content creation.
His biggest hobbies are fishkeeping, going on hikes with his dog, and rooting for the local football team.