BM84: Access to higher education for non-european students
Higher education should be accessible to all regardless of where they come from,
the place they live and their social and economical background. This is already not
the case for every EU student. For the past few months FEF has been receiving lots of
messages from non-EU students struggling to access Higher education in Belgium or
to continue their curriculum the best way possible.
Those are the main issues brought to us :
● Tuition fees :
In 2017, the rectors decided that a specific registration fee for non-european students
would be set at five times the basic fee for their first year of study, i.e. 4.175€. For the
following years (as long as they passed 45/60 ECTS), the fee would be the basic one,
In 2021 – 2022, the discussions were reopened and lead to some changes:
- An update of the list of “least developed countries” exempt from the specific
- The amount goes from 4.175€ at the beginning of the curriculum to 2.505€ at
● Guarantor issue:
Non-European students must also have a financial guarantor when applying for a
visa. The financial amount needed for the guarantor was, until 2021, set at 100% of the
Social Integration Income (SII) (€1,330.73 in January 2021), but it has recently been
increased to 120% of the SII (€1,967 in January 2023).
The increase of that amount puts a lot on students who want to study in Belgium, but
also who already study there, in difficulties to find a guarantor or keep the one they had. It also increased the fake guarantor issue where people propose to be a
guarantor for a certain amount of money but then never send the documents or
send the wrong ones.
Having a proper residence permit is needed to apply for internships, student jobs,
scholarships, healthcare and social help.
● Scholarships :
Currently, to be eligible for a scholarship, non-european students must:
- Be recognised as refugees, stateless persons or beneficiaries of subsidiary
protection for at least one year;
- Reside in Belgium for at least 5 years.
These conditions make it difficult for non-EU students to access scholarships and, de
facto, higher education.
In order to remedy these problems, we are calling for several positions and changes
that we feel are increasingly necessary:
- The abolition of specific registration fees ;
- Simplification of the procedures for obtaining a study visa and a residence
- Reversal of the amount required from the guarantor to obtain a residence
- The opening of the right to a scholarship for all students studying in the French
community of Belgium regardless of their nationality and/or place of
Proposer: FEF, Belgium