When 23-year-old Danish engineering student Louis Moe Christoffersen arrived in Baltimore in late January for an exchange semester, he immediately noticed a difference: Everything was so much more expensive at U.S. colleges than at home.
Since 1985, U.S. college costs have surged by about 500 percent, tuition fees keep rising, and even President Obama’s plan to make community colleges free has faced harsh criticism at home. Whereas U.S. politicians argue about how much students should pay for higher education, the opposite is the case in Denmark: There, the government is even paying its students to go to college.
“Danish citizens don’t have to pay any tuition fees. Housing is really cheap, as well,” Christoffersen said, before adding: “In fact, we’re all being paid by our government if we’re enrolled in a university. It’s like somebody is paying you a salary for going to your college classes.”
Every Danish student receives about $900 (5,839 Danish krones) per month under a scheme known as SU (Statens Uddannelsesstøtte). The generous financial support does not have to be paid back even if students drop out, and the only major requirement for students to receive the full amount is that they do not live with their parents. Students receive the free funding for a maximum of six years, starting at the age of 18. Those who are particularly successful are eligible to receive additional payments. <Read more.>