In Poland full-time education at state institutions of higher education is free for Polish citizens. Non-state TEIs charge fees which vary with the prestige of the institution and the programme being taken.
However since almost 60% of students in Poland attend non-state TEIs or attend part-time, in practice many students do in fact pay fees.
The range of fees at private TEIs is 1600 to 8000 zloty per year. However some may charge considerably more.
Full-time state TEIs is also free for EU/EEA citizens who begin studies on the same terms as a Polish citizen. TEIs in Poland have implemented the ECTS (European Credit Transfer System), so EU students can transfer any existing credits and have their lower degrees recognized for entry into higher degrees.
Non- Polish/EU/EEA students pay tuition fees at state TEIs of at least:
Living costs in Poland are significantly lower than in most other EU countries. Total living costs for a student are estimated at around 17,000 zloty a year.
Most Universities have dormitory accommodation, but it can be hard to get a place. A shared dormitory room is around 400 zloty a month. Sharing an apartment may cost between 500 and 1,000 zloty.
Medical insurance through the state system is compulsory but only costs around 400 zloty a year for both Polish and foreign students. EU students can use the European Health Card. All types of students are also eligible for special fares for trains, buses and internal plane flights.
A loaf of bread is around 2 zloty and a kilo of cheese 20 zloty. A pint of beer is about 6 zloty and a meal in an inexpensive restaurant is around 20 zloty.
Besides free tuition there is a system of state grants for students from low-income households. Students are eligible for social benefit, the meal benefit and housing benefits. For housing benefits students must be full-time, but all other benefits are available to all students, including part-time students.
Disabled students are eligible for special grants. Almost all disabled students receive some kind of grant.
The average social grant is around 250 zloty a month, the average merit grant around 270 zloty and the average disability grant is around 300 zloty. Students may receive more than one benefit if they are eligible.
Poland participates in a variety of international and EU exchange programmes, as well as providing direct scholarships from the Polish government.
Scholarships for students from developing countries to complete a doctorate programme are available and are funded by the Polish government.
The CEEPUS programme is for the 16 countries of Central and Eastern Europe and provides for exchanges of up to 10 months for students of participating countries. The host country covers tuition and provides a living allowance based on local costs.
Foreign students of Polish origin can apply for scholarships to study in Poland. Students from Belarus who are subject to political repression can also apply for special scholarships.
The main EU umbrella is the Lifelong Learning Programme, which includes a wide variety of programmes aimed at fostering academic exchange within the EU. For example, ERASMUS is an internship programme giving students industrial and academic experience in another country within the EU and can be used to study in Poland.
There is a government-sponsored student loan scheme for Polish residents. Loans are 100% underwritten by the state since 2011, so are now more accessible to lower-income students. Interest rates are low since they are subsidized by the state. However there is a household income cap of 2,500 zloty per family member, so in practise many students are not eligible. The student must be under 26 years of age. The maximum loan is 600 zloty a month paid for 10 months of each year for up to six years.
Repayments begin two years after graduation and there is a 30% reduction if the student graduates in the top 5%.
Although student jobs are available rates of pay are low – around 12 zloty an hour. Foreign students will have difficulty working without a good command of Polish. Non-EU students may require a visa to work.