Is it true that you don’t pay tuition fees for higher education courses in Poland? Yes and no. While full-time studies at public universities are generally free of charge for Polish citizens, they are not always free for international students. Read on to find out if you are eligible for free university tuition in Poland!
As a general rule, all non-Polish students are charged tuition fees for their degree courses in Poland. However, some foreign nationals are eligible to begin a programme of study on the same terms as Polish nationals (i.e. tuition-free). Full-time degree programmes at public universities are free of charge for:
- Holders of a valid Pole’s Card (Karta Polaka)
- Citizens of the European Union, European Economic Area, Switzerland and their family members who live in Poland
- Holders of a permanent residence permit or a long-term EU-residence permit
- Holders of a state certificate in Polish as a foreign language (C1 level or above)
- Holders of a temporary residence permit issued for the purpose of family reunification
- People granted refugee status in Poland
- People granted temporary protection or subsidiary protection in Poland
- Relatives of a Polish citizen: their spouse, children or parents who live in Poland
Holders of a Pole’s Card and citizens of the EU/EEA or Switzerland may choose whether to enrol at a university on the same terms as Polish nationals or as foreigners. Those who choose the latter option are of course required to pay tuition fees, but they do not compete for university places with Polish nationals.
Note that a lot of Polish public universities also offer some tuition-based degree programmes, all students admitted to those programmes, including Polish nationals, are required to pay for any courses they take.
If you do not fall into any of the categories listed above, you may not be exempt from tuition fees. However, it is worth noting that costs of studying at Polish public universities are usually significantly lower than in Western European countries and depending on the programme and the institution.
Remember that you may also be eligible for scholarships awarded to foreign students on the basis of bilateral agreements or participate in programmes addressed to students who learn Polish abroad and want to pursue their higher education in Poland.