List of Tuition Free Online Universities for International Students

If you’re looking to study abroad, you don’t have to break the bank to get a quality education. There are tuition free online universities for international students that you can enroll in and get quality education as well as a reputable qualification.

International students pay higher tuition than domestic students (citizens) and this is the norm in nearly every country. There are just a few countries where the tuition for international and domestic students is the same. The cost of studying abroad is so high and this is a huge challenge for those who wish to study abroad as not many of them can afford it.

Of course, there are scholarships for international students but they are highly competitive and selective. Therefore, this leaves you with one option, applying for tuition free online universities for international students, and yes, such universities exist. Although there are just about a handful of them but they exist and this could be your chance to receive an international education from the comfort of your home. Keep reading to find out how it can be possible.

So, you know how there are online courses offered by universities from different parts of the world via online learning platforms? Well, there are about a handful of universities that operate fully online for free, offering bachelor’s degrees, diplomas, and certifications but without any tuition fees.

As an international student or a prospective one who cannot afford the cost of studying abroad, you can take advantage of these tuition free online universities and still study abroad but from the comfort of your home. You don’t even have to spend money on flights to study at the tuition free online universities for international students. All you just need is a laptop or tablet, then enroll in the tuition free online university to study your preferred course.

You may have to pay for an application fee but there is no tuition fee for the courses. And, just to clear your doubts, these tuition free online universities for international students are accredited by the right accreditation bodies, and the qualifications they offer, which will be in the school’s name, are widely recognized and accepted by employers from anywhere in the world.

Thanks to the rapid advancement of technology, today students are increasingly turning to online learning as a viable alternative to on-campus study. It could allow you to study abroad remotely, at a university not in your home country. Advances in technology now allow students to study entirely online while still socializing with classmates, watching lectures, and participating in subject-specific discussions.

While some consider online learning to require a greater degree of self-motivation, institutions recognize that educational support is just as important as tutor feedback, and take great care to ensure that their students receive the same levels of support that they would receive on campus.

However, if you do want to get the experience of studying abroad on a campus and not online. Like, If you want to be in physical closeness with your professors, other students, and the country then you should consider applying for scholarships to cover the cost of your education. We have guides on Christian scholarships for international students and full-tuition scholarships for international students in the UK that you can look into so as to make better-informed decisions.

Is There Any Tuition Free Online University for International Students?

Yes, there are tuition free online universities for international students that are well known. These universities are The University of People and Open University.

Can I get a Degree for Free?

You can complete a 2-year associate’s degree, 4-year Bachelor’s degree, or an MBA, all online for free at one of the free online universities.

A wide range of colleges and universities offer many of their courses online for free as MOOCs (massive open online courses), and there are many additional free or budget online courses and communities from other sources as well. However, these MOOCs may only offer you certificates in that particular skill you have learned and not a degree. Online degree programs at the majority of top colleges and universities are not free.

But there are a number of ways to reduce the cost of your education to close to nothing which is an amazing reduction in the cost of formal education such as winning financial aid (scholarships & grants) given the current cost of higher education.

Below, I carefully listed out every needed detail regarding the best tuition free online universities for international students featuring all the programs they offer, their admission requirements, and how you can enroll in them.

Is An Online Degree Taken Seriously?

Yes, online degrees are taken seriously. A degree gotten online and one gotten through traditional learning are no different. Also, given the amount of motivation and self-discipline it takes to complete an online degree, there is no way it can’t be taken seriously. Yes, there is absolutely a level of personal responsibility that comes with this type of learning.

Even though there is no classroom, whiteboard, or lecturer/professor physically present, there is plenty of interaction happening within the virtual walls of online learning environments.

With chat rooms, forums, and 1 on 1 instructor feedback, as well as phone, text, email, and office appointments (depending on your location and the program you choose), it may be enough for one to say that many online degree students feel infinitely more connected online than they do in the regular classroom.

Tuition Free Online Universities for International Students

Listed below are the best tuition-free online universities for international students worldwide. Domestic students are also eligible to take part in these universities.

  • Open University, UK
  • University of the People, USA
  • IICSE University
  • American University of Kinshasa (AUK)

1. Open University, UK

The Open University (OU) is one of the tuition-free online universities for international students. It is an online accredited public research university with a physical location in the United Kingdom. It is the largest online university in the UK for undergraduate and graduate education established in 1969.

