These Countries Offer Free College Education
While the amount of student debt in the United States rises to over 1.5 trillion dollars, several countries offer their citizens (and in some cases, foreigners) free college tuition. Those countries are:
Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Kenya, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Morocco, Norway, Panama, Poland, Scotland, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Uruguay
Free tuition has been a hot debate in the United States for many years, with attention to the issue growing as the student loan debt crisis has worsened. Those that support the idea of providing free education to Americans believe that this policy will help lessen the severity of student loan debt. They also point to the fact that after the GI Bill was passed (the policy that allows veterans to attend college for free), nearly half of all college students in 1947 were veterans. This includes over a million highly-skilled workers such as doctors, engineers, accountants, three Supreme Court Justices, and three presidents. An estimated 40% of these veterans would not have been able to attend college if they did not have the funding of the GI Bill to support them.
There are US states that currently offer their residents free tuition for college. These include Oregon, Nevada, Arkansas, New Jersey, Maryland, Tennessee, New York, Rhode Island, Delaware, Kentucky, and Indiana. Most of these states provide “last dollar” programs – meaning that they will cover the remaining tuition balance after other means of financial aid and grants are exhausted. These programs also typically cover tuition costs for 2-year and vocational schooling. New York’s tuition program is unique in that it is the first to cover tuition for 4-year institutions like the City University of New York and the State University of New York without being tied to students’ academic performance.
There are some that question the viability of a national tuition-free program. For one, these tuition-free programs do not cover all the costs of higher education. For the majority of the existing programs, students are still required to pay for room and board and textbooks. The federal or state funding of education also implies an increase in taxes for our citizens.
While some may believe that higher education is a cause worthy of higher taxes, others don’t feel it is fair to have to pay to cover someone else’s tuition. Those opposed to this policy also worry that funds will be taken away from other government responsibilities, such as infrastructure and military funding. They also argue that by funding higher education, we are decreasing the worth of diplomas and giving students that would not succeed in college the opportunity to use funds to enroll just to drop out without a degree.