“‘The aim of the support scheme is to ensure that it is not the social and economic standing of potential students but abilities and interests that decides about educational success’”
Since 1985, college costs in the U.S. have surged by 500%. Yet, President Obama’s plan to make community college education free has faced harsh criticism. Yet, across the Atlantic, Danish students are not only receiving a free education -- they are being paid to go to college. Does it truly work for both students and the government? Danish students receive the funding as long as they are students, they do not live with their parents, and they are over the age of 18. The payments may last as long as six years, as long as requirements are met. Other countries, such as Germany, also offer lucrative education deals for students. Germany’s is a privatized, similar form of education: for instance, many students are paid a salary while studying by companies that hope they can acquire promising talent early-on. Opponents of free-education systems say that students will earn non-practical degrees and fail to meet the demand of the labor market. However, Denmark’s youth unemployment rate is sitting at 11% -- lower than the rest of Europe as well as that of the United States. Opponents also voice concerns over the amount of STEM graduates in Denmark. But recent reports that studied OECD nations from 1990-2010 show that inequality and a lack of access to education in most developed countries has done far more to hamper economic growth than eliminating college costs. In fact, Denmark was one of the few nations to face nearly no economic consequences. Could a free-education system truly fare well elsewhere in the OECD? Potentially. Regardless, students will have to be the catalysts for reform.