Cambridge Occupational Analysts (COA), which serves 1,600 schools and colleges in the UK, explained that its intention was to fill the information gap between the growing interest in overseas education and knowing about the available opportunities, living costs and application conditions.
“We want to give careers advisers, heads of sixth forms and everyone involved in guiding and advising young people an opportunity to see at first-hand what studying abroad might be like,” explained Tim Mainstone, COA’s schools’ liaison officer and conference organiser, “and to find out answers to the questions that students will be asking.”
Up to 70 delegates responsible for careers advice and study guidance to more than 1,600 schools and colleges convened at Maastricht University to hear presentations and lectures from seven Dutch institutions including Leiden University, University College Utrecht, Delft University of Technology, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, University of Groningen and the University of Tilburg.
The host university in Maastricht confirmed that applications from UK students to its undergraduate courses alone have more than doubled this year after three years of steady growth. So far, 696 British students have applied for places starting in September 2012, of which 484 applications are for first degree courses.
The institution’s £1,500 a year price tag compared with £9,000 charged by most UK universities is an attractive incentive
The institution’s £1,500 a year price tag compared with £9,000 charged by most UK universities is an attractive incentive. In addition to the low tuition, UK students can qualify for a non-repayable grant from the Dutch government of £228 a month and a tuition fee loan if they work part-time for 56 hours a month of longer.
A recent survey by Graduate Prospects involving 500 school leavers and undergraduates has backed this trend, reporting that 73% of its survey sample are strongly interested in studying abroad, whether for a short period or for an entire undergraduate degree. The company added that in the first quarter of 2012, there had been a 14% spike in visitors to its study abroad section on its site.
The survey asked which countries most appealed; the most typical responses were the USA and Canada (34%), closely followed by Europe (28%).