The Open University is also the world’s leading distance-learning institution. OU studies take place online, enabling you to study whenever and wherever you wish.

The Open University awards degrees and other qualifications through distance learning. The Open University offers a wide range of courses at various levels – from certificates and diplomas to undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. Commonly, students apply to study with Open University for an undergraduate or postgraduate degree.

The OU won the Teaching Excellence and Digital Innovation categories in The Guardian University Awards 2018.

Open University Online Degrees & Programs

The Open University will award you the following types of degrees and certificates

  • Honours degree
  • Integrated master’s degrees
  • Diplomas of Higher Education
  • Open University certificates

Open University Duration of Study

In The Open University learning is designed to be flexible and you will be able to fit your studies around existing commitments, such as family and work.

This is why it can take a while to complete a course of study with The Open University. In other to give you an idea of how long it might take you to complete your studies at The Open University, the data below will guide you.

The tables assume that you’ll study for approximately 18 hours weekly for a part-time course, and 36 hours weekly for a full-time course. Interestingly, you can vary the amount of time spent studying from year to year, or even take a break for a while, if you wish.

Note that these tables are estimates. This also means that, in most cases, you can vary the number of study credits taken per year and thus the time taken to complete the course.

Undergraduate Programs at the Open University

Qualification: Certificate of Higher Education
Credits required: 120
Time required to complete: 2 years of part-time study or 1 year of full-time study

Qualification: Diploma of Higher Education
Credits required: 240
Time required to complete: 4 years of part-time study or 2 years of full-time study

Qualification: Degree with honors
Credits required: 360
Time required to complete: 6 years of part-time study or 3–4 years of full-time study

Postgraduate Programs at the Open University

Qualification: Postgraduate certificate
Credits required: 60
Time required to complete: 1 year of part-time study or 6 months of full-time study

Qualification: Postgraduate diploma
Credits required: 120
Time required to complete:  2 years of part-time study or 1 year of full-time study

Qualification: Master’s degree
Credits required: 180
Time required to complete: 3–4 years of part-time study or 2– 3 years of full-time study

The Open University Assignments and Exams

Assignment: An assignment is a piece of written work, based on your course material, lectures, seminars, and small-group tutorials. Assignments are the main way for you to consolidate your knowledge and express what you have learned. Once written, you’ll submit your assignments through an easy-to-use online system. The vast majority of your assignments will be marked by your tutor.

These are called ‘tutor-marked assignments. Some may be marked automatically by a computer, but currently, this is done for very few courses. Certain courses include other types of written assessments, such as project work or dissertations – and language courses feature oral assessments.

Exams: As well as submitting assignments throughout your modules, exams will be part of the assessment process.

At exam time, if your course requires you to sit a written exam then you’ll usually do this at an established Open University examination center in your country.

If your country doesn’t have an OU-established center, then you may need to apply to sit your examination at a center that’s local to you (typically a nearby university or British Council office). In such cases, an additional fee is payable to cover the cost of arranging this. The fees are usually between £200 and £300.

Requirements to Study at Open University, UK

Practical Requirements
  • A computer and reliable broadband internet access – they’re an essential part of your study programs.
  • A good grasp of the English language – OU modules are taught in English so you must be competent in the English language to study at the higher education level.
Academic Requirements for Undergraduate

For most Open University undergraduate degrees, no formal qualifications are required, and no entrance test is required to study with OU.

Academic Requirements for Postgraduate Degrees

For postgraduate degrees, an undergraduate degree equivalent to the relevant UK qualification is required. Each course page shows details of the specific entry requirements for that course.

Financial requirements

You’ll need the financial means to pay your course fees, which can be paid in advance or as you study.

An Open University qualification comprises a series of modules. You won’t pay for a whole qualification in advance. Rather, you’ll pay a fee for each module. You can pay for a module in advance, or pay while you study.

Open University fees cover:

  • Study materials
  • Other services

As one of the most popular tuition free online universities for international students, all you need is a computer or laptop and a broadband internet connection, and OU will provide the rest. As well as course materials, you’ll have access to online resources including The Open University library, as well as podcasts, videos, and downloads relevant to your course. For fees for all online courses click here.

