Studying abroad in Argentina's public universities offer many advantages to students who are unable to afford tuition costs in the United States. As the economic crisis continues more students are looking for higher education opportunities that offer minimal tuition and boarding costs.
More than 90% of students attending college in Argentina attend public universities that are highly subsidized by the government. Tuition is free to all students regardless of their financial status and academic achievements. However, free- government subsidized higher education is targeted at meeting the needs of higher income groups rather than providing the needed educational access to the poor. The result is that universities are overpopulated and unable to meet the needs of the growing student population and in return, the quality of education has suffered.
There are approximately 39 Public (National) Universities that are tuition-free and are financed by the Ministry of Education. There are 46 universities that are private and/or parochial and require students to pay expensive tuition fees. These institutions of higher education enroll more than 1.5 million students each year. Universities in Argentina are founded on the Westernized educational model and offer degrees that are recognized both nationally and internationally for the quality and validity of degrees.
Public universities in Argentina are areas of highly charged political activities of the communist government. Communistic political beliefs are strongly favored as popular conversations in colleges and universities. Other political views such as capitalism are not easily accepted and are strongly discouraged in these venues.
When visiting Argentina or making the decision to study in Argentina, travelers must be aware of the strict communist government control, unplanned and eccentric government events and the political expressions of the population, including protests, strikes and demonstrations.
Like most countries, Argentina is suffering from severe political, economic and social crises which adversely affect the governments' ability to provide public funding for post-secondary education and makes living in Argentina, a communist country, more dangerous and requires greater measures for personal safety.
Tuition costs in public universities is free, however to attend a private university in Argentina it will cost students between $5,000 on the low end of the spectrum and can extend upward to $15,500 per year to earn an undergraduate degree. Undergraduate programs and some graduate programs are tuition free. More recently there are a few public universities that have implemented minimal tuition costs for graduate programs.
Living in Argentina, compared to the United States is very cheap. Housing costs are less than $350 per month and public transportation to commute back and forth to school are approximately $10 per week. On the average, a student can attend college in Argentina at a public university for less than $5,000 a year. Most recently some states in Argentina are charging minimal fees for foreign students to attend public universities.
Americans that have attended college in Argentina have had many positive experiences and say they would recommend the experience to anyone. However, these students have also offered caution about the increasing crime levels and the need to secure personal safety by knowing who, when and what events are potentially dangerous. A number of students have also reported instances of discrimination against Americans, most likely as a result of the communist political control that encourages adverse views of Americans and capitalism. Discrimination that these Americans have faced is not unlike foreigners in the United States would experience.
Before traveling to Argentina to attend college, students need to be aware of safety limitations as a result of criminal activity and governmental control. For example, Buenos Aries as recently experienced an increase in kidnapping and street robbing for money and personal belongings as well as corrupt banking practices in the local banking system. The crime rate, including an increase in street crimes and armed assaults has dramatically increased in Mendoza City. Other areas such as Cordoba and Bariloche have large populations of English speaking residents and offer safer living arrangements for students studying abroad.
Argentina has many specific travel and residency visa requirements that are easily navigated for well informed students. Argentina also has laws that restrict the rental of unfurnished apartments and in some instances require renters to have locals co-sign on lease agreements. This may be difficult for students traveling to the area for the first time; however there are real estate agencies that are designed to help foreign travelers with living accommodations.