Is it worth doing a degree in the UK?

Anyone who wants to describe the European idea in concrete terms usually ends up with one name: Erasmus. The funding program, named after the Dutch Renaissance scholar Erasmus von Rotterdam, has always served as an example of what defines the common values ​​of the EU on a small scale since it was introduced in 1987.

Hundreds of thousands of young Europeans study every year, supported by the EU scholarship, in other countries, exchange ideas across borders, develop an understanding of cultural differences and ideational similarities, learn new languages ​​and thus discover the opportunity to live outside their own country and to work. And last but not least, they also have a good time.

Noticeable consequences after Brexit

But Great Britain is no longer participating. Is there a clearer symbol of the departure from the idea of ​​a united Europe? Just over a year ago, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson stated that there was “no danger” that his country would withdraw from the Erasmus program in the course of the Brexit negotiations. A few weeks ago, however, he had to announce the "difficult decision" that there would be no joint exchange programs with the EU in the future. Johnson wants to replace him with a program named after the mathematician Alan Turing, which will enable 35,000 young Britons to study or work abroad.

That hits German students particularly hard. Last year alone, around 3,000 German students and 3,500 interns and apprentices were on an Erasmus stay in the United Kingdom. In addition, 15,300 Germans were enrolled in full-time studies on the island in 2018. For many who want to do the same in the future, Brexit will have noticeable consequences - bureaucratic as well as financial.

Is it really worth investing tens of thousands of euros in an elite degree? And how much richer does a degree from a renowned university make you? That's what this episode of Money Mates is all about.

by Tina Zeinlinger, Jan Guldner

The first problem would be the residence permit. Students from an EU member state can, under certain conditions, attend a university in the UK for up to six months without a visa. Among other things, prospective students must have a place on a government-approved course, sufficient financial resources to support themselves and pay the tuition fees incurred, and be able to speak and write English. Such a visa is valid for up to five years and costs up to 536 euros.

The second, higher hurdle for students is finances. Before Brexit, Europeans were favored here in two ways. If they were part of the Erasmus program, the tuition fees for a semester abroad were fully reimbursed. This funding will expire by March 31, 2023 at the latest, according to the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), which coordinates these programs.

Young Europeans who opted for a full course of study in Great Britain took advantage of another advantage: They were treated like the British, so they had to pay a maximum of the so-called “home fee”, which for Bachelor degrees was around 10,400 euros (9,250 pounds ) lies. From the 2021/22 academic year beginning in autumn, however, the prices for international students will be due at many institutions. At the University of Edinburgh, which is particularly popular with EU citizens, most courses are then around 24,000 euros per year. At the renowned University of Oxford, a year will cost around 35,000 euros in the future.

The intellectual bracket is lost

British universities are already complaining that many students from continental Europe are threatened with absenteeism. On the one hand because they fear that the once so fruitful academic exchange will collapse. On the other hand, also for financial reasons. Last year, the market research institute London Economics estimated that the number of foreign students would fall by 47 percent because of the prevailing pandemic alone. Overall, the higher education sector threatened to lose almost 2.8 billion euros as a result. If more Europeans decide not to study in the UK in the future, given the fact that fees are too high, this could damage UK universities in the long term.

In contrast to schools, universities make no move to start face-to-face operations at the start of the semester. They can reach their students efficiently via the Internet - and could thus make themselves superfluous.

by Konrad Fischer, Jan Guldner

Joybrato Mukherjee, President of the DAAD, recently said that it pains him that Great Britain is no longer participating in Erasmus. "The program stands for the intellectual bracket of the young generation in Europe," he said in an interview with "Research and Teaching". Support universities in Germany to establish bilateral collaborations with their partner universities in Great Britain. And the DAAD is also adapting its funding portfolio. This could mean that, similar to exchange programs with the USA, the high tuition fees are partially covered.

At the moment, at least the German student body seems to be still interested in an academic education in Great Britain. One reason for this is certainly the sometimes excellent universities, above all Oxford, Cambridge or the Imperial College in London, which are regularly ranked among the best in the world in international rankings. Last year, at least, the DAAD received almost 40 percent more applications for scholarships outside the Erasmus program destined for the United Kingdom.

More on the subject: Is it really worth investing tens of thousands of euros in an elite degree? And how much richer does a degree from a renowned university make you? That's what this episode of Money Mates is all about.

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