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Cindy

How did you finance your college/university education?

I'm having to write an essay on the topic "should education be free?"and, while exploring different points of view, I came to wonder howstudents in different systems/countries pay for their tuition/cost ofliving etc. Swedish higher education is provided free of charge throughpublic funding, but students have to pay any course material,literature and of course living expenses. I would be grateful for anyinput from those of you with first-hand experience. Thanks in advance!
Cindy:

Thank you all for answering! I had the misconception that you had to be wealthy (or have wealthy parents) in order to get a college education, but obviously I was mistaken!

All the same, I still feel happier spending my tax money on higher education in a system where admission is based on merit rather than money, although such systems have their disadvantages, too:

When there is little demand for a course or graduate programme, admission requirements (High School grades needed) are dropped, and dropout rates increase as students are academically incapable of completing the education. On the other extreme is med school, where demand has increased admission requirements to 100% HS grade score, so even if you have top High School grades, admission is a lottery, and the luck of the draw decides if you get in or not...

J!!:

My parents could not afford to pay for me to go to college, so I worked in high school to earn a full academic scholarship for four years of undergraduate study at my choice of universities. I earned enough in scholarships to pay for all of my tuition, my books, supplies, etc. Since I had a young daughter, I did not live on campus, and instead maintained and paid for my own independent household. I typically carried a 12-16 credit hour load per semester, and worked full-time (35-40 hr/wk) at a law firm to support myself and my daughter.

Cindy:

I'm impressed! The amount of work you'd had to put in studying, working full-time AND caring for your daughter seems staggering. I brought up my daughter on my own working full-time without studying, and thought that was bad enough!

I'm not familiar with the concept of credit hour loads, will have to look that one up...

All the same, I hope all your hard work paid off in terms of decent income and standard of living.

J!!:

Hi, Wilma :) Thanks ... when I think about it now it seems a little overwhelming, even to me, but, back then I just did it and didn't really think too much about it because I wanted to attend a university, and that was what had to be done in order for me to achieve it.

With regard to credit hour loads -- if a class met for one hour, four days per week, it was worth four credit hours per semester. If a class met for one hour, three days per week, it was worth three credit hours. The cost of each class was based on a predetermined $ amount per credit hour. So, for example, by the time I graduated, the per credit hour cost was between $200 - $250 (or thereabout -- it was fourteen years ago and I can't remember exactly). With that, a single course that was worth four credit hours would cost $800 - $1,000 in tuition that semester, not including any lab fees, text books, or other expenses that pertained to students who lived on campus. I usually took three or four classes at a time each semester. Graduation requirements dictate a certain number of credit hours in specified areas, depending on your major.

That's a beautiful horse in your avatar :)

Bellerina:

I joined the US Air Force and then became disabled. Under US Veteran's benefits they paid for my schooling 100% and gave me a stipend each month to live on.

Cindy:

Would you have remained in your USAF career if not disabled, or would you have been able to leave at some stage and still get those schooling benefits?

Bellerina:

Actually, it is a long story. If I had not been disabled, I probably would have left earlier and used my GI benefits, which were a little different. I do not know if they are he same now, but at that time, they paid 75% while I was in and would have paid $2.00 for each Dollar I contributed up to $40,000.00. So it would not have been a full ride.

Allen:

From the response you got after 17 minutes, it seems that not many on QnA had a college education... :) :)
I was educated in Germany, so my answer is not helpful to you, sorry!

Cindy:

Don't apologise, any answers are welcome, I really did mean any systems, so even if the government paid for your tuition, you might still have had to pay your own living expenses etc? How? Currently I'm trying to study English at uni level full time while working part time to pay for my living expenses and literature. So far it works out although my total working days are rarely less than 16 hours... :-/

Allen:

I went to higher education 3 years after WWII endet, which was a boys gymnasium, where I had to catch up- 5 years of curriculum packed into 3 years, including English, Latin, Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics,- everything. I lived at home and had to ride the train every day. No fees - but then, there were hardly any books, Germany was still in ruins. I had to earn money, so I ended school with half of the so-called Abitur to go to a special school to learn to be a technical practical doctor's helper. There I had to pay 65 Deutsche Mark monthly at that time, which was double what we paid for our little appartment ( over 6 month) and the train ride to Essen, Germany, to that privat school was expensive for my parents, too.
The picture of education in Germany is probably similar to the system in Sweden.

Cindy:

One could safely say that you (and your parents) had to work hard for your education! I am assuming also that German and Swedish school systems are fairly similar, and will be looking into some of the European systems to compare with the American one.

2 Cents:

Someone I know who had a Spanish surname was given the whole ride to masters degree because of it. He only had to have his own living expenses and a few other incidentals, but the rest was free. He even tried to turn it down, but they wouldn't let him. Had something to do with equal opportunity I guess.. back in the 70's.

I got grants because I was on Welfare. They paid for my tuition, gave me an allowance for my books/supplies, and every quarter about $150 for carfare and clothes and lunch. I used it for gas and car repairs. Oh well. At least I didn't have to show receipts.

But I did get my AA, and did well after that, so I didn't mind becoming a tax payer.

Cindy:

Good to know, I didn't realise there were grants available for the poor. Did college provide accommodation also, or did you live with your parents/elsewhere, since you could prioritize your car over food?

2 Cents:

I lived in a rented house with my kids. They were all in school, and my mom lived across the street for after school security for them. Welfare gave me money for household expenses, food, clothes, rent, gas, phone, etc. Just not a whole lot.

2 Cents:

The first few months after I was hired on, I got 50 cents per month different than the welfare paid me, plus I had to buy more clothes and shoes to wear to work (office type work), but it all worked out in the end, I soon got raises and upgrades and was doing well financially.

Pete:

I started college in 1982, came from a very poor single parent home so qualified for most financial aide and student loan programs available. I graduated owing $30,000 which was HUGE in 1986. Took 10 years to pay it off.

Cindy:

It's good to see that there are options available for those from low-income families. Paying back loans is notalotafun, but a great relief when it's done!

Pete:

Actually, it's easier to get help when you are dirt poor than it is if you are middle income!

Cindy:

It's the same here, and people get jealous, but if they explored the poverty requirements for welfare (at least in Sweden), they would realise that it's not a walk in the park, it's more like a double marathon!

Royboy:

savings & worked at odd jobs

Rosedove:

part thru a scholarship and the rest worked and saved

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