Education and Tuition: even "free" has a price tag
Education of any kind, whether basic elementary education or a university degree, has always come with a price. Ancient Egyptians paid high taxes, part of which paid for the privileged youth ages 5 to 17 to be schooled by the priests. Following an intense education in reading, writing and practical education in the office for which a student was being prepared, he entered the temple college where he studied under the supervision of the government and priests and became either a scribe or a priest.
The Romans, hundreds of years later, took a different approach, at least for what we would consider elementary and secondary education. A paid tutor often lived with the family. The master of the house provided food and clothes according to the ranking of the household. The teacher was also paid in denarii communes, which were notational currency that could be exchanged for coins made of precious medals. An elementary teacher would have received an average of 50 denarii per month while a teacher of rhetoric or public speaking—the equivalent of today's high school teacher—could have been paid as much as 250 denarii per month per student. This salary allowed the teacher to live comfortably although not extravagantly. It was also sufficiently expensive to ensure that only the wealthy upper class would have a thorough education.
The following chart is a brief list over time of types of schooling and the approximate cost at various points in history. Specific information regarding tuition is obscure, but costs appear to be minimal,being primarily the cost of living, until the 19th century. Colleges in Europe were supported by taxes, endowments, and benefactors. American colleges had tuition fees almost from their beginnings. The tuition is negligible by today's standards, but one must remember that a $15.00 tuition per year would be a lot of money to someone who might be earning only 15 cents a day for work.