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OECD report: Fees do not encourage students to complete their studies quickly

Tuition fees do not make students more eager to or capable of completing higher education. This is the finding of the latest Education at a Glance report by the OECD. ”It is high time that universities, so-called experts and others stop using this argument for justifying student fees”, says Bert Vandenkendelaere, Chairperson of the European Students’ Union.

In countries where tuition fees charged by tertiary-type A educational institutions (which traditionally have an emphasis on theoretical science and education) exceed  1 500 US Dollars, completion rates in tertiary-type A education are significantly lower than the OECD average, according to the report. This is valid for countries such as the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States.
Bert Vandenkendelaere said: ”Even where loans are available to make students afford fees in the short term, students can not be sure that they will be able to pay back the cost of education, even in countries without high fees.”

In the United Kingdom it is not uncommon to charge annual fees of 15 000 Euros at the the so-called elite higher educations. Living expenses come on top of this cost.

Vandenkendelaere said: ”This is clearly a deterrent for students whose financial means are already scarce, and in particular for those whose parents have no background in higher education. Even for families with a decent income, fees and student loans are becoming a high burden to overcome and delay the participation in society and the economy.

”More and better grants are the solution for those governments who wish to reduce high drop-out rates, and for those who wish to see people with a more diverse socio-economic background both enter and succeed in higher education.”

Read ESU’s full reaction to Education at a Glance here.

For more information, please contact:Bert Vandenkendelaere, ESU Chairperson on +32473669892 or
Olav Øye, ESU Communications Manager on +32495101879 or


Published September 7, 2010


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