30.03.2011
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ESU mulls over financial future of students

TALLINN – Financing of higher education is the main topic of the ESU seminar, organised in the wake of Board Meeting 60 of the European Students’ Union, taking place from 2 to 4 May in Tallinn. Universities all over Europe contemplate or have already set higher tuition fees, mainly as a result of decreasing government subsidies. ESU will address the question how this development should be tackled as an increase in tuition fees and study costs is causing problems in terms of accessibility of higher education.
ESU’s Chairperson Bert Vandenkendelaere: “Since the economic turndown in 2009, public financing in education has been under constant scrutiny by both governments and institutions. Most changes in financing however came with a delay in 2010 when governmental measures affected the access to higher education in nearly every European country.” 

Although the current status of financing of higher education is different across Europe, there seem to be widespread problems with the high costs of studying in Europe. The ESU seminar, jointly organised by its Estonian member union (EUL) and part of the Finst project , will focus on how the financial future of European students should look and how for example private spending on higher education can play a role.

Participants will try to identify global trends which are at the root of the shifting attitude from governments towards public spending on higher education. Vandenkendelaere: “Be it the economic turndown, be it the societal situation or be it the political belief in governments, in most countries, the value of higher education as a national priority for welfare has decreased. Although we would rather turn this tide instantly, we should for now learn how to swim with it and look for possible solutions.”

Finst project
The seminar is part of the “Financing the students’ Future’ (Finst) project which aims to increase the knowledge of the effects of financing systems in Europe over students and to work on the capacity building of the national unions of students with regard to their active involvement in higher education funding reforms. It is financed by the Life Long Learning programme of the European Commission’s Education, Audiovisual & Culture Executive Agency.

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