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University World News: Student pay more – and more – to obtain a degree

Original version of this article published by University World News 25 October 2014, issue 340, available at

By Geoff Maslen

Around the world, the cost of enrolling in higher education and continuing on with postgraduate studies varies enormously from country to country – although in many places the cost is on the rise.

Increasingly, governments of all political persuasions have decided that students must contribute more. In this special edition of University World News, our writers describe how cheap or increasingly expensive it is to earn a degree and how much debt students will end up accumulating.

“Rising tuition fees are turning students into consumers and teachers into customer service providers,” declares Erin Nordal from the European Students’ Union, while Claire Callender of Birkbeck, University of London, describes what is happening in Britain as “a grand social experiment with uncertain and unknown outcomes, and unforeseen consequences”.

Even in the developing world, governments are asking more of their university students. Higher education consultant Carlos Olivares writes that after becoming the first country in Latin America to introduce tuition fees, Chile’s government has pledged to scrap them.

But universities there wonder if this will lead to a less effective, lower quality higher education system and ask who it will benefit most? That is a question that many others elsewhere around the globe would also like to know.

As part of this special coverage on what it costs the world’s students to obtain a degree, the ‘OECD – Education 2014’ section is based on information drawn from various chapters in the OECD report, Education at a Glance 2014, released last month.

These edited extracts describe the fees and other charges that students – domestic and foreign – face in attending tertiary education institutions in the different member countries and, in some cases, those outside the OECD.

University World News is grateful to the OECD for providing copyright clearance to allow us to publish extracts from the report. Note that there is no charge for downloading the report and readers can locate more of the data online. The Excel spreadsheets used to create the tables and charts are also freely available via the Statlinks system provided throughout the report.


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