Belgium may be a small country, but it’s packed with many educational offers for local and international students alike. Many of its universities are top-ranked, with some offering English-taught courses.
It’s one of the more affordable European countries to live in too, compared to Switzerland, Iceland, and Norway. As such, if you want to study for free, then Belgium should be one of your top considerations.
How to Study in Belgium for Free
1. Get Good Grades and Letters of Recommendation
It’s important to file your application early as there are many documents to complete, which include certifications that may need to be evaluated in your home country. You may also have to submit your qualifications and a letter detailing your interest in studying in Belgium.
In Belgium, enrollments close by April. Because of this, international students are advised to send their applications by February or March since the processing can take several weeks.
Should you decide to enroll in a quota course, you will need to undergo an entrance exam or interview as well.
2. Apply for Scholarships from universities in Belgium
Many Belgian universities offer scholarships to international students, and international students are able to study in Belgium for free by getting these scholarships. Such bursaries are usually funded by organizations such as the European Research Council, the Marie Curie Foundation, and Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie, to name a few.
3. Apply to affordable universities in Belgium
Belgium is a cheap place to study in, as its international student tuition only cost about $4,900 a year. However, you may even pay a lower price by applying to affordable universities. A good example is the University of Namur, which will only cost you about $1,020 annually.
Study Undergraduate Programs in Belgium for Free
Get free undergraduate education in Belgium through these scholarship programs:
Erasmus Brussels University of Applied Sciences and Arts
Founded in 1995, the Erasmushogeschool Brussel specializes in Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in the Arts. At the same time, it also offers programs in the fields of Journalism, Office Management, Nursing, Music, Social Work, Drama, and Urban Architecture.
Select international students may be entitled to a Flemish Government scholarship and study in Belgium for free. While this is usually given to Belgian nationals, non-EU/EEA students may qualify as well. The grant is valid for one year, with the amount depending on family income, accommodations, and study history, to name a few.
Thomas More University of Applied Sciences
Based in Flanders, Thomas More is the largest university of applied science in Belgium.
Undergraduate students at Thomas More University may avail of the school’s non-monetary scholarship programs. Options include a merit-based scholarship or tuition fee waivers.
These grants are open to non-EEA citizens studying an English-taught Bachelor’s degree. A student visa and a study efficiency of 50% is required as well. The scholarship may be renewed granted that the required grades are maintained every year.
Hogeschool Gent (HOGENT)
Hogeschool Gent, or the University College of Ghent, is the largest of its kind in Flanders. It is home to 13,000 students, who are enrolled in its 3 faculties and 1 art school.
At HOGENT, student scholars will only need to pay a minimal amount of 110 Euros for his/her program. This is open to students from all programs, including a Bachelor’s in Business, Chemistry, Drama, Fashion Technology, Interior Design, Music, or Nursing.
Haute Ecole en Hainaut
Haute Ecole en Hainaut is a higher education institution with four branches in Mons, Belgium. It mostly offers undergraduate programs, though it offers some Master’s degrees as well.
The school, whose Bachelors courses are organized by the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, offer courses in the fields of Law, Education, Engineering, and Social Work, to name a few.
The school offers scholarships for its many long-term programs. Apart from waiving the full tuition cost, it also covers administrative and photocopying costs, which allows students to study for free in Belgium.
Conservatoire Royal de Bruxelle
The Royal Conservatory of Brussels was founded in the year 1813 as a Singing School. Now, it offers university-level programs in the field of performance arts.
The conservatory offers a Bachelor’s degree in Music or Theater, programs that qualify for the school’s scholarship grants. One type is the allocation d’études, which is a financial aid grant given to students who demonstrate economic need. The Wernaers scholarship is also available to undergraduate students suffering from financial difficulties.
Colloquially known as VeCo, the private university is operated in Brussels in coordination with the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Founded in 1987, it offers 3-year Bachelor programs as per the Bologna process.
The Vesalius College offers Academic Excellence Scholarships to eligible undergraduate students. This is given to students with meritorious achievements, as evidenced by excellent grades, good TOEFL scores, and letters of recommendation. Renewable for a 3-year duration, the scholarship can be maintained with a good GPA.
Study Master’s in Belgium for Free
At these Belgian universities, you can complete your Master’s course free of charge in Belgium.
Hasselt University is a public educational institution with branches in Diepenbeek and Hasselt. Established in the year 1971, it is lauded as one of the best universities under 50 years old by Times Higher Education.
Masteral students at Hasselt University may apply for the Master Mind Scholarship, with 5 slots for Americans, 2 slots for Palestinians, 3 slots for Mexicans, and 3 slots for Japanese students. The grant, which considers academic performance, expects its applicants to possess the following requirements:
- GPA of at least 3.5
- Proof of English proficiency
- Completed application form
Ghent University offers 6 slots for the Master Mind Scholarship, which is funded by the Flanders Government. It includes a maximum scholarship amount of 8,000 Euros per year, which is enough to cover the cost of annual tuition. If international students get this scholarship, they will study in Belgium for free. No application is needed for this grant, as the Master’s program coordinator will be the one to submit a list of potential candidates to the scholarship-giving body.
The university also has a VLIR-UOS scholarship for students who wish to take a Master’s degree in Aquaculture, Food Technology, or Rural Development.
Indonesian students may also study for free via the Lembaga Pengelola Dana Pendidikan scholarship program.
University of Antwerp
The University of Antwerp offers various scholarship programs for Master students.
Students from 33 developing countries may apply for the VLIR-UOS scholarship, which shoulders the full amount of the program. It also includes an allowance of 1,400 Euros and airfare.
An OPEC Fund Scholarship Award is also available to select international students. This includes the full cost of tuition, as well as airfare, health insurance, monthly allowance, and a relocation grant.
College of Europe
At the College of Europe, Masters students may apply for any of these scholarship programs:
- Geremek Scholarship, which is open to students who want to take up Art History, Geography, Philosophy, Sociology, Modern Language, or Literature.
- Flemish Government Scholarship, which is granted to MA students based in either the Bruges or Natolin campus.
- European Nation Policy Scholarship, which is given to post-graduate students from countries such as Algeria, Armenia, Egypt, Georgia, Belarus, Jordan, Libya, Lebanon, Moldova, and Palestine.
- Procter & Gamble Scholarship Lottery
- Bruges-Natolin UK European Scholarships Fund for British students
- China Scholarship Council for Chinese students
- Fulbright Grant for American students
Study Ph.D. in Belgium for Free
You can become a Ph.D. student for free in Belgium at any of these Belgian universities:
University of Antwerp
Maritime and Airport Transport Ph.D. students at the University of Antwerp may apply for the Belgian Development Agency grant. This is open to students coming from Algeria, Bolivia, Ecuador, Mali, Niger, Palestine, Mozambique, Rwanda, Senegal, or Peru.
American students, on the other hand, may take their doctoral program in Belgium for free via the Fulbright Commission Scholarship.
Institute of Tropical Medicine – Antwerp
At ITM Antwerp, 3 doctorate students may study in Belgium for free for 4 years through the DGD scholarship program. Open to citizens of certain countries, this bursary covers full tuition, insurance, and travel costs.
To apply, the student must submit his/her personal motivation and the context of his/her employment.
I hope that this article on how to study in Belgium for free was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Europe Scholarships Page!