With the average recent college graduate leaving campus with a diploma and $30,000 in debt, it’s no surprise that would-be-students are looking for ways to get an education without taking on such a financial burden. While they could opt to live in certain cities or states, or go to work for any of a number of the companies offering free schooling, many are moving… to Europe.
CNN Money reports that the lure of free or deeply discounted tuition is enough for thousands of students to cross the pond each year to make their dreams of a higher education a reality.
While tuition in the U.S. can range from $9,000 to $32,000 each, the price tag in Europe is much less, with many programs charging under $2,500 or no more than $9,000 each year, according to college advising service Beyond the States.
But that cost might even be on the high side, CNN reports, as there are at least 44 schools in Europe that don’t charge anything for students to obtain a bachelor’s degree.
In fact, all of the public colleges in Germany, Iceland, Norway, and Finland are free for residents and international students. There are also some private schools in Europe that do not charge tuition.
Of course, going to college overseas is different than in the U.S.; for example, students tend to live off campus instead of on.
Students who choose to attend college overseas tell CNN they based their decisions on cost, length of time it would take to receive a diploma, and the amount of experience they can gain from studying abroad.
Chelsea, a student at the University of Deggendorf, paid just $220 a semester for school when she first began, but since then the country has made college tuition free. As a result, she only pays a $50 administrative fee each semester and about $420/month for insurance and rent.
While the cost is an improvement from what she might have paid at a U.S.-based school, she says the studying is different.
“You need to be prepared to study 10 hours a day, and there’s probably not time for a job in addition to your studies,” she warns.
Another student, Hunter, pays about $3,300 in tuition at Tallinn University of Technology in Estonia.
“Last semester I only had to have a single book and I checked it out of the school library,” he tells CNN. “For some professors, a lot or all of the material is online, and for others you have to be in class to receive the knowledge.”