Earlier this month, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced the College for All Act, a bill which aims to greatly ameliorate the cost of a college education for all Americans. The bill is nothing if not timely, given that roughly 8 million people defaulted on their student loans in 2016, and Americans currently carry over $1 trillion in student debt collectively.
New York has also made strides to address the issue and earlier this week, became the first state to offer free tuition for residents to any of its universities or community colleges, as long as their household makes less than $125,000 a year. It's a move that comes on the heels of the similar policy introduced in San Francisco that took effect in February
But despite these efforts to help reduce the number of people accruing student debt, some Americans are simply going to school abroad to save money.
As Ray Franke, an assistant professor of higher education at the University of Massachusetts, told ATTN: "Foreign enrollment in the U.S. is down, and it's actually increased in Canada; one of the reasons being that universities there are so much cheaper."
He noted that lots of American students are realizing they can save money by receiving their education outside of the country. "Studying abroad has so many benefits," he said and pointed out that students who travel outside the U.S. for their education can learn more about their new country's language and culture during their university tenure.
So, if you're thinking about studying abroad and want to avoid crippling debt, here's a list of some of the top countries to consider.
Besides receiving the designation of the world's "happiest country", Norway is also a great place to study abroad. The country has free college tuition at its public universities—even for foreign students. And don't worry if you don't speak Norwegian, as many classes are offered in English. The only thing that might give you pause is Norway's notoriously cold winters.
Germany is another place where Americans can go for tuition-free higher education. Furthermore, Germany offers over 900 programs in English, so it's easy to get a degree without being proficient in German. The country also has highly rated schools, so you can count on receiving a good education.
Sweden is another country that has free college, and it's also ranked as one of the happiest countries in the world. That doesn't mean there won't be some expenses to attending college there. The cost of living in Sweden is high so many students still graduate with debt, despite having received free tuition. They still graduate with less debt than Americans.
France's isn't tuition-free, but it is extremely cheap.Going to college in France costs you a few hundred dollars a year, and many English programs are offered. It used to be required to speak French to go to school in the country, but the policy has since been changed. And it's also relevant that less than 2 percent of French students ever take out a loan during college.
Finally, our most expensive selection of the cheap colleges: Finland. College is free for Finland residents, who can also boast of living in one of the happiest countries in the world, but starting in 2017, international students from non-EU countries have to pay tuition, an estimated $1,600 per year. But while this makes Finland the country with the most expensive education program on this list, it's worth noting that the average cost for an education at a private college in the United States is still $33,480 a year, according to the College Board.