– I just had to follow my dream, says the 19-year-old.
Last fall, she packed her suitcase and moved to Leeds, England. There she started her BA in Contemporary Dance.
13,800 Norwegian students take their entire university degree abroad this academic year. This is the lowest number since 2009/10. This is evidenced by the latest figures from the Norwegian State Loan Fund.
At the same time, there are record numbers of people exchanging currencies abroad. 8,600 are being exchanged now, compared to 8,300 a year before the Corona pandemic.
– I might never have felt satisfied if I hadn’t chosen to do so. It’s important to challenge yourself, Stein says.
However, she is aware that many people choose not to study abroad.
– It’s getting expensive. Especially in England. I also think that many are afraid of not succeeding, says the student.
She knows she has chosen a somewhat uncertain career path.
– I don’t guarantee that I will get a job immediately after I finish, says Steen.
Sky high pound and Brexit
Birgit Brinchman Steen pays £17,500 in school fees per annum to attend the Northern School of Contemporary Dance. At today’s exchange rate, this is over NOK 242,000.
From the Loan Fund, she receives more than NOK 265,000 in loans and grants annually.
– So it’s very difficult. I had to get a part-time job in addition to my studies. Otherwise, Steen says, I wouldn’t have been able to buy food.
The UK has always been the most popular country for Norwegian students to study. But the number has decreased in recent years.
In the academic year 2022/2023 there are 3,300 Norwegians studying in Great Britain. Nine years ago the number was 5,500.
After Brexit, all Norwegian citizens must apply for a visa if they are going to study in the UK for more than six months.
Many students suffer
ANSA is the international student interest organization. Principal Anna Handal Helssens says they often receive inquiries from struggling students.
– Many say they have problems covering regular expenses. Hellesnes says many people say student aid is not enough.
She believes the reason why fewer people are choosing to obtain their entire university degree abroad is complex.
The economy is one thing. The Norwegian krone has been weak for a long time. The rising cost of living and inflation makes studying abroad more expensive. In addition, many popular study countries have high tuition fees, Hellesnes says.
The government has also cut salaries for Norwegian students studying abroad. To date, it was possible to convert up to 70 percent of the loan into a grant. From the academic year 2023/2024, the percentage has been reduced to a maximum of 40 percent for all students.
– would significantly increase the level of debt for these students, says Hellesnes.
The Ministry of Education believes that there are good support schemes for those who wish to go abroad.
– In a tight economic time, we’ve saved biggest increase of the scholarship on a single 15-year budget. We are now working to increase student aid rates by a whopping 7 percent in addition to the expected price increase for the next academic year, says Foreign Minister Odmund Luckensgaard Hoyle The Ministry of Education.
– It will be adjusted according to the currency
He points out that students now receive an additional NOK 9,000 in basic support alone.
– For international students, tuition fees are also adjusted to compensate for currency fluctuations.
Løkensgard Hoel believes that the students themselves have a choice.
– Written by MEntering the places of study, you do not have to pay for the place of study. But if you choose to travel to a place of study with higher tuition fees, then this is the option you choose on your own. Then it is not unreasonable to take more of the bill yourself.
Increase student support
ANSA works to increase student support for the poverty line. Without increasing the loan percentage. In Norway, this was calculated at NOK 251,600. (SSB). Basic support for students is today 128,887 Norwegian kroner.
– It’s about students being able to live a decent life under decent conditions during their studies, says Hellesnes.
Birgit Brinchmann-Steen thinks that would have helped a lot.
“It’s really annoying now, so we could use a little extra help,” she says.
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