Free Higher Education

On and Off the Agenda with the Political Tide

  • Ariane de Gayardon University of Twente
Keywords: Free tuition, United States, New Zealand, income targeted


This article provides an update on the international free tuition movement as of 2020. Through the examples of the United States and New Zealand, it shows that free tuition is a highly politicized issue used by policy makers who need to gain power. The economic crisis stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic will, however, make such an expansive policy unviable in the short-term, but might be an opportunity for income-targeted free tuition to develop.

Author Biography

Ariane de Gayardon, University of Twente

Ariane de Gayardon is a postdoctoral researcher at the Center for Higher Education Policy Studies (CHEPS), University of Twente, the Netherlands. Email:

How to Cite
de Gayardon, A. (2021). Free Higher Education. International Higher Education, (107), 7-8. Retrieved from