It’s a bit depressing to think that not only is free higher education a thing of the past but any chance you had of getting a degree without building a looming mountain of debt has passed into history as well.
Nowadays Britain and the US are well known for their astronomically high university tuition fees, but you may be surprised to learn that they don’t top the list of places where parents spend the largest percentage of their income on higher education for their kids.
According to ukbusinessinsider, Expert Market looked at tuition-fee and income data from some of the top universities around the world and found that the UK and the US are actually only mid-table. So it might not seem it, but in terms of expensive education, it could be much worse
So where are these countries where it seems like an education is firmly confined to the upper reaches of the wealthy? Well, here are the top 10 most expensive countries for a university education.
10. Singapore – Total tuition fee cost: $35,400 (£23,336), % of salary spent on tuition fees: 36%
The tiny island nation of Singapore only has five public universities but, Singapore, is the third-richest country in the world meaning parents spend just over a third of their salaries on ensuring their children get a bachelor’s degree.
9. Britain – Total tuition fee cost: $40,290 (£26,560), % of salary spent on tuition fees: 42%
In recent times Britain’s university fees have risen so high that they now account for nearly half the average household’s earnings. However, higher wages mean that it only comes in at number 9 with tuition fees costing up to £9,000 ($13,654) a year depending on the subject and university.
8. Lithuania – Total tuition fee cost: $23,904 (£15,759), % of salary spent on tuition fees: 48%
In 2009, the capital city of Vilnius saw massive student protests against educational reforms as they thought the cost of going to university would increase. It turns out they were right and now students’ parents must pay just under half of their salaries to pay for their kids’ higher education.
7. Ukraine – Total tuition fee cost: $23,200 (£15,292), % of salary spent on tuition fees: 52%
Ukraine used to have more universities than Italy, France, Germany, Poland, and Belgium combined. Now they have just under 200 with many of these hosting specialised military institutes within the university so graduates can immediately enter the army.
6. The United States – Total tuition fee cost: $91,832 (£60,510), % of salary spent on tuition fees: 53%
The US is well known for its devastatingly high tuition fees but even though average earnings in the country are far higher than many others on the list fees continue to rise but wages do not, so higher education is becoming something which only the elite can afford.
5. Malaysia – Total tuition fee cost: $18,000 (£11,863), % of salary spent on tuition fees: 55%
Malaysia only has around 20 universities, and to be fair, fees are low compared with those in other countries. However, without scholarships or loans, parents on average will lose over half their wages to pay for tuition fees.
4. Chile – Total tuition fee cost: $23,600 (£15,554), % of salary spent on tuition fees: 73%
Between 2011 and 2013 there was a huge wave of student protests in the country which aimed to end the dominance of profit-hungry higher-education institutions as poorer families were unable to afford to send their kids to university. Unfortunately not much has changed and parents must hand over nearly three quarters of their income if thy want their kids to go to university.
3. Estonia – Total tuition fee cost: $38,400 (£25,310), % of salary spent on tuition fees: 76%
The Estonian government has placed a huge emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, or the STEM subjects, after applications declined in the 1990s. While uptake has risen over the past few years, these degrees carry the highest cost burdens in fees.
2. Romania – Total tuition fee cost: $25,200 (£16,609), % of salary spent on tuition fees: 86%
“Many of the most expensive places are in the top 10 because their wages are low so even a small amount of fees takes a lot from the average income,” says Jared Keleher of Expert Market. Romania has a huge concentration of students studying medicine and although higher education is generally free to Romanian nationals the government does allocate a number of seats that have to be paid for.
1. Hungary – Total tuition fee cost: $34,200 (£22,358), % of salary spent on tuition fees: 92%
Top of the list is Hungary, where parents spend the nearly a whole average salary on higher education each year, limiting participation to only those people with the highest incomes. The government does allow students to gain a free university education but they must stay in the country for 10 years after they graduate or face paying back their tuition fees.