The cost of studying in Norway for an American student

I received an email recently from a Luther College student asking about studying in Norway. One of his main questions was…what does it cost to study in Norway?

A great question. And the short answer is the best…it’s free! But, before you get too excited (although you should be, come on, a chance to study in Norway? AWESOME!), you should know some details.

To study in Norway longer than three months, you need a student residence permit. The applications are submitted to Norwegian Foreign Missions in the US. Don’t go to Norway and try to apply…did that once and didn’t go so well for me. The application costs 1100 Norwegian Kroner (or NOK), which unfortunately for Americans is getting more expensive by the day (currently $185).

The other money element for the application is proof of subsistence. Basically Norway is saying, you can study tuition-free (maybe a small student activity fee), but you have to prove that you have the cash to support yourself while you are here. Norway says that this amount is exactly 82,900 NOK (about $14000). AND, you have to prove you have this money with three months of records, so you can’t just transfer money in to your account, print off a report, and transfer it back to mommy or daddy. If you have a grant or scholarship, you can send documentation to help get you to the magical 82900 NOK. There are a number of grant opportunities available that could also help, especially if you want to study in the North.

Other elements for the student residence permit include:

  • A plan of study (download here)
  • A completed application form with a passport photo (download here)
  • Documentation of admission to an “approved educational institution”
  • Documentation of housing (this could be student housing)

While it is a bit tough to get all the paperwork done, especially since admission for me came in June with classes beginning at the end of August, it is worth it. When you arrive, you can work 20 hours a week and if you are able, I highly recommend doing so. It will help you learn Norwegian, it will help you meet new people and you can earn a Norwegian wage.

One of the complaints of Norway is that it’s expensive, but if you work there, it’s not such a shock. Sure, beer costs 4x more, but your wage is also 3-4 times higher with vacation pay, coffee breaks and no tax if you earn less than 40,000 NOK ($6700) a year. Take off the 40ish% tax and you’re making great money. Probably enough to head south with the other Norwegian during Mørketid to get a tan and chorizo.

Definitely consider studying in Norway. If you’re curious where to study, check back for the next post on Norwegian Universities, language schools and colleges. If you have opportunities for scholarships, tips for studying in Norway or places where students should study, leave a comment in the forum!

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Posted on November 15th, 2010 in Norway, Travel