Edition 187 - November 2016

Eurydice reveals tuition-fee and support structures for students across the EU

Eurydice has published its annual report, that evaluates student fee and support systems across 28 European countries, as well as Bosnia and Herzegovina, Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Montenegro, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Norway, Serbia and Turkey. Titled ‘National Student Fee and Support Systems in European Higher Education for 2016/17’, the findings provide comparative insights and address questions as- which students pay tuition fees, the level of fees applied, and the extent to which students are supported financially in the course of their studies in public or state dependant higher education institutions.

Findings show that in the vast majority of national contexts apply fees to a low percentage of students while simultaneously spilling out grants to a low proportion of beneficiaries. Countries as Germany, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Poland, Slovenia and Turkey charge fees below or up to 100EUR for first-cycle studies. On the other side, between 30% – 50% of students are charged fees in countries as Lithuania, Hungary and Romania. These type of tuition models mainly apply to the fraction of students who pursue education on non-state subsidised places, not eligible for national grants, which means that this group needs to rely on alternative means of financial support, such as employment alongside studies.

This year round, the report takes into account not only fees and support to students at Bachelor and Master level, but also for those enrolled in short cycle programmes and part-time study. Just above 30% of European education systems are found not to differentiate between full and part-time students when applying study fees. Fees a student studying in Europe may pay on average range between EUR 100-3000, the UK topping the list with fees far exceeding the upper limit institutions charge on average. There is variance across Europe in whether applied fees are conditioned on actual programme cost or the anticipated future income of graduates, making prominent programmes in countries as Romania, Spain, Estonia and Bulgaria significantly costlier.  In most European education systems students are widely supported by grants or loans that are needs or merit-based, although exceptions as Iceland, Serbia and Latvia refrain from offering financial support in relation to a students social and economic standing. 

These comparative findings highlight realities faced by a contemporary student body ready and encouraged to evaluate study opportunities all over Europe. Work remains in braking down mobility barriers - findings showing that in almost three-quarters of the countries international students pay higher fees than their national peers –  where challenges persist in equipping students from all socio-economic and cultural backgrounds with equitable conditions in their mobility choice.

Eurydice – full report 

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