7 countries where higher education is free

A-Level resultsNiall Carson/PA Images via Getty Images

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.

{{}}

View As: One Page Slides

Sweden does not charge tuition for both public and private colleges.

Sweden does not charge tuition for both public and private colleges.

The percentage of young adults who will attend university: 68%

The level of public expenditure on tertiary education per student (in USD): $20,864

Source: OECD, PBS

Denmark spends 0.6% of its total GDP on subsidies for college students.

Denmark spends 0.6% of its total GDP on subsidies for college students.

The percentage of young adults who will attend university: 55%

The level of public expenditure on tertiary education per student (in USD): $17,634

Source: OECD

Finland also provides students with generous scholarships and grants to finance their studies or living expenses.

Finland also provides students with generous scholarships and grants to finance their studies or living expenses.

The percentage of young adults who will attend university: 69%

The level of public expenditure on tertiary education per student (in USD): $15,402

Source: OECD

Ireland has paid tuition fees for most full-time undergraduate students since 1995.

Ireland has paid tuition fees for most full-time undergraduate students since 1995.

The percentage of young adults who will attend university: 51%

The level of public expenditure on tertiary education per student (in USD): $16,284

Source: OECD

Iceland tuition fees vary by your major because of differences in both the cost of studies and labor-market demands.

Iceland tuition fees vary by your major because of differences in both the cost of studies and labor-market demands.

The percentage of young adults who will attend university: 77%

The level of public expenditure on tertiary education per student (in USD): $10,429

Source: OECD

Iceland tuition fees vary by your major because of differences in both the cost of studies and labor-market demands.

Iceland tuition fees vary by your major because of differences in both the cost of studies and labor-market demands.

The percentage of young adults who will attend university: 77%

The level of public expenditure on tertiary education per student (in USD): $10,429

Source: OECD

Norway pays the most for college subsidies, spending 1.3% of its annual GDP.

Norway pays the most for college subsidies, spending 1.3% of its annual GDP.

The percentage of young adults who will attend university: 77%

The level of public expenditure on tertiary education per student (in USD): $18,942

Source: OECD

The Czech Republic provides small subsidies to help students with college costs aside from covering the cost of tuition.

The Czech Republic provides small subsidies to help students with college costs aside from covering the cost of tuition.

The percentage of young adults who will attend university: 59%

The level of public expenditure on tertiary education per student (in USD): $8,738

Source: OECD

Add Comment()
Comments ()
X
Sort By:
Be the first one to comment.
We have sent you a verification email. This comment will be published once verification is done.