Universidad Gratis (Translation: Free College)
Lately there’s been a lot of debate about whether or not college could or should be free. As costs here in the United States continue to soar, does it make sense to advocate for a free public university system like what students in Germany, for example, experience?
What usually gets lost on us as we read these debatable policy proposals is that college is indeed free in many places overseas… and free for us as well. Just as foreign students can apply for colleges here and pay according to our policies, we can apply to foreign schools and pay according to their policies. If that country’s schools’ tuitions happen to be free for the locals, it’s often also available at no or little cost to us.
While we’ve already explored getting a free or cheap education on U.S. soil, many more opportunities abound overseas to get a high quality, low cost education. Following is a list of countries whose public institutions charge no tuition and allow enterprising young Americans to get in on the action (full or partial English language instruction availability designated by asterisk):
- Czech Republic
Furthermore, many countries offer cheap (by world standards) tuitions to international students :
In addition to the above countries, U.S. students might want to consider the schools of New Zealand and South Africa, where instruction is in English. Here the costs will be north of free or dirt cheap, but well below what we have grown accustomed to paying.
Best of all, students studying abroad can often carry with them U.S. financial aid and qualify for specialized scholarships which would help alleviate the cost of fees, books, travel, and living expenses.
Of course, going abroad is not without difficulty. You have the language barrier. You have the differing enrollment practices. You have cultural differences. You have to travel and find lodging in strange lands.
But the adventurous student, especially the one with international post-college plans or the world-oriented major (languages, international business, geography, missions, etc), should find the opportunity enticing. It will take some leg work to put it all together but the process may not be as daunting as trying to cover tuition stateside. I encourage every student with any sort of international curiosity or ambitions to consider this angle for a semester or two, if not for the whole enchilada.