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Free education refers to education that is funded through taxation, or charitable organizations rather than tuition fees. Although primary school and other comprehensive or compulsory education is free in many countries, for example, all education is mostly free (often not including books (from primary) and a number of administrative and sundry fees in university) including post-graduate studies in the Nordic countries.[1] From 2013 in Northern Europe Estonia started providing free higher education as well. In Argentina, Norway and Finland, no fees apply for foreign students enrolling at a university, although they may not be eligible for a monthly study allowance and loan. Bachelor degree programmes in Norway are solely taught in Norwegian.[2] Master degree programmes in Norway are offered in either Norwegian or English depending on the programme and/or university.[3] Sweden, until recently, provided free education to foreign students but changes have been introduced to charge fees to foreign students from outside of the European community.[4] Denmark also has universal free education, and provides a monthly stipend, the "Statens Uddannelsesstøtte" or "SU",[5] to students over 18 years of age or students who are under 18 and attending a higher education.[6] Bachelor and master degree programmes in Denmark are offered in either Danish or English depending on the programme and/or university.[7] Greece and Argentina provide free education at all levels, including college and university.


In Brazil, free education is offered by the Ministry of Education. The Ministry offers scholarships for graduate degrees, masters, doctoral and post-doctoral for Brazilians and immigrants who have Brazilian citizenship. The best universities and research centers are public institutions, financed by either the local state (state universities) or the federal government (federal universities). Graduate students can get paid if they qualify for the incentive but competition is extremely fierce. There has been a proliferation in the last 10 years of private universities which are interested in providing professional training to their undergraduates. These private colleges are not interested in nurturing research centers, since it is not part of their business model to get involved with research.

In Sri Lanka, free education is provided by the government at different levels. Government funded schools such as national schools, provincial schools and piriven provided primary and secondary education free, while assisted schools and semi-governmental schools provided the same at subsidized rates. At the university level, the state universities provide undergraduate courses free, however this totals only about 10% for those qualified for university entrance. Grants and scholarships are provided for a limited number as study allowances.

Elsewhere, free education usually comes to students in the form of scholarships and grants, if they cover all or most of students' expenses. Individuals, institutions and advocacy initiatives are examples of providers of grants and scholarships. They may have economic (e.g. tax-deductibility), humanitarian, charitable or religious motivations.

There are examples of steps towards free education being taken across the world primarily in those nations developing rapidly, such as China.[8] The renowned centers of learning in Libya and Cuba may be attended free of charge.

In Mauritius, the government provides free education to its citizens from pre-primary to tertiary levels. Since July 2005, the government also introduced free transport for all students.

In European countries such as Spain, France, Italy and Malta, tuition is usually free for European students.


Free education has long been identified with "sponsored education". This may now evoke images of advertising campaigns, but in the past, especially during the Renaissance, it was common practice among rich dignitaries to sponsor the education of a young man as his patron.[citation needed]

In the late 18th century, Thomas Paine was amongst the earliest proponents of universal, free public education, which was considered to be a radical idea at the time.

In the United States, the government's compulsory education was introduced as free or universal education during the late 19th century, and extended across the country by the 1920s.

Compulsory education is typically funded through taxes. Aggravated truancy can be prosecuted. Homeschooling, private or parochial schooling is usually a legal alternative.

As of the start of many free internet-based learning institutions such as edX and mitX, education is now free to anyone in the world with internet access.[9] In many countries, the policy for the merit system has not yet caught up with these recent advances in education technology.

List of countries with free post-secondary education[edit]

This is not a complete list, and only countries discussed in the article are mentioned.

Free education on the Internet[edit]

Online education has become an option in recent years, particularly with the development of free MOOCs (massive open online courses) from providers such as Khan Academy (High School) and Higher Education, through providers such as Udacity, World Education University (WEU) and Coursera. Free education has become available through several websites with some resembling the courses of study of accredited universities. Online education faces barriers such as institutional adoption, license or copyright restrictions, incompatibility and educator awareness of available resources.[10]

Due to the extensive requirements of resources for online education, many open community projects have been initiated. Specifically, the Wikimedia Foundation has developed a project devoted to free online educational resources, Wikiversity, and recently, several other sites for specific topics have developed. MyMCAT[11] was designed as a free community project to aid students wishing to take the MCAT.

See also[edit]


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_education — Please support Wikipedia.
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3048 news items

Vibe Ghana
Tue, 19 Aug 2014 20:56:15 -0700

The free education programme, which used to be vibrant in the early part of the 1990s, helped to nurture personalities such as Alhaji Mohammed Muntaka Mubarak, Member of Parliament (MP) for Asawasi, Alhaji Nurudeen Hamidan, Asokore-Mampong ...
Mon, 18 Aug 2014 22:56:09 -0700

The Sikkim Cabinet has given its seal of approval to Chief Minister Pawan Chamling's announcement to make education free for Sikkimese students in government schools and colleges. Sikkimese students, in this context, has been defined as bona fide ...

Al-Fanar Media

Al-Fanar Media
Thu, 14 Aug 2014 10:37:30 -0700

On the other hand, students who qualify for “free” education have been slowly complaining about the quality that they get and the fees they have to pay. A report by the National Council for Education, Scientific Research and Technology in 2009 ...
Live 5 News
Fri, 15 Aug 2014 18:40:11 -0700

But public education is far from a FREE education. When students register for school in some counties they are assessed "fees" at registration. Charleston County assesses a fee at registration between $25 and $45. In Dorchester District 2, that fee is ...


Thu, 14 Aug 2014 20:11:15 -0700

Free and compulsory education is the right of every child. Keeping this in mind, the office of the deputy director of education recently sent a copy of a 20-year-old government resolution (GR), coaxing schools to provide free education to girls till ...

Daily Caller

Daily Caller
Fri, 01 Aug 2014 13:42:10 -0700

“We're all becoming border states now,” worried Bristol County, Massachusetts Sheriff Tom Hodgson over tens of thousands of illegal immigrants — most unaccompanied children — swarming into the American Southwest, many making their way to America's ...
Sat, 02 Aug 2014 08:00:00 -0700

It's a high tech center providing adult vocational training and after school programming for teens. WKYC Staff, WKYC 11:04 a.m. EDT August 2, 2014. It's a high tech center providing adult vocational training and after school programming for teens ...

Independent Online

Independent Online
Wed, 13 Aug 2014 03:07:30 -0700

“We're going to have a week-long free education march… from our branches on the Monday. We're agitating for all our branches to shut down the campuses at least for one day… Then on the Wednesday it will be the provincial marches in the eight ...

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