Costs of College from Five Countries Around the World

Photo by Owen Blacker, published on September 25, 2005, Some Rights Reserved, license link:, original link to work:

Over the past several years, the prospect of going to college in order to hold a stable job has increased. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the immediate college enrollment rate has grown from 51% in 1975 to 69% in 2015.  With more students attending college, and some striving to go to elite colleges or get a master’s degree, the shadows of loans have become a weight on many middle-class families and students.  


More recently, New York has become the first state in the United States to introduce a tuition-free scholarship program across all public colleges. Students and families making under 125,000 as an annual income are eligible to receive benefits from this program. While some have continued to oppose a free-tuition program, with its proponents of higher taxes and most of the money going to middle and upper class families, the idea has gained favorable support from many. This year, there are over 40 million individuals in student loan debt.


And while the arguments for and against a tuition-free America will always exist, the U.S. is often said to be “behind” in providing a tuition free education compared to countries around the world. Here’s a look at college tuitions around the world.


Finland: For several years, Finland has kept public universities tuition free. In 2017, however, this changed, as students planning on getting a baccalaureate or master’s degree in English will have to pay a tuition fee. The possibilities of paying virtually no tuition also varies if you are an international student, but if you have already started your degree studies, or if you are a part of an official foreign exchange program, you are exempted from paying tuition in most public universities of Finland. The cost of living expenses is also estimated to be 700 to 900 euros, as well as an annual student union fee ranging from 80-100 euros.

England: The average tuition fee in England is 9,000 euros  (or 9821.39 USD) annually. This tuition cost amounts to nearly the same cost for in-state schools in the U.S. However, the costs of living in a metropolitan area can add up to an average of 650 euros (1000 USD), or 550 euros (850 USD) outside of the city. The price of amenities such as produce and clothing is also generally higher. However, England has many opportunities for International students. The programs are to the greatest benefit of highly competitive students.

Spain: The public universities of Spain are some of the lowest. Tuition fees for a bachelor’s degree can range from 750 to 2,100 euros a year, whereas the cost for a master’s degree is between 900 to 3,300 euros. At top ranked universities, such as the Autonomous University of Madrid or the University of Barcelona, the average tuition is between 2,000 and 3,000 euros per year.

Japan: While the cost of living may be significantly expensive in cities such as Tokyo, the average tuition for college in Japan is 585,000 Japanese Yen, or 15,000 U.S. dollars annually. Meals are also much cheaper, and average about 5 U.S. dollars. In terms of classes, the U.S. certainly surpasses in terms of rigor.

Argentina: College tuition in  Argentina is largely government funded, with a tuition of 5,000 to 15,000, and very cheap costs of housing and public transportation. These attractive factors have been appealing to students around the globe, with as much as 35% from outside South America.


While tuition may be costly in America relative to these countries, remember there are many possible options around the globe for ambitious students.