Bulgarian Tuition Fee Loans Now Open To UK/Irish Students
Written on Wednesday, 22 May 2013 03:00

Bulgarian Universities have confirmed to EUNiCAS that EU students, under the age of 35, can access the Bulgarian Tuition Fee Loan system.There are three banks in Bulgaria that have been authorised by the Bulgarian Ministry of Education to offer student loans.

Through this system, EUNiCAS is advised that students who have enrolled on a programme at a Bulgarian University can apply for a loan, to cover tuition fees, directly from one of these authorised banks. Apparently, it takes less than a week after the student presents the required documents for loan approval to come through. On approval, the bank transfers the tuition fee into the bank account of the relevant university. Note that annual interest rate on this loan is 7%.

It is important to note that EUNiCAS has not been in touch with any UK/Irish student in receipt of this loan but this could be because they haven’t been aware of them. EUNICAS would appreciate hearing from any UK/Irish student who has availed of this opportunity.

There are increasing numbers of UK and Irish students applying to Bulgarian universities [Medical University of Varna, Medical University of Sofia and Medical University of Pleven] to study Medicine and Dentistry. Though fees of Eur8000 pa are lower than in most other Eastern European countries, they are still beyond the means of many students. This facility could open up opportunities otherwise closed to this group of students.

Below: the city of Varna

French Universities Threatened by English Language
Written on Friday, 19 April 2013 16:25

The French newspaper Le Figaro reported this week that many French academics [but by no means all] and other champions of the French language are feeling "threatened" by a new measure, included in the Higher Education and Research [HSR] statute, that will open the way for universities to teach entire programmes through English. The HSR is due to come into force later this year.

Under legislation passed in 2000 to protect the French language, it is currently compulsory to teach university courses in French except in clearly defined cases – foreign language studies, or if the education is given by a visiting foreign academic. Examinations and thesis presentations must be in French. Some institutions manage to circumvent the rules, but they are technically breaking the law. Geneviève Fioraso, minister for higher education and research, now intends to loosen universities’ linguistic shackles.

In the hope of increasing France’s share of international students, the HSR law will allow universities to teach in in English – when courses are part of an agreement with a foreign or international institution, or part of a European programme. Fioraso said that opposition to the reform was about “a resistance to change. To attract young Indians we must offer education in English. For Koreans to get to Proust, we must go via English."

Above: Sciences Po: one of the only French Universities to currently offer an entire undergraduate programme though English

The Académie Française, constitutional guardian of the French language, issued a declaration against the “attack on the status of the French language in universities”. It wished to “draw attention to the dangers of a measure which is presented as a technical application, while in reality it promotes marginalisation of our language”.

In an opinion piece, Le Figaro claimed the new measure “was insulting to French-speaking countries and Francophiles, and especially the numerous francophone students who wished to study in France but could not because of its restrictive visa policy. Le Fiagaro also claimed it was “anti-republican because it attacked the constitutional principle that French was the language of the republic, and it was anti-democratic because it would inevitably lead to closure of certain courses in French, thus penalising French and other French-speaking students”

Danish Student Grants Now Open to UK/Irish Students Under Recent European Court Ruling?
Written on Wednesday, 10 April 2013 04:09


A recent ruling from the European Court of Justice has opened up the possibility of UK and Irish students being able to access the Danish system of student grants and, at the same time, has potential to throw the funding of Danish education into disarray.

Stakeholders, including Danish universities, politicians and commentators, are still trying to clarify the impact of the ruling. Per Andersen, Chairman of the Danish Student Grants Committee suggests it is too early to know what the consequences of the ECJ’s decision will be for Denmark.

However, in discussion with several Danish universities, EUNiCAS is told that the current understanding is that all EU citizens studying in Denmark, and who work 10-12 hours per week, attain the status of ‘employee’ under EU law. With this status, they are entitled to apply for grant and loan support. It also appears that the Danish government has resolved that the EU ruling will be enforced.

This ruling is likely to expose Danish taxpayers to a bill running to tens of millions of Euro. Minister of Education Morten Østergaard said the ruling would cost Danish taxpayers DKK200 million a year. “We have found measures within the budget to cater for this year’s expenses,” he told Denmark Radio. The story is only just starting to hit the Danish media with any significant populist force and is likely to prove incendiary when its implications are clear.

Aarhus University


The level of support offered to Danish students far exceeds the international average. Firstly, in Denmark, there are no tuition fees (for all Europeans) and any Dane living away from home can receive a grant of €771 per month and a loan of €394 per month for living costs. What is more, Danish graduates face one of the lowest youth unemployment rates in Europe (14%).

Though the application deadline for most undergraduate programmes in Denmark , for Entry 2013, closed last month, there are still a limited numbers of opportunities. However, we can expect a significant increase in applications to Danish universities, from UK and Irish students in 2014, if this ruling is applied as understood above.


