The European Students’ Union (ESU) is urging universities and the government to provide better support to international students, noting that the current framework “does not promote access to education”.
In its 2019 policy document, the ESU laid out a list aimed at better internationalisation and learning mobility, including providing financial support to students at all educational levels to ensure that quality learning will be attained and would not be just afforded by the financially well-off.
Financial support sought for foreign students
The ESU has asked for sufficient grants that should cover foreign students’ living costs, emergency travel, transport subsidies, free language courses, and that they be granted the same tuition fees regardless of an EU citizenship.
A transparent and accessible online information for international students were also sought to be available regarding the accessibility of institutions and student housing.
Citing bureaucracy and inconsistency, the ESU said that fees should be abolished in securing visas and residency permits.
“Free movement must be ensured for students, who undertake stays for the purpose of study or educational training, for teachers, staff and researchers,” the report read.
“All costs for students related to visa procedures, such as travelling to embassies, documents preparation, translations costs, financial statements obligations, proofs of savings for the entire period of stay and finally the visa fee, are all negatively affecting study accessibility,” it added.
European Students’ Union calls for targeted grants
As for the Erasmus+ programme or the EU’s student exchange initiative, the ESU said that targeted grants should be offered to students from underrepresented groups to widen their participation and adjusted to cover education and living costs of the local area of destination.
The ESU is an organisation representing 20 million students in Europe to promote educational, social, economic and cultural interests towards all relevant bodies.
It is the only European student organisation that conducts trainings, seminars, research and partnership projects, and produces a range of publications for the use of students, professionals, and policy-makers.
Photo: Brooke Cagle
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