Student Debt In A Country Without Tuition

June 2, 2013 in Daily Bulletin

In Sweden all colleges and universities are absolutely free. Yet when they graduate Swedish students have the highest debt to income ratio in the entire developed world. Matt Phillips explained this paradoxical result:

  • While college tuition might be free, food and rent aren’t. The high cost of living in Sweden means that students have to take on about US$19,000 of debt.
  • In other countries students can rely on their parents for financial help, but in Sweden there is a strong culture of independence and the belief that once a person is of college age they become an adult.
  • Students can’t even really hope to live with their parents since the low population density of the country means that it’s unlikely for parents to live close to campus.
  • Just 2% of men over 30 in Sweden live with their parents. In Italy it’s 32%.
  • Loans to students are provided by a state sponsored entity, have low interest rates, and can be paid up until the student turns 60, meaning that while the debt is high, it is manageable.

Read more about how the aversion to living with one’s parents might be the reason why Sweden is one of the few European countries where couples still have children, what other countries can learn from Sweden, and more over here.

Source: Quartz

Via: Marginal Revolution