Go to College Free—Abroad

By College PlanningConsumer Reports

If your son or daughter is a senior in high school and plans to go to college, the next few months will be filled with moments that run the gamut of emotions. You’ll also get a heavy dose of reality—rising college costs are among the only certainties in this world, just like death and taxes.

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Wouldn’t it be great if college were free? Actually, some colleges in the United States are free to all students. And if you and your child are willing to expand your horizons beyond the U.S. borders, you have many additional free options.

Several countries generously allow American students who apply and are accepted to earn a college degree at the same price that the locals pay—zero. Not a bad deal when you consider that the average cost of tuition and fees for the 2013–2014 school year was more than $30,000 at private colleges, nearly $8,900 for state residents at public colleges, and more than $22,000 for out-of-state students attending public universities, according to the College Board.

Read our parents’ guide to saving for college. If your kid is in college, send her these back-to-college health tips. Also, make sure you can help your college-age student in an emergency.

Some universities have miscellaneous fees for registration, books, and other incidentals. And there are travel and living expenses to consider. But all of that might be a small price to pay for tuition-free degree and what could be the adventure of a lifetime.

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These countries have free-tuition universities for American and other international undergraduates:

If none of these countries are of interest to you and you are willing to pay just a little more than nothing, check into the public universities in these countries, where tuition fees are negligible, depending on course of study: Argentina, Austria, France, Malaysia, Mexico, Spain, and Turkey.

—Susan Feinstein

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