Tuition Fees In Norway: Detailed Guide For 2023

The brand new tuition fees for non-EU/EEA students are beginning in the fall of 2023, and it’s going to be a big change for international students who have dreamt of coming to Norway to partake in the free university education it used to offer.

The fact of the matter is that the tuition fees are now in effect, and it seems extremely unlikely that they will be removed in the foreseeable future. We’re going to have to learn to live with them, so we are going to look closer at everything you need to know about the new tuition fees in Norway in this article.

So keep reading if you want to learn more about how high the tuition fees are, how to pay them, who needs to pay tuition fees, and how to study in Norway without paying.

The main building of NTNU
The main building of NTNU (Norwegian University of Science and Technology) in Trondheim. Photo by Eirik Refsdal / CC BY 2.0.

How much are the new tuition fees in Norway?

Each university is free to set their own tuition fee prices, but they are required to have it to be a real sum (making it impossible for universities to set it to cost 10 NOK to essentially make it free again).

The prices vary depending on several factors, and some degrees are much more expensive than others.

Generally speaking, degrees with huge auditoriums of students are pretty cheap, while degrees that require small groups of students (such as when working in a lab) are priced much higher. This is simply because staff costs and equipment costs are far higher for the latter group.

Not all universities have publicly declared their prices yet, but it seems that the new yearly tuition fee in Norway is between 80,000 NOK ($8,000) for the cheapest bachelor’s degrees, while the most expensive ones can cost as much as 490,000 NOK ($49,000).

That said, most degrees are in the 80,000 NOK to 150,000 NOK range, and those above are the extreme cases where you will require a lot of special equipment and things like that.

Keep in mind that all prices are per academic year (that consists of two semesters), so take the price and multiply it by two for regular master’s degrees, and by three for bachelor’s degrees.

The main entrance to University of South-Eastern Norway at campus Bø. Bø is one of the cheapest cities for international students in Norway.
The main entrance to University of South-Eastern Norway at campus Bø. Photo by Nicklas Iversen / The Norway

Who needs to pay tuition fees in Norway?

The new tuition fees only apply to certain nationalities, and people from the following group are exempt from having to pay a tuition fee:

  • Norwegian citizens.
  • Anyone with a permanent residency permit for Norway
  • EU citizens.
  • Citizens from other counties in EEA (European Economic Area), which basically means Iceland and Liechtenstein.
  • Citizens from Switzerland.

So if you don’t own a passport or have citizenship in one of those countries, you need to pay tuition fees.

This means that everyone from North America (yes, even including the US), South America, Africa, Australia and Asia need to pay full tuition fees to study in Norway.

For anyone that do fit into these groups, the education at a Norwegian university is almost free, just like before the tuition fees were implemented in 2023.

Domus media
Domus media is part of Universitetet i Oslo. Photo by Ryan Hodnett / CC BY-SA 4.0.

When to pay tuition fee

It seems that the universities are able to choose when you need to pay the tuition fees to study in Norway, but so far the consensus seem to be that most universities want to be paid the full amount before May 15.

This means that you need to pay the entire sum for the tuition fees before this date to secure a spot as a student, even though the education itself does not begin before August the same year.

Many students are baffled by this seeing as you don’t even have all the official documents like a student visa ready by this time, but it also seem like the deadline is non-optional, so you’ve got to be prepared to pay before this date if you want to study in Norway.

How to pay the tuition fees

The tuition fees are paid directly to the university where you are going to become a student. You will get an invoice from them if or when you are accepted to become a student there.

Other costs and fees required to be a student in Norway

If paying tuition fees is not enough, you obviously still need money to live on when you’re in Norway to study. And living in Norway is absolutely not cheap!

To make sure that foreign students can get by while studying in Norway, The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) requires that you have 128,887 NOK (around $13,000) of spending money per year.

So in addition to the tuition fees, you need almost 130,000 NOK per year to live on in Norway, and you need to be able to document that you have both these living expenses as well as the tuition fees ready before you are granted a student visa.

This means that even the cheapest degrees will require you to have over 200,000 NOK ($20,000) per year to be able to study.

It’s also worth mentioning that you might need more than 130,000 NOK for a full year in Norway. This is only the minimum amount, which might be fine if you choose to study in the cheapest student cities, but it will absolutely not be enough if you are studying in places like Oslo, Bergen or Trondheim.

