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Is it free to study in public university in Spain?

Published by Kate Norman — 2 months ago

Blog: Erasmusu Blog Kate
Tags: Erasmus blog Spain, Spain, Spain

Are you wondering whether it is free to study at a public university in Spain? What are the tuition fees like for studying an Undergraduate Degree? Spain is home to some great, highly-ranked universities with amazing study levels. Popular with both Spanish nationals and foreign students alike, student come to Spain from all across the world. In fact, Spain is the number one destination for EU students wanting to study abroad. As well as the perfect combination of sunshine, sangria and student nightlife, Spain also has some of the highest-ranked university courses.

With more than 70 places to choose from, I’m going to give you a run-down of the top academic universities, as well as the most affordable options. So, let’s find out what else you can do in Spain, aside from all the food, siestas and fiestas!


How much will it cost me?

Course fees in public Spanish universities are some of the lowest in the whole of Europe! It costs the same amount for both EU and non-EU students who come to study in Spain. The fees differ within each autonomous community, as the minimum and maximum costs are set by the local government authorities in each. You pay for each individual credit that you choose to study in that institution. Therefore, the annual fee will be this ECTS credit cost multiplied by the amount of credits you take, which is 60 per year for a four year course - making 240 credits in total. The cost of an individual credit usually varies between €12. 50 - €30. This makes up a yearly cost of between €750 - €2, 100 and therefore a cost of €3, 000 - €7, 200 for your entire degree. Wondering more about the financial truth of studying abroad? Read more about this in Mina’s article on

Compared to the whopping £9, 250 (€10, 268) per year in a British university, Spanish ones fare a lot cheaper… And that’s even before considering the affordable living costs as well!


Are universities in Spain any good?

Spain has 38 universities featured in the Times Higher Education World University Ranking in 2019. Their top 5 include:

  1. Pompeu Fabra University (Barcelona).
  2. Autonomous University of Barcelona.
  3. University of Barcelona.
  4. University of Navarra.
  5. Autonomous University of Madrid.

The University of Navarra is not a public university and therefore is the most expensive on this list at €10, 500 - €12, 500 per year. The rest of the top 5 are all public institutions, including the Pompeu Fabra University. The average tuition fee starts at €3, 000 to €4, 000 per year. This is similar to the price of the rest of the other 3 universities as well: they all range between €2, 000 - €4, 000 per year, including the Autonomous University of Madrid. Studying in the capital of Spain is an amazing experience! You can read Óscar’s opinion about it in this article on

As you can see, it is extremely affordable to go to any of these top-ranked public institutions. In fact, many of our Erasmusers have done exactly that! You can find a review of the incredible University of Barcelona in this article, or discover the best bits of their Autonomous University in this one.


Where can I go to save some money?

If you want to have a more down-to-earth Spanish experience and less of an academic one, you can opt for an incredibly affordable option instead. Here are the 5 least expensive universities that will still guarantee an incredible time:

  1. University of Jaen – the average tuition is €1, 000 per year.
  2. Open University of Catalonia – €1, 500 per year.
  3. University of Lleida – €1, 800 per year.
  4. University of Valencia – €2, 760 per year.

You are destined for an unforgettable 4 years at any one of these universities, just like Alicia at the University of Jaén before she graduated in 2017. Challenge yourself! Step out of your comfort zone and learn not only Spanish, but the local Valenciano as well at the University of Valencia. Even after considering the extra costs of books, extra language classes and medical insurance, you are looking at a starting point of only €5, 000 for 4 years of incredible memories.

Don’t forget! You can also apply for any kind of funding and student support, whether it be the Erasmus Mundus Scholarship, Spanish government scholarship, or one from your home country.


So, there you have it. What are you waiting for? While it is not free to study in public universities in Spain, it can be one of the cheapest options in Europe. Combine this with the beaches, the tapas and the cerveza, you will have the perfect recipe for the most fantastic four years of your life.

While you’re out there enjoying yourself, make sure to search our website for accommodation. Whether it be a room in a shared flat, University Halls, a studio apartment, or a whole place, Erasmusu has the answer!

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