Cost of education has been a major criterion when it comes to the choice of higher education. Virtually every family accept that consideration is placed on the cost of university education when taking a decision on where to study for the children. However true this factor is, it should not have an effect on where you earn your degree.
There are countries that put special consideration on their citizens; therefore, they made university education free for them in order not to have any excuse for not attaining their educational goals. These countries may not be the richest, however, the progress and education of their citizens are of utmost importance to them. They understand that education is the key to success and the progress of every country rests on the shoulders of the educated members of that country.
These countries have different study options available to their citizens, and even foreign students. These study options include: to attend tuition-free university, to attend online university programmes and also to study abroad. As a result, the cost of attending a university should not be a hindering factor to your educational goals.
It is also necessary to note that some of the countries that offer education at no costs to their citizens tend to draw back in some of their programmes, particularly those with limited majors or high costs of living. Also, countries with free university education pay for the cost of education using the taxpayer’s money. They impose higher income taxes on their citizens which helps them to generate fund enough for the education of their citizens. A greater chunk of the national budget is allocated to the educational sector.
What Free Education Entails
Free education means that the cost of attending college or university is made available to students. They may have to pay for a few things in some cases, but in other cases, everything is made free for all. Most times, free education entails that the tuition fee is compulsorily made free. That means, even if you are to pay for other stuff, you are exempted from paying the tuition fee. This could take place online or within the university campus.
When the government funds the costs of education for its citizens, it means that the citizens can attend school for free. Such universities are usually public universities or government-owned universities. Private universities are owned by individuals, therefore, may not be free, except the owners decide to make it free or offer scholarships on special cases.
Some EU governments offer free education for their citizens. When the clause is “Free for EU students”, it means that university education is free for EU students only.
Benefits of free University Education
Education should be made free for all, if possible, as there are more benefits from it than from compulsorily imposing fees on students. The following are the benefits that are gained from offering free education to individual students or citizens.
- Students from a poor background who wish to pursue a university education are offered the chance to see their dream come to pass. Some students actually drop out of school because they could not afford to sponsor themselves through education. This will be eliminated if education is made free for all.
- With free education comes the freedom to choose a course of your choice. Some students study a particular course because that is what their money could afford them. Some would have chosen major courses and pursue their passion had it been they could be affordable or totally made free.
- More people would go to school if education is free. This could be seen in most countries that made the cost of education free for all. Most of their citizens are well-educated and the work-force and population made of critical thinking individuals would have the government to be grateful to.
- Students will no longer be burdened with student debt. Without the burden of student loan, more students would have invested their money into something lucrative and could contribute towards the economic growth of their country.
- Personal development skills are acquired when students are given the opportunity to go through assignments, interactions, and other means of tasking their brains. This helps them to end up with skills that will make them outstanding for their career development.
- Education contributes to economic growth. With education comes employability of citizens. There will be an increase in productivity and average income, while unemployment level decreases. This is very possible if more people are allowed to go to school at the expense of the government.
Countries with Free Tuition for the Citizens
Germany offers free education to its citizens as well as international students at its public universities. Though of late, charges are placed for undergraduate study programmes. 4 out of 16 federal universities in Germany charge low tuition fees (not more than 500 euros) to students. The University of Munich and the University of Bonn offer totally tuition-free education. Others federal universities only require a charge of about 50 euros, while tuition fees remain free. The charges cover for transportation, university facilities and other charges.
Brazil offers tuition-free university education to citizens and nationals of other countries. The standard of living in Brazil is relatively cheap and makes it easier for one to enjoy his or her education in the country.
Denmark made university education free for its citizens and this is the reason for the high literacy of the citizens. It is also a conducive place to study for international students who wish to study for free abroad. Furthermore, all citizens of Denmark are offered tuition aids or scholarships.
Finland is an EU country and offers tuition-free education to all EU students, including its citizens. Non-EU members do not enjoy these benefits as there is an annual fee charged to them. However, they can apply to study Finnish and Swedish studies for free. In addition, there is no provision for living expenses of students; they will have to personally cover for that.
Students from Sweden enjoy the same benefits as students from Finland. Sweden, in addition, is very conducive for students who are studying research-based courses. The following are top tuition free universities in Sweden:
- Uppsala University
- Jonkoping University
- Halmstad University
- Lund University
- Stockholm University
- Stockholm School of Economics
Sweden was one of the few European countries with tuition-free universities. Taxpayers’ monies are used to fund for the bill of students, both international and EU students. This was to be until in 2010 when a law was passed by the Swedish parliament and Non-EU/EEA students were required to pay tuition and application fees. However, there are quite a number of scholarships offered to international students who wish to study in Sweden.
Education in Greece is free for EEU nationals (with an exception of few programmes). International students who wish to study in Greece are charged very minimal tuition fees compared to other countries like UK, US, Canada, and so on). With a considerable low cost of living, Greece is a fantastic place to study.
Austria is another country where citizens can study for free. EU/EEA students also enjoy this benefit. At any degree level of your choice, you can study for free. Students who enrol for bachelor’s or master’s degree studies are required to pay a cost of €20 for the Australian Student Union. However, the cost of living in the country is too high which could be of utmost concern for citizens who wish to study in their homeland.
- Czech Republic
Czech Republic made education for free for anyone who can speak Czech. Cost of living in Czech is also quite affordable which is an added advantage for students.
Norway offers both free undergraduate and postgraduate studies in their public universities. This is also regardless of the student’s country of origin. Free universities include the University of Stavanger, UIT, University of Agder, Arctic University of Norway, as well as the University College of the Southeast. Most of the students apply for courses in business administration, journalism, social sciences, humanities, information and law. Furthermore, all students are mandated to pay a semester fee that ranges between €30 to €60. The fee covers for the health care, transportation, cultural events and other activities that the students engage in.
France, some years ago only allowed for students with the ability to speak French to enrol for university education. Today, some courses are taught in English and have attracted students from all over the world to the country on a yearly basis. Most public universities in France do not charge any tuition fee, except for the compulsory registration fee. EU/EEA students also enjoy tuition-free education, while international students are allowed to pay a modest and affordable fee in France.
Free education allows for low-income earners of a country to have their children attend university education like their richer counterparts. This also offers the freedom to the students to pursue fields they are interested in. Most importantly, as an aspiring student, ensure you have what it takes to have access to free education. No government will want to waste its resources on an unserious student. Therefore, you must be academically sound and serious about your studies. Free university education will pave the way for aspiring students to attain higher goals in life. The dream of everyone is to have a world where the students can attend higher education at no costs, though it may not be feasible since not all countries can afford it.