The United States spends more per student on colleges and universities than virtually every other country in the developed world, according to the latest statistics released by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
American universities spend $30,165 per full-time equivalent student, nearly twice the rich-world average of $15,556, according to the report. Among developed nations, only the tiny grand duchy of Luxembourg spends more.
The OECD adjusts its spending figures for cost-of-living differences across nations. The United States retains its second-place ranking regardless of whether one looks at total higher education spending including research and development, or core educational spending only.
Activists often blame insufficient government subsidies for high college tuition in the United States. While public funding does account for a relatively low share of college costs in America, these figures suggest that high tuition is largely driven by elevated underlying costs, not government tightfistedness.