Josh is a former US Marine from Florida who now studies International Relations at the University of Warsaw in Poland. His first international exposure came during his years of overseas duty. His posting to the Marine Corps Embassy Security Group really increased his interest in higher education and stoked a desire for continued international experiences. He also met his now-wife while serving at the US Embassy in Warsaw. Josh’s studies are financed through the GI Bill which, until recently, I didn’t realize could be used to fund grad school in Europe (more info here)!
Why Are Veterans So Well Suited for Grad School in Europe?
Through their service, they’ve gained international exposure.
They tend to be older and more mature than typical college students in the US.
Their benefits really are confined to state schools in which they live or have residency, since $23,672 won’t go very far for towards out of state or private school tuition.
They also tend to know what they want to study, so Gen Ed requirements may seem like a waste of time.
Their experience in the military has taught the skills needed to deal with bureaucratic processes that are often involved in studying abroad.
What Are the Benefits Under the GI Bill?
Post 9/11 bill-varies based on the amount of time served after 9/11. Those who had active duty for 3 months get 40% of benefits up to those who served for 3 years who get 100% of benefits.
100% of benefits include:
Full tuition for in state and up to $23,672 for out of state or private or international (vets can get in state tuition where they live or have official residence).
$1,000 per year for books.
$1,650 monthly living allowance.
Here are examples of programs that might be interesting to vets that are covered by the GI Bill:
The curriculum is designed to provide higher education in the extremely hot field of Cyber Security, integrating software development and IT systems administration. Graduates of this curriculum may firstly acquire practice in a company like Fully-Verified, known as a pioneer in the field of cyber security and video based KYC solutions. Afterwards they will be able to independently design, operate and manage secure IT systems. Cyber security personnel are in high demand right now. The unemployment rate in the field is 0% and there are estimates that there will be 3.5 million unfilled positions in 2021.
Program: Master’s in Business Administration and Information Systems-Data Science
Here’s a first hand report on Jenn’s visit to Copenhagen Business School. CBS is one of the top business schools in Europe. In this program through a mix of theory and hands-on exercises, you will learn to design, develop, implement, test and document technical business data analytics solutions to support organizational processes and/or satisfy business needs by using data analytics oriented programming languages (such as Python, R), Big data platforms (such as Hadoop, Spark) and open source technologies. You will work with visual, text and predictive analytic techniques including latest methodologies from data mining, machine learning and deep learning in order to transform Big data sets into business assets. This is a very hot field for jobs in the coming years.
Currently, 214 of the 743 schools in our database accept the GI Bill and we are learning about more schools that do all the time, so this number will only continue to increase. That’s over 3,300 master’s programs to choose from that accept the GI Bill today in our database, along with all the information to make the process of getting to grad school in Europe much more manageable.
In this episode, Jenn interviews Crystal LaGrone about her experience attending the Master’s program in e-Governance Technologies at Tallinn University of Technology in Tallinn, Estonia. Crystal’s tuition and living expenses were quite reasonable, especially since this program was exactly what she wanted to study.
I have much to report about my visits to research getting a masters in Italy! I stayed in Milan, visiting universities in the city as well as in Bologna and Turin. It was my first time in Northern Italy and I really enjoyed it! I have always loved my visits to Italy, but these northern areas feel much more livable and less touristy than the other places I have been in the south. Milan is extremely easy to get around-both as it pertains to the city and getting elsewhere in Italy and Europe. I was able to get to Bologna and Turin in an hour by train. You can get to Lugano, in Switzerland, in under 90 minutes and Rome in under three hours. That said, the train travel is not inexpensive. My flights from Paris to Milan and Milan to Sofia, Bulgaria, were both less expensive than my train travel within the country. There are three airports in the region with many low cost airlines.
The Differences Between Public & Private Universities
More than any other country I have visited, I was struck by the differences between the public and private universities in Italy. The public universities in Italy charge tuition based on family income to all students, including international students, with a maximum tuition at most schools of under 4,000 Euros per yea
r. While this does seem very attractive, the facilities of the public universities in Italy I visited were quite basic, and large lectures are customary. I was told that students have to be prepared for fewer services directed towards their growth and development, as the main focus of these schools is educational. Certainly the trade offs are worth it for some, but not for all. I want to emphasize that this is not the case in most other countries. In fact, I am often more impressed by the public universities than private ones elsewhere.
