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Get Your Free Education In Europe’s High Lattitudes

August 15, 2008

So I’m innocently reading this entry at the Chronicle blog until I get here, and my mouth drops:

Students from outside the 27-nation European Union and the European Economic Area now enjoy access to free higher education in Finland, but the new law would impose tuition on non-European students enrolled in certain master’s programs, including those taught “in foreign languages and those with an international orientation,” the newspaper says.

Wait, some are complaining because “certain master’s programs” will no longer be free? Holy smokes. Then I kept reading:

Meanwhile, Sweden’s higher-education minister said recently that similar changes were likely to take effect in that Nordic country in 2010 as well. According to the online publication The Local, the minister, Lars Leijonborg, told Svenska Dagbladet, a leading newspaper, that the government had reached agreement on the controversial issue and was now united in its belief that Swedish universities needed to be able to charge foreign students tuition in the way that American and British universities have long done. Student groups oppose the plan and worry that it is the first step toward charging tuition to Swedish students as well.

Keep in mind that Sweden’s decision here only applies to foreign students. What Mr. Leijonborg isn’t telling Sweden’s critics is that we charge the same to everyone, not just foreign students. We’re democratic like that—no benefits for citizens here.

And why did I leave the University of Missouri with more student loan debt than some Missourians (in the Ozarks at least) owe on their homes? Because I’m not a citizen of the European Union—a confederacy that cares more for its citizens than does our federation. Ridiculous. – TL

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