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Old 06-08-2012, 09:37 PM
Location: Toronto
3,295 posts, read 7,014,419 times
Reputation: 2425


The Montreal students' protests got me thinking about the question. Despite Quebec having the lowest tuition fees in the country for post-secondary education, many had the expectation that it should be free, if not very cheap. That seems to be a cultural difference -- in some European countries, college/university is very cheap if not free, and those protesting students actually seem to look to the Old World for inspiration (the rest of Canada seems not to share as much of a sentiment, though there are a very small minority each year that complain about rising tuition fees making it hard for many to go to uni).

Most countries in the world (well, at least developed ones), already expect primary/elementary and secondary/high school free (if not mandatory) -- but do many people take it a step forward and think that college should be included?

I could look up the countries that have free education past high school just by a bit of searching online, but I'm also interested in cultural attitudes about this.

Much has been said about the "sense of entitlement" (whether you agree with it or not), especially from the point of view of say, many of those in the United States or English-speaking Canada, that probably think the student protesters are whiners causing a fuss/racket, and that expect too much to be handed to them.
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Old 06-08-2012, 10:26 PM
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
24,544 posts, read 56,037,872 times
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I think it was free for awhile back in the 70s and 80s here, although for whatever reason I suppose the Australian people didn't think it was worthwhile enough to continue or it just wasn't feasible. I'm not sure most people would support making it completely government-funded, as there is a lot of dissatisfaction with where our tax dollars go as it is, although I think many would agree that uni fees can be a tad exorbitant.
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Old 06-09-2012, 04:23 AM
1,725 posts, read 2,066,714 times
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In Russia the belief is that education up to bachelor's (and many think that master's should be included) should be free, and it's in the constitution. An attempt to change this will surely cause a revolution, not just protests.

People don't really care why it should be free - just that it should, end of discussion. The cause lies in the Soviet Union, where commies tried to do all they could to eliminate exploitation, including and especially capitalist - the belief is that the more educated the person, the harder it is to exploit him. Ironically, the educated middle-class succumbed to last president's brainwashing, destroyed the Union and their own wealth, lots of it.

In SU university education was free with full-ride, including a livable stipend. Now only cheap housing is usually available for students from other areas.

Paid education is also available, including in state universities, and it's usually cheap.
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Old 06-09-2012, 07:56 AM
689 posts, read 2,160,478 times
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The California state university system was free until the Reagan governorship. One of the top lines in Reagan's personal agenda was to abolish free higher education in California, and a $600 fee was imposed starting in 1971.

In Louisiana, as part of Huey Long's promise, university students in the 1950s paid only a $35 per semester fee to enroll at state colleges and universities.

Last edited by CowanStern; 06-09-2012 at 08:07 AM..
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Old 06-09-2012, 12:02 PM
Location: Ireland
92 posts, read 159,366 times
Reputation: 99
It should be free for those who cannot afford to send their children to university or those struggling financially who want to return as mature students. I have no problem as a taxpayer contributing to a better future for someone, better that than my hard earned cash going to some careless, greedy bondholder or a dead bank!!. Everyone should be entitled to the same oppurtunities regardless of their background/financial situation.
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Old 06-09-2012, 03:57 PM
Location: Sweden
2 posts, read 7,696 times
Reputation: 14
In Sweden higher education is free of charge and students are entitled to benefits and soft loans. We do of course have one of the highest tax rates in the world, but I'm under the impression that most people here support this system. Free education is seen as a tool for increasing social mobility.
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