Once upon a time, students going to university in England and Wales, received grants from their local authority, which in most cases paid their fees in full and covered their living costs and accommodation. Now there are loans, which have to be paid back. One might be tempted to ask what the money saved on not subsidising students is now spent on, but lets not go there for now.
For busy internet browsers, here is a brief guide to what studying in England and Wales costs and what it costs in Spain. The devil is in the detail, but some basic comparisons hold good.
Basically, the fees for a three year undergraduate degree in England and Wales are £9,000 a year. So that´s £27,000 over three years. This amount is loaned. Accommodation and living costs are the least the same, more in London, but the loans given for living do not exceed £9,000 per annum.
So the minimum debt on graduating university after three years will be around £54,000, at current exchange rates that´sabout €73,000 not a small amount of debt to have on your back before you have even started earning. The upside is you don´t have to start paying it back until you start earning over £20,000.
Now Spain. Regional governments are free to set different fee levels, but in Andalucia you won´t pay much more than €800 a year for tuition. So a 3 year degree will cost you or your parents €2,400 in tuition. (Are courses at English universities really ten times better then?) When you pay the fees on the university website, a message from the Junta de Andalucía pops up telling you the actual cost of the course and how much it is subsidised by.
In most cases around €4,000, so more than 75 per cent. Many Spanish students live at home and don´t travel the distances to university that those in the UK do. But the real reason for this is that there are no grants or loans available.
Generally therefore, parents foot the bill, so many students have to live at home to make the studying affordable. If you do rent a place, your living costs are likely to be around €550 a month, so for a nine month academic year that´s about €5,000. Total cost for the 3 years – €17,400 or around £13,000. So we are talking about a difference of €60,000 to study in Spain or in England and Wales. Quite a sum.
The most important point however, that will give a student a massive advantage as they enter today’s very competitive workplace, is if they are truly bilingual. You need to be to study at a Spanish university as most courses, naturally, will be in Spanish. So the work comes beforehand, making sure that if you child is living in Spain they become fluent in the language.