The reason for this is the rental costs. For example, a single bedroom apartment in Oslo costs over 10,000 NOK ($1,000) per month on average. With only 130,000 NOK for a year, that leaves you will little room to buy things like food (which I bet most of you probably need).

The Western Norway University of Applied Sciences campus in Førde
The Western Norway University of Applied Sciences campus in Førde. Photo by: Evolelov / CC BY-SA 4.0.

How to study in Norway without paying any tuition fees

There are a few ways for even non-EU/EEA students to be able to study in Norway without paying tuition fees to a Norwegian university, and that is by applying for a student exchange program. Let’s take a look at how you can study in Norway without paying tuition fee.

Sign up as a foreign exchange student

All student exchange programs that sends you to Norway for a half or a full year will still be free, since you will need to pay for your regular university in this time. This means that you can study in Norway for free if you are an exchange student from a university without tuition fees.

You need to apply to a university in another country that offers a student exchange program with a Norwegian university to be able to do this, but there are hundreds of these scattered all over the world, so it should not be too difficult to find one somewhat near you.

Be enrolled to a Norwegian university before 2023

If you already studied in Norway prior to the implementation of the new tuition fees, you are allowed to finish your degree without paying tuition fees.

For people who have studied in Norway for one year, then you might be entitled to finish another one or two more years before you even need to pay tuition fees.

It is still uncertain if you are able to finish “old” degrees that have been abandoned for a few years.

Be married to a Norwegian citizen

If you’re married to a Norwegian citizen, then you can also study for free without paying any tuition fees.

You will need to prove that it’s not a marriage of convenience though, so I would not recommend this path if you’re just after free education.

Have completed 3 years of continuous studies in Norway

If you’ve been studying in Norway for at least 3 years without any breaks, then you can apply to not pay tuition fees if you want to keep studying. This allows people who have completed a bachelor’s degree to keep studying to get a master’s degree without having to pay tuition fees.

Work full-time in Norway for at least 24 months

You are entitled to study for free in Norway if you have worked full-time in Norway for a Norwegian company for at least 24 months.

You need to have had a residency permit as well as have paid taxes to Norway during this entire period.

Be granted protection / asylum, marry a Norwegian citizen, or be granted family reunion

Some groups of people who are coming to Norway may study without paying tuition fees even before getting a permanent citizenship or residency. This is for people of the following groups:

  • Anyone with a residency permit because of family immigration or family reunion.
  • Anyone married to or expecting child with a Norwegian citizen, as long as you both live in Norway.
  • People who are granted protection or asylum.

Do you need to pay tuition fees for PhD positions in Norway?

PhD positions in Norway are paid positions that are considered a type of job, so they will not require a tuition fee.

Instead, expect to get paid about 450,000 NOK to 500,000 NOK per year if you get a PhD position in Norway. So that’s still a pretty sweet deal compared to in most other countries.

The downside is that you also got to be doing some teaching, and using up to 4 years instead of the usual 3. The way PhD positions are structured is that you get hired for 4 years, then are supposed to spend roughly 1 of these years as a teacher or lecturer for bachelor’s and master’s students.

The main building at NTNU in Gjøvik
The main building at NTNU in Gjøvik. Photo by Premeditated / CC BY-SA 4.0.

What the future of tuition fees are like

The new tuition fees that were implemented in the national budget of 2023 have faced a lot of backlash from most student organizations, the universities and many other groups and organizations.

So can we expect the tuition fees to be revered?

So far it seems unlikely that the tuition fees will be reverted. The government responsible for implementing it are also the ones who have historically opposed it, so it seems highly unlikely that even a change in the sitting government can make it change back to being free again.

There are a few parties like Socialist Left and Red who are trying to revert the change, but these are small parties with little power currently.

I would personally not hold my breath on hoping it will be reverted, but I guess we can all hope for the best.

Some lawyers have speculated if it’s even legal to make such a big change in a national budget without making an accompanying law, so this is potentially something that will need to be looked further into by someone who knows what they’re talking about.

The entrance to the University of Stavanger
The entrance to the University of Stavanger. Photo published with permission.

Frequently asked questions about the tuition fee in Norway

How much is the tuition fee in Norway?

The tuition fee in Norway is roughly between 80,000 NOK ($8,000 USD) and 150,000 NOK ($15,000 USD) per academic year. However, some educations are much more expensive, such as engineering, dentistry, medicine and more.

Who need to pay tuition fees in Norway?

All foreigners from outside of any EEA country (or Switzerland) need to pay full tuition fees to become a student in Norway.

