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American Students Moving To Europe For Free College

Dave_BerryDave_Berry CC Admissions Expert Posts: 2,257 Senior Member
"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." ...

https://consumerist.com/2017/03/30/american-students-moving-to-europe-for-free-college/

More: http://money.cnn.com/2016/02/23/pf/college/free-college-europe/
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Replies to: American Students Moving To Europe For Free College

  • CheckMyBrain11CheckMyBrain11 Registered User Posts: 42 Junior Member
    @noplayallwork That is an important aspect for students to remember. I think the choice comes down to when the students want to give away their money. Is it better to "pull the tooth" and take out a bunch of loans now, or pay it back through taxes later?

    I would be very uncomfortable in, say, Germany. Learning a new language, being a foreign student, and trying to immerse myself in a new culture would be very stressful - I already anticipate an entirely new culture heading across the United States next fall.
  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 Registered User Posts: 30,550 Senior Member
    edited April 3
    I don't think any country takes 50% of your earnings. Progressive marginal taxation (ie., brackets) is a standard of modern tax systems.
    Note that "free college" or "college as a public good" used to exist in the US. The disconnect between income and the cost of college is relatively recent and massive state disinvestment mostly started in 2009.

    @checkMyBrain11: where are you headed and where from?
    It's true that, language aside, the US is like a continent with many cultures and regions. :)
  • TooOld4SchoolTooOld4School Registered User Posts: 2,610 Senior Member
    edited April 4
    @MYOS1634 , to have a comparable lifestyle in Germany you need a higher income than in the US. Housing (especially), transportation, eating out, even food are a lot more expensive. The 'private health care tax' lets you access services more quickly instead of waiting a long time - pretty important for working people. €52K is about the salary for an engineer with a few years of experience, so definitely a middle class income. And VAT is an important component because it increases the cost of everything. If you have only 35% of your income left after taxes, and spend it all on goods and services (50/50), VAT is equivalent to a 7% income tax. So 72% total.

    If you look at my state, Michigan, we have a 28% federal tax and 4% income tax and 6% sales tax. So making the same assumptions that we spend everything, with half of my spending on goods, 34% is the tax rate, less than half of Germany.

    By US Standards, Merkel is a liberal Democrat. She us only a 'conservative' for Europe. I agree with you as far as the social pressure in Europe, and that is why I am glad that I don't live there. The EU as a whole has produced nothing but economic stagnation and widespread unemployment for decades.

    Let's not forget that the US provides most of the security umbrella for the EU too. They are not even paying for that. College has to be free because people have no money left over to pay for it. I don't like paying the crazy tuition for my kids here, but overall we are much better off with this system.



  • MandalorianMandalorian Registered User Posts: 1,455 Senior Member
    There is no free lunch.
  • insanedreamerinsanedreamer Registered User Posts: 1,536 Senior Member
    edited April 5
    The "Americans have lower taxes" is a myth. Once you add up all federal and state taxes plus social security taxes plus health insurance premuims and college costs (covered by taxes in Europe), Americans are paying more than Europeans.

    More details: https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/04/the-myth-of-low-tax-america-why-americans-arent-getting-their-moneys-worth/274945/
  • cdndukealumcdndukealum Registered User Posts: 19 New Member
    MYOS1634 - you do not believe that any country takes 50% of your earnings? Obviously tax rates progressively increase so there is a notion of a marginal tax rate. But I can tell you that many Canadians pay over 50% income tax. And that does not include property tax or sales tax (at 13%). Canadian income taxes are continuously increasing and have blown through 50%. And while tuition is less expensive in Canada relative to private schools (or OOS), it is similar to in state tuition.
  • prezbuckyprezbucky Registered User Posts: 3,457 Senior Member
    edited April 5
    I doubt highly that the average American pays 55% in taxes, total (sate/federal/local, SS, Medicare...). That's Norway's *income tax rate*.

    Now if you are paying an effective federal income tax of 25% (after deductions...)... and say 6% state and 3% local... add 8% for SS and Medicare... you could be paying over 40%. But that doesn't apply to very many of us. And that is still less than Norway's federal income tax.
  • USofAwesomeUSofAwesome Registered User Posts: 30 Junior Member
    @MYOS1634 For FAFSA I had to go through my parents' German tax returns and trust me, taxes and mandatory government contributions are extremely high, much higher than what my parents used to pay in the US with similar income. Not only is income tax higher, but there are a ton of mandatory fees and funds that one must contribute to. On top of that, VAT is way higher than in the US. People don't notice this in Europe because tax is included in the price and not added later on at the point of sale. If I remember correctly, German sales tax is around 19-22%.
  • ccsouthccsouth Registered User Posts: 83 Junior Member
    @insanedreamer I think what you may be forgetting is that in the US you don't have to go to college to get a well paying job. I have many co-workers that do not have degrees that make a good living (IT). In your example, these people would be forced to pay for something they don't want (college) via taxes for their entire working life.
  • insanedreamerinsanedreamer Registered User Posts: 1,536 Senior Member
    @ccsouth but the same is true in Europe - in fact, in Germany many people go to vocational training schools instead of universities for that reason.

    Having said that, IT is a outlier in that what matter are demonstrable skills rather than formal education, and certifications can be gotten without college. I have friends working in high-paying jobs at Google, LinkedIn, RedHat, etc., who never even finished high school, much less went to college. But you don't find that in any other industry -- you'll get automatically screened out before you can even get a job interview. Nowadays, a college degree is the new high school degree (and that's not a good thing).
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