Category: Higher Education News

New study on how Norwegian students make decisions about outward mobility

A new report from NIFU has examined in more detail why Norwegian students choose to go abroad and how they find information about countries and  institutions they would want to study in.

According to most recent OECD Data (Education at a Glance 2016), about 6% of the students in OECD countries are international students, and the ratio of incoming and outgoing students can vary substantially between countries. While studies have examined the motivation of students to go abroad in other contexts (see for example this study for UK), there are few comprehensive studies in the Norwegian context, the last study of this kind being conducted about 15 years ago.  One could argue that Norway is an interesting case for studying outgoing students in a European context. It has traditionally had a large number of outgoing students and a student loan/support system that is favourable for studies abroad, as it also opens for support for tuition fees (up to a limit).

The NIFU study is based on a survey that was the largest of its kind in Norway, covering 5464 students who had obtained support from the State Loan fund to study abroad for a full degree. The survey shows that students are in general rather happy with their choice to study abroad.




The Hungarian Parliament has passed the bill targeting Central European University

Many in the higher education research community have spent the last week following the situation that Central European University is facing in Hungary. In this post, one of Hedda graduates, dr Norbert Sabic who is currently working at CEU, comments on the development.

As brief background, the Central European University is graduate level university in Hungary, founded in 1991 by George Soros. The vision of the university has been to contribute to democratisation in the region, and it is now generally recognized as one of the leading institutions in Central and Eastern Europe when it comes to social sciences, with good results also at the European Research Council. The institution operates as a private institution that is accredited in the US and later also through the Hungarian accreditation system. It has about 1500 students from about 100 countries and its faculty comes from over 30 countries.

On March 28th, the Hungarian Minister of Human Resources who is also responsible for educational issues, Zoltán Balog, presented a new bill to the parliament that directly targets CEU and effecively would close it down due to the new requirements. A BBC article noted that this was an “attack on the CEU is the latest battle in a war against liberalism” that the current prime minister Viktor Orban has been fronting.

The situation with CEU has been covered world wide and has received major criticisms. The European University Association expressed that they were extremely shocked and deeply concerned over this development, and a large number of universities, university leaders, academic associaions, politicians and others have expressed their concerns.

To offer some insights on the recent developments, Dr Norbert Sabic from the Central European University has agreed to share a few brief comments. He is one of the graduates from the joint master programme in higher education (universities in Oslo, Tampere and Aveiro) and later did his PhD in political science at CEU on diversification policies in European higher education. He currently works as Strategic Planning Assistant at the same university. In the following, he shares his insights about the situation and possible ways forward.

Dr. Norbert Sabic (CEU)

For those not well acquainted with the Hungarian context, could you shed some light on the background of why this proposal was put on the table to start with?    

Well, you start with the most difficult question, and I am sure nobody could answer this one. The one thing we can do is speculate about the reasons. The official government argument is also continuously changing. They say there were irregularities in how CEU operated, which a report discovered (the report is publicly available but does not name which university did what, but generally described legal loopholes that foreign universities misuse). So the official argument is that they adopt this law to correct these loopholes. Now the interesting part is that the amendment to the law of HE is written in such a way, that it only affects CEU (hence the name lex CEU) and a couple of institutions which have only very few programs in Hungary. Since then the government didn’t provide any proof of CEU’s misconduct, and the Educational Authority confirmed (upon CEU’s request) that the programs realized by CEU were conducted lawfully.




National systems for student fees and support systems in Europe – Eurydice report

Eurydice has published a report that looks into student fees and support systems across Europe for 2016/2017 study year. The report provides an overview of key developments in Europe in this area, as well as more detailed national case studies.

Tuition fees and student support are a national issue, but under EU legislation, countries must accept other EU national on same terms as own nationals. However, behind this main logic the content of student fees and student support includes a multitude of practices. Furthermore, the report highlights that there is a significant difference in the amount of public funding provided (see also EUAs Public Funding Observatory for more information).

The data shows that there are four countries with no fees for students, and twelve countries that have universal fees. The report also analyses the relationship between fees and support, arguing that relationship to be crucial in understanding the reality students are facing. Countries are divided into four specific types, distinguishing between high and low (or no) share of fee paying students in the system, and high and low share of those getting grants. 




Conference review: first year with ECPR SG on Politics of Higher Education, Research, and Innovation

Earlier this year, the SG on Politics of Higher Education, Research and Innovation was established. Thus, this year marked the first ECPR conference, where the section on knowledge politics was explicitly backed by a standing group. This marks an important milestone for higher education, research and innovation themes at ECPR. Thus, we asked Meng-Hsuan Chou and Mitchell Young – two of the three convenors of the standing group about what they thought about his years section “Politics of Higher Education, Research, and Innovation”, and what their plans are for next year.

How would you characterise the section this year?

Dr. Meng-Hsuan Chou

Dr. Meng-Hsuan Chou (NTU Singapore)

Hsuan: The section is becoming increasingly diverse with more contributions from those who are joining the section for the first time. This is fantastic! The mix of continuity and new additions is very refreshing. I also enjoyed listening to presentations on very contemporary issues (e.g. refugee flows and receptions by universities in Europe); these presentations demonstrate the salience of the research we do in this section.

Mitchell: The section this year had a strong conceptual element, with a number of panels that addressed theory and methodology. At the same time we did not miss out on empirical studies, which covered a wide swath of both the politics of research and higher education.

What was the highlight for you with this years’ section? 



New website launched for the European Tertiary Education Register

eterETER (European Tertiary Education Register) has launched a new website. ETER was first launched s a result of a European Commission funded project EUMIDA (2009-2011). View a presentation of ETER here.

Currently, the database includes 2785 higher education institutions in 36 countries. Of these, there is data for 2465 institutions. The data currently includes information from 2011, 2012 and 2013. Data for 2014 is expected to be ready by early 2017.

The new website features more advanced data searching and analysis tools, as well as options for downloading data.

View the website here