As Dollar Strengthens, U.S. Students in Europe Feel the Benefits
Students at four American universities in Austria and Britain can take advantage of their school loans to live abroad, thanks to agreements between American and European governments in the wake of the global financial crisis.
The two countries are members of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), which in 2009 reached a historic deal where each country agreed to spend an annual average of 20 percent of its budget on students to ensure that students from its neighbors could study abroad for a full year for free.
European Union institutions, including the European Commission, have come to the aid of American graduate students and the EHEA’s member institutions with a range of initiatives aimed at supporting students who want to live abroad.
For American graduate students, the EHEA offers funding to help cover the costs of living overseas. The amount is calculated to cover the living expenses of an undergraduate student, with the full amount paid for the first year, after which, if the student wishes to stay for another year, the total is paid for the second year.
Students are eligible for the funding through the school, but not through a specific program or scholarship. Rather, they must apply online for their first year abroad if they are applying for a baccalaureate degree in an area of study that is not already included on the school’s full-time master’s or doctorate programs.
The first year of funded study abroad is often the longest for American students, who are also required to be in the country for at least half of the semester and to pay for the remainder.
“We know that our students are extremely excited about the opportunity to take a break from the day-to-day responsibilities that come with the demands of being in graduate school,” said Steve Tonsler, the college’s associate provost and vice provost for academic affairs, in a prepared statement. “We are thrilled to partner with the EHEA to provide them with an opportunity to have the most valuable thing most of us have in life: a taste of living abroad.”
American students in the university’s undergraduate and graduate programs who wanted to continue their full-time master’s or doctorate studies for more than one year, but also wanted to apply for the funding, were eligible for