Have you looked at the cost of school these days? Tuition for American universities keeps on rising. According to Collegedata, in 2015-2016, total costs are projected to hit $24,061 per year for in-state schools and $47,831 for year in a private school. For the price of four years of schooling, we could get a Ferrari or be a nomad traveling around the world for a decade!
What are some ways to get around being saddled with student loans into our adult lives or even retirement? One option is to win merit scholarships by being selective and judicious about which schools we apply to. Of course, not everyone can win these scholarships. This is where we need to think outside of the box.
More than 4,600 US students are fully enrolled at Germany universities, an increase of 20% over three years. At the same time, the total student debt in the US has reached $1.3 trillion (£850 billion).
Each semester, Hunter pays a fee of €111 ($120) to the Technical University of Munich (TUM), one of the most highly regarded universities in Europe, to get his degree in physics.
Included in that fee is a public transportation ticket that enables Hunter to travel freely around Munich.
Health insurance for students in Germany is €80 ($87) a month, much less than what Amy would have had to pay in the US to add him to her plan.
“The healthcare gives her peace of mind,” says Hunter. “Saving money of course is fantastic for her because she can actually afford this without any loans.”
To cover rent, mandatory health insurance and other expenses, Hunter’s mother sends him between $6,000-7,000 each year.
At his nearest school back home, the University of South Carolina, that amount would not have covered the tuition fees. Even with scholarships, that would have totalled about $10,000 a year. Housing, books and living expenses would make that number much higher.
Even outside of tuition-free Germany, EU schools are quite cheap in comparison to American ones. Don’t worry about competitiveness. So few American students actually apply, and the schools enjoy increased diversity so much that they reserve spots for foreign students.
Other options exist in Asia, such as the Monbukagakusho in Japan and a variety of options in China. In fact, I just recently read about the Schwarzman scholarship, which is new (just admitted their inaugural class) but gives awardees a full ride to arguably the most prestigious university in China – Tsinghua.
All in all, the American higher education system currently doesn’t serve its students well. Yes, the education is world-class, but the costs are such that they impose severe burdens on graduates for years after. For comparison, Switzerland has an elegant system of vocational training even for white collar professions like banking. Having graduates with work experience, contacts in industry, and the skills that businesses need has led to an astounding 3% youth unemployment rate.