I am keen to send my son to study in Europe. What is the most affordable option?

It may come as a pleasant surprise to you that in this day of astronomically high tuition fees there still are pockets where university education for international students is not only reasonable, but free.

This opportunity is available in Germany where undergraduate courses in public universities are free of cost and many Master’s programmes are also exempt from tuition fee.

In addition to achieving competitive grades at senior school, the only other criterion for an international student to obtain admission at a public university is proficiency in German.

At the Master’s level, the course will be free of cost provided the student graduated in the same subject from a German university. The free tuition does not in any way compromise the quality of education as Germany has 11 names in the top 200 universities worldwide. Surveys have confirmed that over 86 per cent of the students were happy with the quality of their programme. With 400 educational institutes offering tertiary level education there is something for everyone.

Your proficiency in the language can be examined either by the DSH test, which is available at various universities in the country, or by TestDaf, which is conducted at centres outside the country. Confirm with the university which test is acceptable. Irrespective of the academic stipulations and requirements, it is always advantageous to attain a level of proficiency in the home country language to assist with your social life.

Finally on completion of the final exams you are eligible to apply for a residence permit, which will provide you a window of 18 months to look for a job. All you need to do is provide documentation showing proof of funds to support your stay during this period.

The choice of applying between a German residence permit or a EU blue card depends entirely on your personal circumstances and preferences. Each one has its merits and it is best you discuss this with professional advisers. On finding a job, you would need to apply for a permanent residence permit, which will allow you stay and work in the country legally.

Sanjeev Verma is an international education counsellor.