Society

Should Brazilian public universities charge tuition fees?

Debates over whether Brazil's public universities should remain free have taken over social media, with pro- and anti-Bolsonaro lawmakers suggesting solutions. Experts, however, are wary

Should Brazilian public universities charge tuition fees?
University of Brasília. Photo: Paralaxis/Shutterstock

Brazil’s public higher education model is littered with issues. First, it is elitist: 40 percent of the students come from the wealthiest 20 percent of the population. It also doesn’t offer enough vacancies, with private universities making up 76 percent of all enrollments. And, finally, it’s expensive, consuming around 1 percent of the annual GDP, more than in countries such as the U.S. and Israel.

Even though public university students do not pay tuition fees and there are affirmative action mechanisms in place to offer places to black and low-income students, studying at one of these schools...

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