As home to 76 universities, Spain offers a lot of educational options to international students. It also boasts of beautiful weather and delicious cuisine, making it a lovely place to live in. With the education and location of the country, many international students choose this country to pursue higher education.

Spain is reasonably cheap too, which means you don’t have to worry about academic and living expenses when you study here. Compared to other European countries, the cost of living in Spain is a lot more affordable.

More than its affordability, scholarships and grants are also available to international students. With its many universities that offer scholarships, you may just be able to finish your studies in Spain for free.

How to Study in Spain for Free

1. Submit a Comprehensive and Detailed Application

As application processes will vary according to your home country, you will need to send in your documents right away.

For example, European students need to course through their application to the Spanish National University for Distance Education, which opens in April. Upon submitting a school transcript and proof of identity, the applicant will receive the Credencial de Accesso – which he/she needs to submit to the university – within 3 to 4 months.

Non-EU students, on the other hand, have to seek recognition for their credentials through the Spanish Embassy in their home countries. Upon getting the Volante Accreditation, the student must apply and take the entrance exam (Selectividad) to be admitted to his/her university of choice. Because of these several steps, non-EU students have to send their applications way ahead of EU applicants.

Now, in this part, you need to present your good academic achievements in order to stand out. Since our goal is to study in Spain for free, having good grades, certificates, or awards proving your excellence in the field can open many opportunities for scholarships, awards, and more.

2. Apply for Scholarships in Spain

Although Spanish universities are cheaper than other European institutions, you may get the chance to study in Spain for free by applying for scholarships. These are often funded by the universities themselves, as well as other donors and organizations. While most only award partial tuition discounts, some grants can cover the total amount for the year.

The scholarship application differs from one university to another, and they may require some requirements. It will be helpful if you prepare documents like academic records, recommendation letters, and other school-related papers.

3. Attend Affordable Universities in Spain

Studying in Spain is unbelievably cheap. If you get admitted to a public university, you will only need to pay around €680 – €1,280. For example, at the University of Granada, you will only need to pay around €800+ a year.

If you attend an affordable university in Spain and have scholarships to cover your accommodation and other living expenses, you can actually study in Spain for free!

Tuition-free Options for Bachelor’s Studies in Spain

Now, in this section, we will be covering some scholarships in Spain per degree. Study in Spain for free by applying for any of these scholarships for your undergraduate degree:

CEU San Pablo University

Universidad CEU San Pablo is a private educational institution located in Madrid, Spain. Formerly a college of the Complutense University of Madrid, it became an autonomous institution in the year 1993.

Through the CEU San Pablo Foundation, undergraduate students can study for free in Spain by applying for scholarships such as the CEU Merit Program. It offers a 100% scholarship that renews automatically every year, granted that the student has met the required grade.

Universidad Europea de Madrid

The European University of Madrid was founded in 1995. This private, for-profit institution based in Madrid is home to more than 16,000 students.

There are several grants and scholarships available for undergraduate students at UEM. One is the UEM Scholarship, which is open to new students with average/above-average marks. Much consideration is placed on the applicant’s financial status.

University of Nebrija

Nebrija University is a private university situated in Madrid, Spain. It is named after Antonio de Nebrija, who is considered the most influential humanist of his time.

For second-year students enrolled in Honors classes, the University offers a First Class Honors Scholarship. This covers 100% of the annual tuition fee and is subject to renewal every year, enabling international students to study in Spain for free. Application requirements include an accomplished application form, academic record, and report card.

IE University

IE University is a private educational institution with campuses in Madrid, Segovia, and Castile & Leon. Founded in 1997, it offers courses in both the Spanish and English languages.

IE University stands out as one of the institutions that offer several scholarship programs to foreign undergraduate students. The list includes:

  • IE-Parents Young Talented Leaders Scholarship program, which is open to academically-excellent students. This covers tuition, living costs, and other educational expenses.
  • IE Academic Achievement Award, which is also given to high-achieving applicants. Again, it covers 100% of the tuition fees.
  • IE-United World Colleges Scholarship, which is for two students who have exceptional academic performances.

