Rising College Expenses: International Perspective

By Katherine Segovia, Trending Writer

Higher education in the United States is imperative as it is necessary to have some sort of degree in order to begin most careers. For the most part, however, a college education does not come cheap. While there are programs to help low-income students afford a college education, many students and their families are still struggling financially.

The National Center for Education and Statistics reported that for the 2014-15 academic year, the cost of attending a four-year public university was $18,632. The cost of attending a private, four-year, nonprofit university was $42,065. This includes the price of tuition, fees, room and board. Over four years, that adds up to $168,260. Whether a student is financing their own education or a parent or guardian is, racking up over $100,000 of debt is no joke.

Compared to the cost of higher education in the United States, universities in other countries can put less of a financial strain on its students. The University of Birmingham located in the United Kingdom charges its students about £9,000 in undergraduate fees. This equates to about $11,317. The University of Cambridge’s tuition is £9,250. Each university adjusts its cost to inflation and includes separate fees for international students.

In Germany, college is tuition free for both German and international students, according to BBC News. Other countries where public colleges are free for citizens and international students are Norway, Finland, and Iceland, as reported by CNN News.

Because of the expense of studying in the United States, many students often look into the option of moving to another country and studying abroad. However, the tuition fees do not account for other basic costs of living, which include rent, food and transportation, among others. Transportation is a big cost of studying abroad, considering students will most likely be traveling back and forth to visit their families in the U.S or using public transportation in the country.

The cost of higher education varies among countries, but the differences are substantial. Many people are frightened at the idea of acquiring so much debt over such a short amount of time, especially college students who are not guaranteed a job right after graduation. The thought of having to pay off large loans at the end of four years is scary to most, which is why many students look into the option of studying overseas.

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, December 10th print edition.

Contact Katherine at



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