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Spain to go beyond Erasmus mobility

Spain has recently removed the entrance exam (Selectividad) as an enrolment requirement for international undergraduate students and will abolish it completely for Spanish students by 2017. Students from the EU and China were already exempt provided they had passed their country’s entrance exam, but other prospective students from abroad had to sit for the exam in Spanish in their home countries in order to qualify for the study programmes in Spain. From now on, the only mandatory requirement will be a certificate equivalent to the Baccalaureate degree in Spain while the responsibility for the testing and admission rules will be on universities themselves. 

Although this decision by the Minister of Education José Ignacio Wert has sparked some criticism as an additional burden placed on universities, many higher education institutions have welcomed the government's move, particularly those with already high numbers of international students. Removing the entrance exam is seen as removing a big hurdle to attracting foreign students to the country. Spain is already a popular Erasmus destination and this step may prove to be a bullseye to increasing long-term incoming mobility. Each year around 7 000 students sit for the entrance exam but after eliminating such a barrier, the number of incoming students may go up substantially. Universities do expect an increase, particularly from the countries in Latin America and the north of Africa. 

Minister Wert has qualified the Selectividad exam as ‘an absolute anomaly in the international landscape’ and an obstacle that prevents Spanish universities from becoming more international.  

The image shows the numbers of international students in Spain. 


El País