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Tuition payments, known primarily as tuition in American English and as tuition fees in British English, Canadian English, Australian English, New Zealand English and Indian English, refers to a fee charged for educational instruction during higher education.
Tuition payments are charged by educational institutions in some countries to assist with funding of staff and faculty, course offerings, lab equipment, computer systems, libraries, facility upkeep and to provide a comfortable student learning experience. In most countries, especially in non-English-speaking countries, there are no or only nominal tuition fees for all forms of education, including university and other higher education.
Some methods students use to pay for the cost of tuition include:
Tuition is one of the costs of a post-secondary education in the U.S. The total cost of college in the U.S. is called the cost of attendance or the "sticker price" and in addition to tuition it can include room and board, travel expenses, books, fees, and other expenses such as computers.
Austria, Chile, the Netherlands, South Africa, the USA, and the UK all have “up-front tuition policies." These policies generally include a tuition fee that is large enough that it gives parents “a responsibility to cover some portion of their children’s higher education costs." The parental responsibility inherent to this type of tuition can make it difficult for a low-income student to attend college without help from some kind of financial aid from grants or loans.
Tuition changes at different rates from one type of institution to the next. Net tuition indices mark an increase in the “relative real burden” for payments at various types of institutions for higher education. In the period between 1980 and 1995, this burden increased by approximately 80 percent for students at public universities and by 148 percent for students at private universities.
Most students (and their families) who pay for tuition and other education costs don't have enough savings to pay in full while they are in school. Some students must work and/or borrow money to afford an education. In the U.S., student financial aid is available to defray the cost of a post-secondary education. Financial aid and tuition go hand in hand. “Financial aid is typically thought to exert the most influence in [attendance], when admitted students consider whether to enroll in a particular institution.” It is often the case that the lower the cost of the school, the more likely a student is to attend.
Developed countries have adopted a dual scheme for education: while basic (i.e. high-school) education is supported by taxes rather than tuition, higher education is usually given for fee or tuition.
People may purchase tuition insurance to protect themselves from fees related to involuntary withdrawal (for example, illness or death of a legal guardian).
In medieval Europe, the universities were institutions of the Roman Catholic Church. As they mainly trained clergy, most of these universities did not have any need to exact fees from the students with one notable exception of the University of Paris that started collecting two sous weekly in tuition under Pierre Le Mangeur. Their situation was comparable with the modern corporate universities and military academies.
Later in most Protestant countries, the main duty of the universities was the training of future civil servants. Again, it was not in the interest of the state to charge tuition fees, as this would have decreased the quality of civil servants. On the other hand, the number of students from the lower classes was usually kept in check by the expenses of living during the years of study, although as early as the middle 19th century there were calls for limiting the university entrance by middle-class persons. However, a typical family could not afford educating a son, let alone a daughter, even if the education itself was free. A similar situation exists today in many Third World countries, where the expenses of "free" school (e.g., food, books, school uniform) prevent some children from attending even primary school.
After World War II, an enhanced standard of living and the existence of free university education in many countries enabled more working-class youths to receive a degree, resulting in the inflation of education and enlarged middle classes. In countries with tuition fees, similar progress was effected with state study loans, grants, scholarships, the G.I. Bill, and other financial instruments. It has been proposed[who?] that the strong class separations visible in British society result from the fact that the expansion of education there has been less efficient than in continental Europe.
The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act is a current piece of legislation that is under the senate floor. The DREAM Act will allow the estimated 50-65,000 undocumented student in America to gain instate tuition as well as a path towards citizenship. This law will only be applied to those students who have physical proof of being in the United States before the age of 18. This Act has been a large debate for numerous groups, the senate itself, institutions, and families.
As of March 2013, undocumented students are required to pay in between $20,000-$35,000 for their local public university. These tuition amounts have not allowed many of those 50,000-65,000 students to receive their secondary education due to their families economic status. On top of having to pay a higher tuition, these students are not allowed to get any federal loans, grants, or scholarships due to not being able to have a social security number.
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