How does higher education work in America?

posted 3 years ago in College
Post # 3
10219 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

To @HappyK:  well I can answer for Canada…

In Canada we have BOTH Colleges and Universities.  Colleges here are Community Colleges and issue Diplomas, or Certificates… for the most part not Undergraduate Degrees.  Colleges offer mostly skilled trades (ie. Dental Hygenist, Interior Designer, Culinary Arts, Plumber, Parametic etc)

Universities offer Degree Programs… Bachelors, Masters, PHD.

In BOTH situations… College or Uni, here like in the USA each person pays upfront (pay as you go).  Tuition varies depending on your field of study, how many credits you take, and whether you are a resident of the Province in which the school is located (this is because there is a Provincial Subsidy paid to Schools for the Students that apply from within the Province).  Out of Province Students pay more… and Out of Country Students even more.

One can apply for Scholarships, Bursaries, and Loans… but there is never any guarantee that one will qualify / get one.

Fortunately for us, generally speaking getting a Higher Education in Canada is a lot cheaper than the USA (again this has to do with Government Funding).  Where you’ll hear ASTRONOMICAL numbers for Tuition in the USA… things are bit more reasonable here.

The low of straight Tuition, Books & Supplies for a Student going to an In Province School and living at home (with their Parents) would be probably around $ 5,000 to $ 7,000 per year (2 Semesters).  And the high for a Student living away for the 8 months (Tuition, Books, Supplies, Room & Board) out of Province could easily be $ 15,000 to $ 20,000 or more.

Hope this helps,


Post # 4
3016 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2014 - Prague

This is basically true for the US as well. Just add on at LEAST $10k a year. 🙁

Post # 5
1137 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

In Mexico we have a lot of public Universities. I am getting a degree and paying 300 pesos (about 25 dollars) each semester, with my scholarship, in the best university of the state. Those who don’t have a scholarship pay about 2500 pesos or so, maybe.

Post # 6
1802 posts
Buzzing bee

@HappyK:  we pay way too much money to try and give ourselves a leg up in the workforce, and then we get stuck paying back thousands of dollars six months after graduation even though none of us have jobs. That’s about it in a nutshell. I’m constantly fighting with my advisor because she thinks I should quit my job during the semester, but if I did I wouldn’t be able to pay for school!

Post # 7
3246 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

We take out private and/or government loans to pay for education. I was fortunate to pay off my undergrad loans with money my grandmother left me when she passed. I had to pay grad school by myself (loans about 40,000$ for 2 years), so I will pay about $400/month for 10 years (and of course there is interest). My DH pays about $250/ month in loans so we may about $650 total. I am lucky though because we both have jobs and are able to pay. I have several friends with over 100k in loans who are struggling to pay them because they cant find decent jobs.

Post # 8
920 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

America is very different from Austrailia. We can get federal loans to pay for school, but in most cases they have to be paid back within 10 years after you graduate. If you are low income you can extend that period. Also there are private bank loans which take on a much higher interest rate sometimes. 

The amount of federal loans you qualify for is dwpendent on your income and your family’s income. 

The system in Australia seems pretty awesome! 

Post # 9
2551 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

There are a lot of personal decisions that factor into this. For example, whether you choose a public or a private school – there are a lot of people who believe that private is better, and end up paying $40K/year for a liberal arts degree (i.e., an expensive degree that doesn’t come with a job after graduation :)). I chose a sciences degree at a public school and have less than $5K in debt to pay back to a govt loan, which I do at a slow convenient rate.

Also, I was lucky enough to grow up in Florida, which has a scholarship program called “Bright Futures”. That scholarship offers any Florida resident student who chooses to go to a Florida state school a percentage of their tuition covered depending on their GPA – i.e., I had a 4.0 GPA, they covered 100% of my tuition. A 3.0 might get 75% tuition, etc. This is a scholarship system sponsored by the lottery. Some other states have similar programs, like Georgia.

Graduate school is a different story, depending on your degree – I get all my tuition paid and a stipend to live on each year, so I won’t have any debt from that. Other degrees will charge for their tuition, but they take less time than my program.

Post # 10
2831 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

some schools offer scholarships, but most people take out private loans or government loans in order to attend college/university. i’m $59,000 in debt from 3 years of college, and i didn’t finish the degree. so i’ve gotta figure out how i’m gonna finish, since i moved away from the school i was attending, due to personal issues and family issues back here at home.

Post # 11
251 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2015

@HappyK:  We usually get loans in Canada and pay it back after we graduate if we make enough money to do so. My tuition with dental/prescription drugs/vision and added healthcare with gym membership each semester is 1500 (this is for a university and thats paid for by my loans until I graduate)

Post # 12
253 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

I won’t repeat what others have already said (they’re pretty spot on) but basically for a lot of people, undergraduate education in America is a ridiculously overpriced 4-year-long summer camp for adult babies where people are encouraged to goof off and be all “experimental” and shit while they’re are away from their parents. I personally think other countries eg Australia do a much better job of educating and preparing young people for jobs. LOL

Post # 13
4072 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: January 2014

Yep. In the US we pay for higher education ourselves. Public universities are around $10k a year, but it varies. Private is easily $40k or more a year. We go to school for four years typically. 

To pay, either financially well off parents contribute, or else we take out loans. Scholarships can often cover a great deal, but not everyone gets them. The government also gives out money in the form of Pell Grants, which can be up to $5k a year.

It’s really horrible. The poor, unless they are fortunate enough to receive a ton of scholarships, are kept out of higher education. This often means minorities don’t receive the opportunity. I went to a rather poor high school, where minorities made up 70% of the population. When I went to uni I was shocked at how white it was, honestly. There is such an imbalance.

Post # 14
5207 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: February 2013

@HappyK:  Australia sounds wonderful! Higher education is very expensive in the U.S. and costs continue to rise every year. Some students get scholarships, some students have their parents pay for their tuition, but most of them take out loans. My parents paid half and I took out loans for the rest and it took me 7 years to pay them off. 

Post # 15
10453 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: January 2011

@This Time Round:  Out of province students do not pay more at the universities and colleges here; only international students.


There are private schools here that may have similar tuition to the US, but they aren’t as common.  I think going to school to become a chiropractor is similar between the US and Canada.  Most (all?) of the big universities and colleges are public.


If people get loans, they tend to be provincial and federal only for most undergrad programs.  Bank loans are also possible, but from the people I know most avoid them unless they go into medicine, dentistry, etc.  Some provinces have a forgiveness program, so once you are done a portion of the loan is forgiven.

Post # 16
1535 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

@This Time Round:  +1

I’m a Canadian uni nursing student. Tuition for me is $6,500 per year + textbooks (so expensive),+parking pass. When you add in car insurance/gas it gets way up there.

I was lucky enough to get a bursary from the school and government for a total of $3,000

I work to pay everything off and haven’t borrowed any money yet, but I still have 2 more years, so I may have to in the future (it’s getting hard to pay for)

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