UK the fourth most expensive country to study in for English students in 2012/13
Written on Friday, 05 April 2013 22:57

The UK is the fourth most expensive country for English university students to study in, according to a recent report by HSBC which looks into further education costs around the world.

The research found that, for English students, the UK falls only marginally behind Australia, USA and Canada in expense despite the additional cost of flights to these countries. Germany is the least expensive country, with one year of student living in the UK almost four times (3.7) higher than the cost of a year there. The costs of studying in the Netherlands, including fees and living expenses, is more than half that of studying in the UK

The average cost of tuition, living and accommodation for English students in the UK is £15,586 for this academic year (2012-13). The UK has drawn almost level with Canada in third place, as the introduction of the raised cap on tuition fees has seen its education costs rise 56%.. Canada's average combined cost this year including flights is £15,671 - less than £100 higher than the UK total, despite two return flights a year to Canada from the UK costing around £1,200.

James Yerkess, HSBC Head of FX, said: "Our UK-based International Banking Centre has been increasingly dealing with requests for assistance from parents whose children are heading overseas to study."While many people have focussed on English speaking destinations, our research shows that these are among the most expensive places for English students to study.With studying costs in Europe falling, the continent should be given serious consideration. Many universities offer courses taught in English, and the benefits of speaking another language may add to students' employability after graduation.”

Germany is the least expensive student destination for English students; with education over the past three years costing just £12,893. At current prices funding an entire degree in Germany costs less than a single year in a British university for English students. Germany also has the lowest living costs and has seen the biggest fall in overall cost this year of 5.47% thanks to favourable exchange rates and low inflation

Other European countries have experienced similar decreases, due to a fall of more than 7% in the value of the Euro, Danish Krone and Finnish Markka against the pound. The cost of studying in Denmark fell by 5.04% for English students in the past year.

Australia is the most expensive study destination. As well as the cost of flights for English students, exchange rates have added to costs here, with a 7% rise in the value of the Australian dollar against the pound.Students in Australia also have the most expensive living costs, which, at £8,201 in 2012-13 are almost £2,000 higher than any other destination giving Australia a total cost of £19,986.

Most Expensive Study Destinations for a Three Year Degree [ Costs 2012-13]

Australia £19,986.31

USA £19,609.97

Canada £15,670.79

UK £15,586.95

Netherlands £7,015.74

Sweden £6,938.50

Denmark £6,859.14

Norway £6,079.35

Finland £5,766.03

France £5,314.19

Germany £4,210.30

However, US costs rival those in Australia, with this year's total at £19,610. Inflation in tuition fees is around 8% as a result of US cuts to state budgets creating restrictions on study fee subsidies.

In addition university courses are typically 4 years in the US, meaning students undertake an extra year of expenditure, further increasing the cost of studying stateside

Med & Vet Programmes Still Enrolling Across Europe
Written on Wednesday, 03 April 2013 16:21

Medicine and Vet Science continue to rank amongst the most popular selections of students registering with EUNiCAS, as increasing numbers of UK and Irish students seek alternative routes to careers as Doctors, Dentists or Vets.

Though the deadlines for some of the attractive Medicine degree programmes in Western Europe, taught through English [in Italy, Malta and the Netherlands] have now closed, there are still some excellent alternatives available.

EUNiCAS has been receiving excellent reports on some of the med schools in Poland. See them all here The top-ranked med schools in Poland are still taking applications: the deadline for applying to Jagiellonian, in Cracow is 9th May, for Warsaw Medical University, it is 4th May, for Poznan Medical University it is 28 June and for the Medical University of Lodz, you can apply up until 15th July. Of course, all the programmes are recognised by the Medical Council and, in many of the Polish med schools, you can sit exams for a US Licence.

Note that some Polish schools offer 4-year Graduate Programmes for Life Sciences graduates.

There are also good schools in the
Czech Republic and Hungary and some attractive options in Slovakia, all of which are still open for applications.

Above: Jagiellonian University, Cracow. It's med school is the top-ranked in Poland

Most of these universities have their own entrance tests. You need to travel to the university to sit the tests for some of these programmes though the Hungarian universities have tests coming up next month, in both the UK and Ireland. The Medical School at PJSU, in Slovakia, has its entrance tests in London and Dublin on 27th and 28th April.

Vet schools, too, are attracting increasing numbers of Irish and UK students: there are currently several hundred British and Irish studying the subject in Central Europe. Both Warsaw University of Life Sciences and Szent Istvan University, Budapest, have exams upcoming in the near future, in the UK and Ireland, but you need to apply soon.

EUNiCAS can assist students in applying to these programmes

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