27 Sep Why European Universities Offer the ‘Best Deal’
On the third day after landing in Toronto, my Canadian husband scheduled an appointment for me to open an RESP (Registered Education Savings Plan) account for our son. Truth be told, he did mention this to me in passing, but among all the CIBCs, HSBCs, RBCs, TTCs, OSAPs and dozens of other acronyms that beautifully rolled out of his Canadian lips, it must have slipped my mind. So here I am, face to face with a financial advisor, throwing charts, statistics, predictions, and a whole bunch of new acronyms at me, all the while shouting with excitement about the great opportunity of having the Canadian Government top up my monthly savings for my son’s education. This way, he promises with emphasis, ‘we can easily set him up with a $50,000 account so that he can pursue his undergrad debt-free’. Huh? I opened my eyes…. why on Earth would he need that much??? Well, explained my excited interlocutor, ‘because upon graduation here in Canada, the average student gets a diploma and, on average, a $50,000 slap’. So I asked innocently… what if he studies in Europe? After all, I hold a PhD from Germany, a Master from Poland and the UK (before they raised the fees, to be fair), a Business degree from France, and zero debt! Boasting aside, education in Europe is affordable – outrageously affordable compared with that in North America – and the quality is pretty much the same. If you do not believe me, take a look at the chart below for a comparison of average tuition fees in 2015 across different European Countries and Canada and the United States. Or, check here (link to the map).
Chart: Comparison of tuition fees in Europe and North America
Compared to North America, graduate education in most European countries, has much lower – sometimes even zero! – Tuition fees. Yes, even for non-EU students! And while being enrolled at a North American University and choosing to study a semester abroad may slap you with at least the same bill as staying home, this is not the case if you pursue your entire degree at a German, Norwegian, Austrian, Polish, French, Czech, Spanish or Italian University. Depending on the program, country and length of study, tuition fees, if applicable, often amount to a few hundred euros a year, which sometimes go towards things like a public transportation semester-pass and student union membership. According to a statement by Times Higher Education rankings editor Phil Baty in an article published by The Local, ‘with lower tuition fees, more relaxed visa options, and more and more degrees taught in the English language, universities in Germany and the Netherlands in particular offer outstanding options for international students’. And, to quote Bernd Huber, President of LMU Munich, ‘prospects for researchers are excellent, conditions for students in Germany are very attractive; and let me remind British (and US and Canadian) readers in particular that all this comes without tuition fees’. In fact, there are lots of scholarships and financial support schemes helping students finance not only their studies, but also the living costs. At Kleverscapes, we can help you find the best solution for your needs! Mind blowing! And this is exactly what some American students thought when they decided to study in Europe. The BBC has covered their stories, you can read them here.
Talking about the quality of education, 22 European countries are home to almost half of the 200 best Universities in the world. And Universities in Germany and Norway – where there are zero tuition fees for both EU and non-EU student – take 40 places in Top 200. Top 10 is made out of British Universities, together with ETH Zurich in Switzerland, the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, and LMU Munich in Germany. After the UK and Germany, the highest number of Universities in the ranking is found in Italy, with Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa being best.
So, did I open an RESP account for our son? In the end, I did. Only after the bank employee that took me through the financial voyage of having a Canadian education assured me that these savings can also be used if he decides to pursue an education abroad – just like OSAP – but without the Government bonus. Best deal, I said!