Universidad Europea del Atlántico

The European University of the Atlantic is a private institution based in Santander, Cantabria. Opened in 2014, this small school offers eight university degrees.

It also offers a variety of scholarship programs, including the Merit and Academic Excellence Scholarships. This is open to all students who have excellent academic records, which is one of the requirements for application. Getting these merit scholarships will make international students study in Spain for free since it covers 100% of the tuition amount and may be subject to automated renewal until the student completes his/her program.

There is also the Collaboration Scholarship program, which has 20 slots exclusive to BS Computer Engineering students. A full tuition waiver is offered every year, with renewal subject to the student’s performance.

To apply, the student must submit an accomplished application form, a photocopy of a valid passport, and a copy of his/her academic records.

Universidad Loyola

Loyola University is a Jesuit institution with campuses in Seville and Cordoba.

It offers the Award for Academic Excellence, which automatically gives one grant for every 12 qualified students. New applicants who have obtained a 9/10 mark in the Selectiva are eligible to get this award. This grant covers the tuition for 60 ECTS (single degree) and 75 ECTS (dual degree).

Tuition-free Options for Master’s Studies in Spain

At these universities, you can finish your Master’s degree in Spain free of charge.

University of Deusto

The University of Deusto is a renowned educational institution with campuses in San Sebastian and Bilbao. Founded in 1886 by the Society of Jesuits, it is the oldest private university in Spain.

The University of Deusto offers several postgraduate scholarships. To apply, the student must submit his/her undergraduate student record, curriculum vitae, and a cover letter with motivation.

IE University

While there are many scholarship programs granted by IE University, only a few of them cover the full tuition amount. One such grant is the IE scholarship, which is open to all candidates regardless of degree. International students can study for their Master’s for free by getting these IE scholarships. This is given to students who demonstrate financial need but have proven capacity through their school exams and performance. Depending on your profile, you may stand to receive a full waiver for your tuition.

Another offer available is the IE-Forte MBA Scholarship, which is open to all students enrolled in MBA programs. The applicant, who must showcase leadership skills and a commitment to supporting women in his/her community, may receive as much as 25,000 Euros in tuition reimbursement.

There’s also the IE-Kistefos Young Talented Leaders Scholarship Program. The Africa program has six slots open to Liberian, Ethiopian, and South African students. It also has a Norwegian program that has five slots available. Applicants from both groups should be studying Management, Business Analytics, International Relations, or International Development to qualify. This covers tuition and lodging.

A full scholarship is also available for LL.M. students under the IE-Jose Maria Cervello Scholarship program.

Tuition-free Options for Ph.D. Studies in Spain

Finish your Ph.D. in Spain for free by enrolling in these institutions:

University of Deusto

The University of Deusto also offers a handful of doctorate grants, one of which is the INPhINIT Retaining Ph.D. scholarship. Open to all doctorate students who wish to carry out studies in either Spain or Portugal, it covers a maximum duration of 3 years. This bursary is granted to 30 successful applicants.

Another way to study in Spain for free is the Research Training Grants Program, which is offered to 13 pre-doctoral students. Acceptance is leaned towards students who have a thesis with international mention/co-tutelle agreements and those with a collaborative partnership agreement.

FAQs: Studying in Spain as an International Student

Are Universities in Spain Free for International Students?

The direct answer is no. Universities in Spain have made arrangements for their local students to receive free tuition fees, but international students must have to pay for their school expenses.

However, here’s the good news: Spanish universities are more affordable, and offer a lot of scholarships to international students. In the article below, we covered some scholarships offered by Spanish universities. Make sure to read more!


We hope that this article on how to study in Spain for free was helpful. Make sure to also check out the Available Programs in Europe!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.

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  1. Muhammad Bilal June 25, 2023 7:14 am - Reply

    My wish is to study in Spain. Please sponsor me. Thank you very much.

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