I was thinking of Linus Torvalds, who described in an interview with Terry Gross how his university education was free, and he got a stipend for his living expenses, so he could sit in his dorm room playing computer games, which is where he came up with the idea of Linux.
I don't think there is a great class divide in Finland, the way we have in the US. It has the greatest equality of income, and the greatest social mobility, in the world.
I could also give the example of City College of New York, which graduated a dozen Nobel laureates https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Nobel_laureates_affiliated_with_the_City_University_of_New_York If you go to the Nobel prize web site and read their biographies, you'll see that most of them came from working-class families -- their parents were tailors and butchers. City College also graduated titans of industry, like Andrew Grove, founder of Intel, who created the modern computer revolution. During that time, the City University system was free. The upper-class kids fought it out with the working-class kids, and the smartest, hardest-working kids won. A free university system is a meritocracy. The lazy rich kids went to NYU and Columbia.
Now City University is charging tuition, and it's much harder to duplicate that success.