The European system of "free college" isn't what many here thinks it is

It’s my impression that many people here in US view the European systems of higher education with the notion that everyone in those countries, after high school, goes to a four year college for free to further their academic interests and pursuits, whatever they may be. I would hope that many here though realize that is not the case. Nonetheless the modern liberal politician wants to offer “free” college to any and all who wants to go. We often hear about how European countries like Finland do this, but is that really how it works? Here was a good article about just this very topic:

Here are a few key points from the article:

Finland offers a nice deal for students only if they are lucky and talented enough to get in. In 2016, Finnish institutions of higher education accepted just 33 percent of applicants. That’s the degree of selectivity we’d expect from an elite college in America, yet that is the admissions rate for Finland’s entire university system……

The Finnish example reveals a reality often glossed over by politicians and activists who advocate mimicking European-style free-college regimes in the United States: government budgets are finite , even when taxes are high……

While some countries prioritize a heavily subsidized higher-education system and others pursue a high college attainment rate, the evidence suggests that it’s almost impossible for a nation to do everything at once. No large country ranks in the top third of developed nations on all three measures . A nation inevitably has to pick and choose what its higher-education system should emphasize.”

Not sure if it’s still the case but in most of Western Europe you used to have to take a test after 2 years of HS and that test divided the students between those headed for trade schools and those who would then be on an academic track.

You also if you were lucky enough to get into college restricted to majors that you were qualified for and there was nothing like a General Studies degree or other useless degree that would leave you with a diploma but unemployable.

1 Like

“Lucky”? “Talented”? “Test”?

What the hell!?! You mean it’s merit based? THAT’S NOT FAIR!

They must all be the same color.


The more I have been studying this that’s what I have been finding. How you test in high schools determines what career tract you can go on to. As far as I understand it they have a merit based system, which makes logical sense. Economically it makes no sense to have a system that encourages everyone to go to college when more than half would not be able to handle the more academically challenging degree paths.

Countries that are more ethnically monolithic can do that because no one can cry racism.

It’s good that you get me.

So New Hampshire is cleared hot.

1 Like

Is any mainstream candidate advocated for the abolition of the college applications process? I’ve never heard that colleges would be admitting anyone who wanted to go. Seems like a straw man argument.

Here is another article supporting that:

“In most of those countries, the money for college is not given to the student; it is given directly to the institution. The system is heavily regulated. Which university one is admitted to is determined by scores on national exams. The same is true for which program one can get into. The government controls how many slots are available in each professional program at the graduate and post-graduate level. In some countries, many are allowed entry into the first year of college, but the number allowed to go on is much smaller and depends on how well a student does during that first year. In most of the advanced industrial countries, there are very few private institutions and they are widely regarded as inferior to the public ones. Because the government funds the institutions directly, it is in a much better position to control the costs by limiting access and to direct how the money is spent than is the United States government.”

Ok. And?

That won’t work here…cuz…in Liberobia…everyone gets a trophy…amirite? :sunglasses:


:rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl: your society can’t do merit.


And “allowed”.

And the current crop of ideas like Bernie’s would likely end up being very similar once they started looking at the numbers. Another unrealistic campaign promise from another political candidate, it’s par for the course. Trump did it, Obama did it, Bush did it, Clinton did it and right on down the line.

Yeah, that’s why all colleges have a 100% acceptance rate.

You don’t live in reality.

1 Like

Dumb baby boomers gave trophies to everyone.

Yes, we call them democrats.


Yep…but the smart ones just shook their heads and told them it was a bad idea…just like I’m still doing. :sunglasses:

Ok, if you say so. I don’t think I’m the one with the reality problem.


Pretty sure it has more to do with the quality of life, but I know it’s more fun to take potshots at a “them”.

Isn’t it also true that in much of Western Europe, many students are not even recommended for a college preparatory course of study from an early age?

In Germany, a low cost college education is possible, but not totally free. Low birth rates in that country, and many students being tracked not to enter college, but to learn a trade, probably help make this possible.