In line with higher tertiary enrolment rates, consumer expenditure on education has grown rapidly. Globally, spending increased by 20% in real terms from 2011 to 2016, and is forecast to increase by a further 21% to 2021. This was fuelled partly by rising tuition fees and partly by higher demand for tertiary education in emerging markets.
Governments are increasingly shifting the cost of tertiary education to students and families, but there are considerable variations in tuition fees from country to country. There are still no fees in around 40 countries, including Brazil, Sweden, Finland and Germany. In others, such as Belgium, Colombia and France, fees are relatively low. However, fees in the US, the UK and Japan amount to thousands of dollars. Indeed, the average student loan debt in the US was USD 37,000 in 2016 – up 6% on the previous year.
Globally, the outstanding balance on education lending amounted to an enormous USD 1.94 trillion in 2016, having soared by 34% in real terms since 2011. By 2021, education lending is forecast to grow by a further 17%. Lending was highest in the US, Japan and the UK, while period growth was strongest in the UK, China and Mexico.
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