Some E.U. Nations Seek Reimbursement for Hosting Foreign Students

March 11, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. reimbursement (n.) – the repayment of the exact amount spent by another person
Example: The insurance company promises to give reimbursements in case of emergency expenses.

2. subsidize (v.) – to financially assist, especially by the government
Example: Students in public universities pay low tuition fees because the government subsidizes their education.

3. address (v.) – to deal with or to discuss
Example: The problem should be addressed as early as possible before it gets worse.

4. stipulate (v.) – to express a demand as part of an agreement
Example: The contract stipulates the total ban of nuclear weapons.

5. rely (v.) – to depend or trust on something
Example: You can rely on your friends for help.

Read the text below.

In some European Union countries, students’ education—including the education of European foreign students—is paid for by governments. However, some E.U. countries are now thinking if they should ask the countries of foreign students for reimbursement.

According to E.U. guidelines, European foreign students who study in another E.U. country must pay the same school fees as native students. This means such foreign students can take advantage of receiving high quality education at low cost in other E.U. countries.

But these rules may be adding to the financial problems of countries like Austria, where education is provided for free. Its government has no choice but to completely subsidize the education of foreign students.

To address such problems, Salzburg state president Gabriele Burgstaller suggests a European-wide reimbursement system, wherein countries help pay some part of the costs of educating their own students in any E.U. country. He says the system would be a financial answer as well as a way to keep good relationships with fellow E.U. nations.

However, other experts argue that reimbursement is not necessary, because host countries economically benefit from the foreign students who stay and work after finishing their studies.  

While this idea remains a suggestion, a system of reimbursement already exists between Scandinavian countries (Denmark, Norway and Sweden) and Finland. Their agreement stipulates governments pay $3,890 per student each year to the host countries.

Although this does not pay for the full amount of the students' expenses, it shows that the responsibility for a student’s education does not rely on the host country alone. It also shows that students can rely on their own governments for funding.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A 
     In some European countries, education is free. Do you think governments should provide free education to all students? Please explain your answer.
     Can you say that education is a top priority of your government? Why or why not?

Discussion B

     How important is it for countries to have foreign students?
     How can governments encourage more foreign students to study in their schools?


March 11, 2012