Spending More, Getting Less

Tuition has risen faster for bachelor degrees in the US than elswhere


by Jennifer Craw

Tuition has risen faster for bachelor degrees in the US than elswhere

One of the ore striking findings in the Education at a Glance 2019 report from the OECD is how much more, on average, US students spend on tuition for bachelor’s degrees than do students in any other country. Equally striking is the fact that this already high tuition for US students has also risen much more over the past decade than tuition in other countries. In fact, the increase in annual tuition for a bachelor’s degree student in the United States over the past decade is more than double that the increase seen in top-performing countries like Canada, New Zealand, Estonia and the Netherlands. Tuition in Finland has not changed in the past decade, as higher education has long been free for all Finnish students. Germany has actually seen a decline in tuition since German states did away with tuition for German students in 2014. However, while US students are paying much more than their international counterparts for higher education, as Marc Tucker writes in his most recent blog, “There is no evidence that the value of that education has increased at all, on average. In fact, there is some evidence that it has declined.” Read Marc Tucker’s analysis of the current cost of higher education in the United States and what can be done about it here.