Countries With Free College Education

Countries With Free College Education

With the rising cost of education, especially in the United States, some parents are opting to send their college bound students out of the country to get their academic credentials at universities where the tuition is free.

It was surprising to some that there were countries with free college education for all, but this has been the norm in many European countries for years. Actually, the United States, at one time, passed back in 1862 what was called The Morrill Act. This enabled Americans from every rung on the social ladder to attend cost-free college. And it is equally surprising that there are some that believe that college should not be free.

But what are the pros and cons of free education. This is a hot topic and we need to find a balance in the answers besides yes or no.

Why College Should Not Be Free

Students that were asked what was the downside of free college said that although classes and books were free, there was still a big need for living expenses, which often left students with big debt. They report that students that were rich and lived at home got a big cash incentive to go to their schools but the poorer students had to rely on loans that made it possible for them to move close to the schools they attended, afford food, and transportation.

The American standard, where poorer students are helped by richer families and get to go to school based on their income, has helped American universities fair well and remain progressive. Many students that report receiving scholarships for good grades, also report that they were denied much needed loan funding because their books and classes were already paid for.

However, poor students needed loans to pay for the cost of living to attend school. So, they ended up either dropping out, or not applying for scholarships they may win due to their high achievement.

General Facts in United States

Back when The Morrill Act was in place students didn’t have to worry about tuition or leaving the U.S. to go to countries with free college. However, back then few students coming out of high school went to college. That has changed heavily over the years. With the increase of students going to college and many of them trying to find ways to get free education, where are the countries with free college? And why should college not be free when there are so many students that cannot afford to go?

Let us look at some of the facts:

  • 2015: Student loan debt over $1.3 trillion reaching an all-time high in less than 4 years from before.
  • 2012—2013: 10 million students take out student loans; up 66% from previous decade
  • Pell Grant less than it was in 1973, when it covered almost 75 percent of college education. Fast forward to 2013—15 it only covers 30 percent at 4-year universities and 60% at Community Colleges
  • Earning power of students with bachelor’s degree up to 60% higher in 2013 than student with high school only

With these facts at our disposal, let’s try to answer the question of why shouldn’t college be free for everyone? It is plain to see that the increase in attending college would be costly for Universities, shouldn’t there be some financial payments to keep them going?

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Free College Tuition

With free tuition status, there would definitely be an increase in the waiting times to get into schools. In addition to that let’s look as some more opposing but thought provoking views.

  • Although there would be an increase in attendance, there would be a decrease in in desired programs across the board.
  • Public schools will become less worried about competing with costs and may begin spending more than their budgets can afford.
  • When we don’t have to pay for something many of us tend to take it for granted. This could happen to college students who don’t have the worry of debt over their heads.
  • The lessons learned through having to be financially frugal will not be taught, and dependency on the government programs for free education will increase.
  • The value of certain degrees would decrease leading to unemployment due to too many in the most valued fields.

These are just a few of the projected outcomes that could occur if college education were free. Getting back to our original insight, where do you send your young adults if you are looking for free college. If they are going to get a free college education in Europe what are the best locations?

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What Countries Have Free College Education

Throughout the United States all students can get a free public education but for higher education the cost can get really high, so many are looking to overseas schools as an alternative. Here is a partial listing of the colleges and universities around the world that offer free college education, low-cost education, or free online college tuitions.

  • Norway—There are over 5 universities, and over 20 state universities to gain free education in Norway. When researching which countries have free tertiary education, we found that students flock here every year for the high quality of the education received. Taxpayers in Norway fund education for native as well as foreign students.
  • Sweden—As of 2010 there are no free-tuition universities in Sweden but there are full scholarship opportunities available.
  • Germany—Although there are fees associated with a college education in Germany, only 4 out of the 16 schools there charge. The fees are so low cost they are attracting students from all over the world. Of the countries that offer free education Germany ranked number three in ease of entry into their programs.
  • Finland—Students will have to cover their own living expenses, but there is no tuition for those wanting to study in Finland. There are however, fees for non-EU/EEA students. Follow the guideline closely if choosing this country for your higher college education needs
  • France—Comparing the price of an undergraduate year in the United States and one in France, we were surprised to find that although they have fees in France for attending it was only $195 US dollars. That in many cases is a free education compared to U.S. standards.

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For the growing online college population, we found some free alternatives to brick and mortar schools.

  • University of the People—Attended by millions of people from over 194 countries, UoP is dedicated to bringing high quality free college graduate and undergraduate programs in an online based community.
  • Alice Lloyd College—Free tuition to Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, Ohio and West Virginia residents. There are requirements such as being qualified for the work study program at the school, and in the local community. Not a bad tradeoff for free college tuition. Alice Lloyd is dedicated to giving the mountain kids in their area an education that is debt free.
  • edEx—At edEx you can be connected to hundreds of online courses and the schools that provide free access to them. Some of the schools that have collaborated to bring the information to this site are:
  1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  2. Harvard University
  3. Berkeley UC        
  4. The University of Texas System
  5. The University of Queensland, Australia, and more

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Further research into the guidelines of European countries with free college education showed that many of them require students to write pre-entry essays. You should be well-prepared to write a perfect application essay. Good luck, and bon voyage!