As the costs of going to college mount in the United States, a new reports shows that free higher education is a reality in another country. Germany is the only nation that provides college education without tuition fees.
“Germany is the only country in which policy is still based on providing tuition-free education to nearly all students,” a study carried out by nonprofit Körber Institute showed, according to German news site the Local. The other countries analyzed were France, United Kingdom, Russia, Egypt, Ghana, Australia, China, India, Japan, Brazil, Chile and the U.S.
While only a small number of institutions in Germany ask for tuition fees, the case is completely different in the other countries, which have seen a significant increase fees for higher education as they fail to cover the demands of education with state-run institutions. The report adds: “Private providers fill the hole quickly, but they vary drastically in quality and usefulness.”
Norway, Finland, Mexico and Brazil are other countries where people can attend public universities at a very low cost.
The situation in the U.S., however, is defying such a trend, with almost three-quarters of students graduating with a debt. The total student debt in the country reportedly reached about $1.2 trillion in 2014. Reducing student debt was one of the key points in the Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ campaign agenda during the run up to the 2016 election and it also received support from a number of states.
While Tennessee was the first state to provide free community college in 2014, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in January announced a plan to make college free for people under the $125,000-a-year income bracket. Cuomo said at the time: “A college education is not a luxury – it is an absolute necessity for any chance at economic mobility, and with these first-in-the-nation Excelsior Scholarships, we’re providing the opportunity for New Yorkers to succeed, no matter what zip code they come from and without the anchor of student debt weighing them down.”
In the same month, Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo proposed a plan for two free years of study for the state’s residents at community colleges, the University of Rhode Island or Rhode Island College.
Some cities are also joining the cause of free college education, and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee recently announced that from next fall, education at the city’s community college will be free for San Francisco residents.