College is free, just not here. . . .


There is a contrast between the U.S. and other countries in the realm of college tuition. I had known about this earlier. However, after questioning several housemates who happened to be studying abroad the sheer enormity of difference was brought to bear.

“In Greece, university, it’s free” relates Glen Solver from Athens. Alex Zybin reports that in Denmark, school is free. They even pay for a semester of study abroad. “It’s free,” says Mohammed Al-Hamdi “they pay you.” In Saudi Arabia, he explains most majors receive 1,000 Riyals a month, which equates to $250, “it’s for food and gas.” If your major involves medicine the stipend ups to $280.

In other countries represented by my housemates, students are expected to pay tuition. But, not one tops the US in exacting a higher tuition expenditure from students. According to Doo-lee Hwang “actually, education is very expensive in Korea.” It’s $4,000 per semester at private schools, and about $2,000 per semester in public schools. Hiroshi Aizawa to Japan is “not sure, but it’s around $5,000 per semester for private, and almost half for public.” Colleges in the countryside are cheaper than the cities. Javier Santana from the Dominican Republic says it’s about $3,000 a year for public colleges.

According to Asher Xu “generally it’s around $1,000 per year,” in China “but for International Business it’s $5,000 and $2,000 for Art.” However, there are student subsidies. “There is free food in the cafeteria” says Asher as he begins to smile “but it’s cheap”. He also explains colleges  provide optional dormitories which are around $100 a month. Changlong Ke, also from China, explains almost everyone lives in these dormitories and how life is moderated. There is no electricity between 11pm-6am, and 40-50 year old monitors check each room to insure students are sleeping.

According to the College Board Annual Survey of Colleges, the average 2013-2014 cost of a public US university is $8,893 So, the United States, richest country in the entire world, has the most expensive college education. For the many people who might attend private school the tuition can be high as $49,138 according to the US News.

Possibly, the US educational system could reform, so less of the burden is placed on students. Student represent perhaps one of the poorest sectors of the population. If a first-time student does have a job it’s probably around minimum wage.

After all, if the student has no college education they often only qualify for so-called unskilled labor positions. However, it’s is not unheard of for people to graduate with $200,000 debt. Since the economy  has down turn, paying off this money has grown even more impossible for some.

I once had a housemate who was 27, and graduated with B GPA in English.

The only job he could find was as a travel agent. He was barely making it. Eventually he had to live with his parents. How many others will find themselves in such a hole before something is done?