Could you please explain to me the difference between the words tuition and education?

There was a sentence: She pays her own __________.

And I had a number of answer choices:
lessons / classes / tuition / education

I chose education, but the right answer was tuition. Please help me! (Why was tuition correct and education incorrect?)

  • Of the four, only one can mean money: tuition. If you want to talk about the other three, you need for, e.g. She pays for her own classes. Commented Apr 15, 2015 at 9:39
  • The full text was: Brenda rents an apartment with three other roommates. She pays her own ... and also she pays most of her expenses.
    – Ann
    Commented Apr 15, 2015 at 10:25
  • Tuition without any qualifier - fees, private etc sounds very AmE to me, BrE would almost always qualify that it involved payment, or add the 'for', same as the other alternatives. oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/… Commented Apr 15, 2015 at 10:34
  • 1
    You should edit your question to include the information you put in your comment. The context is important to make the question clearer.
    – user6951
    Commented Apr 15, 2015 at 11:41

2 Answers 2


The only noun in the list (tuition, education, lessons, classes) that can be the direct object of the verb 'pay' is 'tuition'.

If we change the verb to 'pay for', then the only word that would not work is 'tuition'.

She pays {'money', or a noun analogous to 'money'}.

She pays for {something that can be bought}.

Tuition is the cost of education, i.e. what the student must pay to receive the education.


"Education" is the thing you are getting. "Tuition" is what you pay for it. You can't "pay education", you can only pay a charge of some sort. Likewise you could say, "She pays her own rent" but not "She pays her own apartment", or, in general, "She pays her own X bill" (where "X" could be "grocery", "electricity", "laundry", whatever), but not "She pays her own X".

You could say, "She pays FOR her own education".

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