For most Open University modules, you’ll be expected to spend at least a few sessions a week working on computer-based activities, for example. Make sure you can commit the time and dedication that will be required to your chosen course of study.

Open University Admissions and Applications


For most undergraduate degrees, there are no formal qualifications or an entry test to pass.

For postgraduate degrees, you will be required to hold a degree equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree.


Once you’ve decided on a course, then you’re ready to register with The Open University quick and easy application process. Apply now

The Open University will provide you with a degree that will be recognized and respected everywhere – and an inspiring, challenging, rewarding experience you will not find in any other online university.

2. University Of People

If you are looking for a free online or distance-learning university, here is The University of the People. It is the world’s first non-profit tuition-free private, distance learning university with its office in Pasadena, California. It was founded by entrepreneur Shai Reshef in 2009.

University of People is the most popular tuition-free online university for international students with a presence in several countries of the world.

This university has no offline campus yet this is because of its online distance learning nature, but it uses a shared office in California as an office of admission.

Rated as the best tuition free online university for international students worldwide, the university has been fully accredited to run full degree programs by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC), which is recognized by the United States Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

University of People Online Programs features

The University of People offers Online bachelor’s, Graduate, and Associate degree programs.

The University of People Undergraduate Programs

  • Computer Science.
  • Health Science
  • Business Administration

University of People Graduate Programs

  • Master in Business Administration (MBA)
  • Master in Education (ME. d)

University of People Admission and Application

To meet the admission requirement for undergraduates, the applicant must;

  • Be 16 years old or later
  • Be able to demonstrate high school of completion.
  • Must be proficient in English.
  • Must have access to a computer and Internet service.

To apply for admission consideration to The University of the People, you must complete the online application.

All applicants must also complete the online foundation form before being admitted. See the application timeline.

Programs Duration

Undergraduate programs can take up to 5 years of study.

A Master’s Degree is typically completed in two years after the completion of around twenty courses. Highly specialized, a Master’s Degree offers a deep focus in a given field of study in order to prepare students for exciting, dynamic careers in leadership roles and as entrepreneurs.


At the University of the People which has been globally recognized as one of the most prominent tuition free online universities for international students, tuition fees are totally free, but students must pay some administrative fees to cover course assessments. These include;

  1. Processing fees for applications ($60)
  2. Final exam assessments fee ($100 for undergraduates, and $200 for postgraduates)

For more about fees click here.

However, students who cannot afford the administrative costs may be eligible for scholarships. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the University of the People offers scholarships for refugees.

3. IICSE University

IICSE University is a new tuition-free online university committed to raising a new generation of leaders and a world-class online-based distance learning institution. Students from anywhere in the world with a PC, smartphone, or tablet and a stable internet connection can study their preferred degree program with IICSE University and complete their degrees at their own pace and schedule.

Tuition and lecture materials are 100% free at IICSE University, however, students are charged a one-time application fee of $45 and an exam fee of $50 per exam to remain sustainable and cover the cost of processing the examination.

IICSE University Academics

IICE University is organized across eight (8) faculties that offer a wide range of academic degree programs. Depending on the program you wish to study, you will apply to the faculty within your field. The faculties at IICSE University are:

  • Arts and Humanities
  • Economics & Management Sciences
  • Education
  • Management
  • International Law
  • Mass Communication
  • Nursing & Health Sciences
  • Sciences and Engineering
  • Graduate Business School

Through these faculties, IICSE University offers certificate programs, diploma/PGD programs, bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, Ph.D./EdB/DBA Doctoral degrees, and postdoctoral fellowships (Postdoc).

To apply for admission at IICSE University, you must meet the age, academic, experience, and qualification requirements.


These schools are the best tuition-free online universities for all students in the world and you can apply to get free tuition online education, degrees, and certificates. They offer some of the best online master’s and bachelor’s degrees for graduate and undergraduate students respectively.

The Open University (the largest of its kind) offers numerous degree and certificate programs that suit your choice.

The University of People online learning tuition fee is exceptionally free. IICSE University is also another great choice to study online for free and earn a reputable degree whether at the undergraduate or graduate level. You certainly would want to choose these universities for your online study.

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