Financial support for students: the European picture

Education + Training

ISSN: 0040-0912

Article publication date: 1 February 2000




(2000), "Financial support for students: the European picture", Education + Training, Vol. 42 No. 1.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

Financial support for students: the European picture

Financial support for students: the European picture

Keywords: Students, Europe, Grants, Loans

Some 30 per cent of students in European countries receive a grant and 12 per cent receive loans, according to a survey by the information network on education in Europe, Eurydice. Financial Support in Higher Education in Europe: Trends and Debates reveals that public assistance paid to students represents some 20 per cent of higher-education spending, or a total annual budget of almost 12 billion euros.

An average 3 per cent of the European population is enrolled in full-time higher education. The figure is highest in Spain and Finland (4 per cent) and lowest in Sweden and the UK (2 per cent). Students do not pay tuition fees in around half of European countries. Tuition fees are charged in Belgium, France, Ireland, Iceland, The Netherlands, the UK and all the countries of southern Europe. Amounts vary from one country to the next, and sometimes from one type of institution or area of study to the next. In all cases, the amount of student contribution depends on parental income.

The kinds of state help offered to students include subsidised transport, accommodation and restaurant services. In half of European countries, students are considered to be dependent on their parents, who receive tax allowances. Several countries target their support on a limited number of students selected with reference to parental income. Others provide support for a majority of students.

The study reveals that the idea that students should be treated as financially independent of their parents has grown steadily stronger in the Nordic countries over the last 30 years. Elsewhere, however, the principle of parental responsibility for the financial wellbeing of their student offspring remains firmly established. Most students in Belgium, Greece and Ireland are aged 18-23. In France, Spain, The Netherlands and the UK, most students are aged 19-25. Most students in Portugal, Sweden, Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Germany, Austria and Finland are between 20 and 30.

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