Tuition fees charged to American students are constantly increasing, particularly in the most prestigious institutions in the country who engage in fierce competition. But before drawing any conclusions whatsoever, we must understand the American university system in the whole of its operation, that is to say, taking into consideration:
- An advanced system of grants.
- The lifestyle of an American campus.
- The difference between public and private universities.
- The average cost shown by the 3000 North American institutions, not just those of the most renowned universities.
- The price differences between undergraduate cycle (pre-degree) and Masters (postgraduate.)
The competition between universities to recruit the best teachers, improving the quality of equipment, constructing new buildings on campus is pushing the colleges and universities to charge higher student fees. According to data from the US Department of Education, a student spends 73,600 euros for its four years of university. This amount includes tuition fees and the rights of access to campus facilities, accommodation and catering.
But where is higher education actually cheaper; The US or Europe? Many things go into consideration. But the first thing to do is to distinguish between public and private sector universities in the US. For starter, we should know that the Public sector universities are significantly less expensive than those of the Private sector. In fact, studying at a public university in the US is not really that overly expensive, when compared to some English universities.
Now, let’s compare other factors;accommodation, food, sports and leisure, over a number of years of education. These costs are generally higher in Europe, where the university buildings are located in the hearts of major cities. This ultimately leads to paying a high amount of cash for accommodation, food and drinks. On the other hand, the campuses in US are often on the periphery or in the countryside, where housing is cheaper.
So far, it seems like the American universities have an upper hand when it comes to cost, but let’s not forget that in most European countries, like Germany and Norway, students are usually charged low amount of fee and in some cases, are not required to pay any sort of tuition fee at all! The only expenses they have to take care of are accommodation and catering. Taking this into consideration, Europe wins by default. But it would also be unfair for the US, because there are some European universities which charge double of what you’d pay for in the States.
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