When are the new tuition fees in effect?

The new tuition fees for foreigners at Norwegian universities will begin to take effect at the start of the academic year in 2023 (which is in August 2023).

Do existing students need to pay tuition fees?

Anyone who begun their degree at a Norwegian university can finish the degree without paying the tuition fees in the coming years. So this change will not affect existing students at all.
However, you will need to pay tuition fees if you finish a bachelor’s degree and want to pursuit a master’s degree in the same field.

Are there any universities that still offer free education in Norway?

All universities are required by the Norwegian government to demand tuition fees, and they are unfortunately not even allowed to offer very cheap or free degrees.

Do UK citizens have to pay tuition fees at universities in Norway?

Generally speaking, UK citizens need to pay tuition fees to study at a Norwegian university. There’s an exception for people who have lived in Norway since before Brexit. If you’ve arrived in Norway before January 1 2012, you’re treated as a EU citizen. However, anyone arriving in Norway (from the UK) after January 1 2021 are not exempt from the tuition fees.

Do permanent resident holders need to pay tuition fees?

You do not need to pay tuition fees to Norwegian universities if you hold a permanent Norwegian residency.

Do you have any more questions about the student fees in Norway? Let me know in the comment section below, and I will get back to you shortly!

32 thoughts on “Tuition Fees In Norway: Detailed Guide For 2023”

  1. Hi and thanks for the information,
    Do you need to pay tuition fees if you married to a permanent residency holder?


  2. Hi! Unfortunately for me I’m a non-Eu and am finishing my BA in Norway now (holding a renewable student visa) and am planning to apply for masters. Is there any chance that I could be enrolled for MA for free? Because I’ve applied for it as a Norwegian (as I live here), which is until 15th of April and I’ll only get my reply in July! It’s still unclear on my university’s website (UiA), they’ve written that some residence permits could be exempt from paying. So if I’ve lived here for 3 years, got Norwegian courses, and even worked and payed taxes, could it be that I’ll be enrolled for my MA without paying?

    • Hello, Niks.

      You should be able to not pay tuition fees. As long as you have studied for 3 years without any breaks. So you should be able to finish your Master’s without any fees.

      Best regards

  3. Very interesting article. However, I was wondering if you could explain the reason behind this new payment. As I would like to understand that the Norwegian government may establish taxes or fees for international students to help fund the cost of providing high-quality education and other student services. In other cases, these taxes may be used as a way to control the number of international students attending universities and protect access to higher education for domestic/European students, although Norway is often considered one of the most egalitarian countries in the world, this new measure is saying the opposite.
    Which one is the reason for these sudden student fees and which arguments give the Norwegian government?

    • Hi, Francisca.

      The reason is simply because the Norwegian government wants to save money.

      To be a bit more technical with the whole tuition fee: The tuition fee is not being established at all. It has always been there. The tuition fee is paid to the universities, not the government itself, and is one way for the university to make money. They need to pay for staff and other stuff, and it’s not free to host university classes.

      Previously, the universities have sent the invoice for the tuition fee directly to the government. So this new chance is not a new fee or a new tax, it’s just that the government has said that they do not want to pay this invoice for non-EU/EEA citizens any longer. This means that the universities not function the same way as the welfare system, health care system and other social services in Norway where Norwegians and EU/EEA citizens have a higher level of benefit compared to citizens from the rest of the world.

      Best regards

  4. Hi Nicklas,

    Thank you for the informative article. Would the three years of consecutive studying rule also apply to professional degree programs? For example, would an international student need to pay for all six years of medical school or just the first three?


    • Hello, Andrew.

      The “3 year rule” is legacy for people who have already studied in Norway prior to 2023, allowing them to finish their education on the same terms as they began it on.

      From what I understand, this rule also only opens to continuing on an educational path, so I’m not sure it allows someone to begin fresh at medical school. But there is a bit of lacking information about exactly this.

      Best regards

  5. Hello Nicklas,
    I am working in Norway (skilled-worker residency) and recently my wife has joined me here. If she wants to apply for the MSc, do you have any information if we need to pay the tuition fee?

    Kind regards,

      • Just recently graduated with my Biomedical Technology B.Tech degree and was hoping on coming over for my masters in either Biomedical Sciences or Neuroscience. What a huge bummer this is, but care to put me through on international job offers since it’s one of the requirements. That’ll be a life saver and God-sent of you, thanks

        • Hi, Prospero.

