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Eurydice’s new report on National Student Fee and Support systems 2018/2019

In November 2019 Eurydice published its annual report on National Student Fee and Support Systems in European Higher Education for the year 2018/2019. The report focuses on fees and support in public or government-dependent private higher education institutions (HEIs). Information covers the 28 EU Member States as well as Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Montenegro, Norway, Serbia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Turkey. The report shows how fee and support systems (including grants and loans) interact in higher education (HE) in Europe. The information is structured in two main parts: 
1) a comparative overview, which focuses mainly on fees and support for first-cycle full-time home students, while also outlining differences between study cycles, full-time and part-time studies, and home and international students;
2) a set of national information sheets, which describe the situation of first-, second-, and short-cycle HE students (the third cycle is excluded), as well as part-time and international students. 
Concerning fees, the report finds that: 
  • the proportion of HE students paying fees varies greatly across Europe: of the 43 countries considered, 9 have in place a systematic no-fee policy for first-cycle full-time home students (both nordic and southern countries) while in 11 HE systems all first-cycle students pay fees. Around half of the studied systems are between these two extremities;
  • the amounts that students pay differ greatly across countries: annual fees corresponding to more than EUR 100 are recorded in slightly more than half of all studied HE systems. In 12 systems, most fee-payers pay between EUR 101 and 1,000, while in 8 systems, the most common fee is relatively high, ranging from EUR 1,001 to 3,000. The highest most common annual amounts (around EUR 10 000) are charged in the UK; 
  • Fees in short-cycle HE are generally similar to those in the first-cycle;
  • Performance in secondary education sometimes influences fees paid in HE;
  • Insufficient ECTS credits or extended duration of studies may imply higher fees;
  • Part-time students are often more likely to pay fees than full-timers;
  • Fees for international students commonly differ from those for nationals.
Regarding financial support, the report finds that: 

  • all European countries offer financial support to HE students, with the exception of Iceland and the UK (the latter having stopped providing grants only recently); 
  • grants are allocated to students based on various criteria: family income, special educational needs, orphan status or merit;
  • loans, on the other hand, are in place in most countries, but widely used only in some;
  • access to direct public financial support (grants and loan) is often limited by age (usually 20);
  • around half of all European countries offer financial support for students’ parents (tax relief/benefit or family allowance). 
Link to the full report here