22 SES 13 B, Access to Higher Education: Contemporary challenges across different countries
Studying overseas for higher education can now offer financial benefits to English students, when compared with enrolling at a domestic university. Indeed, undergraduate tuition fees in England are currently the highest in the European Union (European Commission, 2012), with only Australia, Canada and the US offering ‘more expensive’ degrees. Within an increasingly competitive international market, many European universities appear to offer particularly good value for money and, since the introduction of higher tuition fees in England in 2012, have often actively targeted English students. It is not, however, only financial concerns which may cause English students to look abroad. It has been suggested that for those students who fall short of the very top grades but are keen to study at a high-status university, overseas universities may seem more accessible than their Russell Group counterparts (Collinson, 2012) (the Russell Group comprises 24 ‘leading’, research-intensive UK universities). Given this context, in this paper we draw on two main sources of evidence to assess the extent to which access to international higher education, on the part of English students, can be considered ‘fair’. We first consider the characteristics and social location of young adults from England who have either studied for a degree overseas, or were seriously considering doing so. Here, our analysis is based on 85 in-depth qualitative interviews. Secondly, we draw on a detailed analysis of 40 school websites to explore the messages that students in England are given about overseas study, and the extent to which this varies by both school type and social location. We conclude by arguing that while there is some evidence that specific types of international mobility, such as the work placement scheme offered as part of the Erasmus programme, may be available to students from a wider range of backgrounds ( Deakin, 2014), access to the majority of mobility opportunities remains socially-differentiated, and a realistic possibility for only a small and privileged minority of young people.
Collinson, P. (2012) Save £25,000 at university and join the 'tuition fee refugees', The Guardian, 17 August 2012. Available online at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2012/aug/17/save-25000-university-tuition-fee-refugees. Deakin, H. (2014) The drivers to Erasmus student work placement mobility: A UK student perspective, Children's Geographies, 12, 1, 25-39. European Commission (2012) National Student Fee and Support Systems, 2011/12, Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (European Commission). Available online at: http://eacea.ec.europa.eu/education/eurydice/documents/facts_and_figures/fees_and_support.pdf
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
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