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Countries where college is free or the government pays for tuition


As the US faces a higher education affordability crisis, students from other developed countries don’t pay anything for college.

Of the 36 developed, democratic countries that currently make up the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), seven of them subsidize tuition for public colleges and universities.

Read more: 10 mind-blowing facts that show just how dire the student-loan crisis in America is

The US, in contrast, charges the most money to attend public colleges among OECD countries. The average annual tuition for US public colleges cost more than $6,000, according to a 2011 report from OECD. When you add up the cost of living, books, and other expenses, the average cost of US in-state public university can total $25,290 a year, according to Value Penguin.

Using the OECD’s 2011 report, Business Insider analyzed the countries where citizens don’t pay tuition fees. (Note that there were some discrepancies between the data in 2011 and the most recent data available in 2019 regarding which countries were included in the dataset. Business Insider has reached out to OECD for more information.)

Here are seven countries where students can pursue higher education for free.


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