After factoring in government subsidies (or lack thereof), is the total price for one year of undergraduate education in Europe increasing at a rate similar to America?

  • At my state school in the US, in-state tuition+state subsidy has not increased faster than inflation over the past 20 years according to numbers I’ve seen. That is, all the increase in tuition is balanced by a decrease in state funding. But it’s hard to find good data on this in the US so it’s going to be hard to compare. Commented Sep 14, 2019 at 16:36

2 Answers 2


This answer is based on the situation in Sweden, I think similar principles would apply in the Nordic countries and possibly in north Europe. First cost of education is very low compared to US, as can be seen in the following references:

Sweden Abroad's paper on education costs in Sweden

Higher Education Finance and Cost-Sharing in Sweden

There are no tuition fees for European citizens (non Europeans pay a tuition fee which varies based on the University and the Education. For example a technical education for a non European may cost in the range of US$12000/year. The government also provides a grant and a loan on favourable conditions. Everyone who wants to study can get a seat.

It could be argued that even when the government subsidies something there is still a real price, and if there is a real market driver the price should go up.

The government provides resources to a University based on the number of students and the number of courses provided. The amount differs based on the course. For example for natural science and technology the amount is higher than for social sciences. Half the amount is given when the student signs up for a course and half when he or she passes the course. Since the government provides means based on the number of students, there is no reason for why supply and demand should not be met and there should not be any price driver as in US.

For certain very popular educations there are limited seats, and the college would then limit access to these seats based on scores. But money is still not the driver.

For commercial education such as a professional MBA at Stockholm School of Economics there are market price and there prices have increased dramatically over the years. The current cost is in the range of SEK 500K.

  • 500000 Swedish kronor = 74728.5000 US dollars
    – user8077
    Commented Apr 21, 2012 at 20:50

In the UK universities have received about £10,000 (15,000 USD) in tuition and fees per student per year. This has been pretty constant with small increases over the years. Students who are not part of the EU are expected to pay the fees in their entirety "up front". EU students who are not part of the UK pay £6000 a year up front. For UK students the rules vary amongst Scotland, Wales, and England. In Scotland university is free for Scots. I am not sure how much, if anything other Brits pay. In England, the fees just rose from £4000 to £9000. Students don't have to pay until after they graduate and begin making more than £25,000 a year.

  • 2
    Are they allowed to discriminate between UK and EU students? I ask because in Sweden I was told that Sweden could not legally ask different tuition fees from Swedish and EU-outside-Sweden students.
    – gerrit
    Commented Jan 27, 2015 at 22:31
  • 1
    In Scotland, undergrad degrees are free for Scottish students and for EU citizens. English, Welsh, and NI students, however, have to pay the same fees as they would pay in those respective places, so about £9000 a year. This is because in the EU, all EU citizens have to pay "home rates" for Uni throughout the EU. However, fees can vary INSIDE a country. Thus Scotland, in the spirit of reciprocity, conforms to EU rules and charges EU students nothing, but charges English students as much as a Scottish student would be charged to study in England. Commented Sep 15, 2019 at 9:04
  • Technically Scottish Unis charge fees but they are waved by the government. And you only get a certain number of years paid for to complete your undergrad degree: the 4 years of the Scottish degree (English degrees are only 3 years) plus 1 or 2 more for various circumstances. Commented Sep 15, 2019 at 9:05

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