Every Danish student receives about $900 (5,839 Danish krones) per month under a scheme known as SU (Statens Uddannelsesstøtte). The generous financial support does not have to be paid back even if students drop out, and the only major requirement for students to receive the full amount is that they do not live with their parents. Students receive the free funding for a maximum of six years, starting at the age of 18. Those who are particularly successful are eligible to receive additional payments.

“Some Danish think that we spend the money we receive in bars and clubs, but most students understand what is at stake: The scheme’s existence is crucial to enable an excellent education for everybody, no matter how much their parents make,” said Danish student Astrid Winther Fischer, who studies at Denmark’s Technical University to the north of Copenhagen. Various companies offer special student discounts for cinemas, buses, trains or museums, Christoffersen added.

Other European countries, such as Germany, have similar, but privatized schemes. For instance, many companies offer dual degree programs that involve practical training at work as well as semesters spent in a college environment. Those students are paid their salary by their companies even when they are studying. In doing so, companies hope to entice promising talents early on.