          Yeah, it’s a huge bummer for sure. I hope you are able to find a job offer or something that makes it possible for you to come and get your masters. Unfortunately, we at The Norway Guide have no means of helping out with this 🙁

          Best regards

  6. Hi Nicholas,

    I’m just finishing a two year masters, but was told I would be automatically entitled to a year of poststudies (with no modules, no lessons, just access to the building essentially) but have now been told that since I have to fill in a form to enrol, it counts as applying for a different course. The cost for one year is 355,000kr and I’ve been informed of this on Thursday, after all possible deadlines for funding are long past.
    I could apply for a job seeking visa, but my partner (also British) just moved here on a samboer visa with me, so will not be able to stay if I am only on a job seeking visa (since you cannot have a samboer visa attached to a job-seeking visa).

    Are there any options for us to stay? This is happening so late and I can’t believe how enormous the fee is for essentially nothing (UiB). The nearest comparison I had was UiS which at least could be doable. There’s just no way I can raise that much money, especially with such little time.

    Thank you

  7. Hello, Sir
    First and foremost, I would like to express my gratitude for the opportunity to study in Norwegian university in 2023–2024. I want to ask about the new tuition fees in Norway.The new tuition fee in Norway exempts me because I studied at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology and worked for a Trondheim company also paid taxes for a year.Could I study without paying tuition?

  8. Hi,

    Thanks for the helpful info. This has ruined all my plans, sadly. May I ask if I have to pay tuition fee for my son who is 15years old now as I am planning to get him to Norway on family immigration visa as I am on my 2nd year now as a skilled worker, and hopefully get approved a PR visa after next year. Would really appreciate your comment as I can’t seem to find the answer elsewhere online. Thanks!

    • Hi, Amor.

      It depends 100 % on what type of residency or visa your son ends up getting. If he gets residency, he won’t have to pay.

      Also keep in mind that the tuition fees is only for universities, not high school, so there will be at least a few years before this issue will arise since he is 15 years old now. You need to have finished high school (videregående) to even start university, so that means he needs to be 18 years old at least.

      Best regards

  9. Hello Nicklas,

    Thank you for this very helpful thread!

    I have a specific situation as well that I could use some help and guidance on. I am currently in the United States but have a Norwegian partner who is in university for 3 more years. We are planning on getting married this upcoming summer/fall and I will be attending a folk high school. I would like to apply for masters programs for the year following folk high school, so the 2024-2025 year. Based on our situation, do you think I would be exempt from tutition fees?

    Thanks for the advice!

    • Hi, Kari.

      I don’t think you will be exempt from how I understand your situation, at least right now.

      But the big question is what type of citizenship or visa you will be getting. If you get a Norwegian citizenship from the marriage, then you will qualify for free education.

      Best regards

  10. Hi, thank you for the article. Have you heard whether there is also a plan to start charging more of international students to attend Folk High Schools?

    • Hi, Erin.

      Folk High Schools (known as Folkehøgskole in Norway) already has tuition fees for everyone, so even Norwegians need to pay for this.

      There are currently no plans to increase the tuition fees for international students, but that could change in the national budget next year. But I don’t personally think that this will happen.

      Best regards

  11. Hey 🙂 very nice Information 🙂 . I would like to know some information about me !

    I live in Norway as Student 3 years . I done folkehøgskole first and after 2 years ( fagskole) . Now I go do University. you know if I will have to pay tuition fees 2023 ?

    I look forward to hearing from you .


    • Hello, Fabio.

      It depends on your current university progress. You won’t have to pay any tuition fees if you are completing an already started degree, but you will need to pay if you are beginning on a new one.

      Best regards

  12. Hi,
    How much are the fees for EU students?
    I ja be lived and worked in Norway
    For 5 years already, but am interested in re training.

  13. Hello Nicklas,
    I’m going to marry someone who has a Norwegian residence permit and I’m not an EU/EEA citizen.
    Do I have to pay tuition for the master course?
    How about my daughter?
    Does she have to pay tuition to go to university in the future?
    Best regards

    • Hi, Mina.

      All that depends on the type of residency you get.

      Most commonly you would get a permanent residency and eventually citizenship when marrying a Norwegian or a person with a permanent residency in Norway. This gives you the right to get free university education, since you are now a Norwegian citizen. But keep in mind that this process can take a certain amount of time.

      And it will also depend for your child. Generally speaking, the child will also need to apply for permanent residency, which will grant her access to tuition free education.

      Best regards


Leave a Comment