There are unique obstacles when applying for a masters in Italy. The first applies to master’s degree students applying to both private and public universities. It is a headache called “pre-enrollment”. This procedure was put in place in the days before internet and has not changed with the times. First, a student applies to a college in Italy. The school then issues a pre-acceptance letter (or rejection). The student takes the the pre-acceptance letter along with a ton of other required documents to the Italian embassy in their home country for pre-enrollment. This also begins the visa process. The student is officially enrolled once they are in Italy in the fall and turn in their documents to the school.
But wait-it’s potentially even more complicated! For instance, all the medical programs require entrance exams as do programs like architecture. Private universities tend to offer their entrance exams in the spring and often offer them in cities around the world. Public universities generally offer theirs on campus in Italy in September. And by September I mean a mere month before classes begin. This would personally make me really very anxious from a planning perspective!
A Great Option to Get a Masters in Italy
While I learned a lot at each of the grad schools for masters in Italy I visited, one school really stood out and excited me. The school is University of Bocconi in Milan. Bocconi was founded in 1902 and focuses primarily on business and economics related programs. They offer English-taught master’s degrees and MBA programs. The majority of the programs are taught in English and the longer term goal is to have all of their programs taught in English. It really is a great place to get a masters in Italy.
What really struck me about Bocconi is the international approach they take to education. This is something that is easy for schools to say they do, but Bocconi really backs it up with resources. Traditionally, higher education in Italy has revolved around lectures with little interaction between students or students and the professor. This is still the case at many public universities. For the past 15 years, every professor that has been hired at Bocconi is fluent in English and is either a non-Italian or an Italian who received their Ph.D in an international program. This creates a team of professors who are not resistant to an alternate educational model and are more international in their approach, as opposed to strictly Italian.
Each entering class of the different programs is split into classes of no more than 100 students so even the largest lecture does not exceed that number of students. Even for lectures, the classroom layout was intentionally designed to be conducive to an interactive environment. Each department has a dean, program directors, and course directors to serve as resources to the students. In addition, each student has an academic advisor. Because Bocconi has strong connections with the business community, guest speakers from the field often speak in classes which provides a bridge between theory and practice.
Though the campus environment is international itself, with over 90 nationalities represented, Bocconi sees the value of providing students opportunity for further international exposure throughout their studies. In addition to the opportunities through Erasmus, Bocconi has 275 bilateral agreements with schools around the world. This allows students to study outside the EU for no additional tuition fees. Their partner schools in the US include Princeton, Columbia, Duke, Georgetown, NYU, Northwestern, and University of Chicago, in addition to 47 others in the US and equally impressive names throughout Latin America, Canada, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and the Middle East. Students are advised strongly to study abroad and it is mandatory for some of the programs.
Bocconi offers seven English taught eleven master’s programs (2 years), three specialized master’s programs (1 year) and eleven English-taught MBA and post-experience education programs. Almost all of the programs are related to Economics and Management, with program options that integrate these areas with social sciences, computer science, finance, arts, culture and communication, government, fashion, healthcare, and more. They also offer a four year World Business Bachelor’s degree program in which students spend the first year studying at USC, the second year at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, the third at Bocconi, and choose where to attend their fourth year. Students graduate with a full degree from all three universities.
The tuition for the master’s degree programs are $15,347 per year and MBA/post-experience programs start at $28,300 per year. Bocconi offers need based scholarships of full tuition for the length of the entire program. There are also merit based scholarships offering a full tuition waiver and with free housing for the first two years and one option that provides a 50% reduction in tuition. Applicants are automatically assessed for the merit scholarships upon application. The need based scholarship requires a separate application. In addition, Bocconi has a FAFSA number! This is a huge advantage to American students as it allows them to utilize US funding options for a masters in Italy and use their 529 savings without penalty.
Bocconi has resources and structures to support their students growth and development outside of the classroom as well. It is a centralized campus that even provides housing-most of which is on campus! They currently have seven student residences with an eighth opening the summer of 2018. Rooms are single occupancy and range from 600-700 Euros per month. They are also building an updated rec center which will be complete in 2018. Bocconi currently has a lacrosse team and soccer team as well as intramural and other options for track, hiking, judo, basketball, volleyball, boxing, rugby, skiing, snowboarding. and tennis. There are a number of student associations pertaining to various interests outside of academics as well as a student media center which includes student radio, web TV, and newspaper. Bocconi offers extensive student services including a counseling department that provides individual counseling as well as support around acclimating to a new country, time management guidance, and other challenges students may be facing.
Bocconi has a dedicated department of other 70 employees who work on job and internship placements. This department size speaks to the focus Bocconi puts in assisting their students in finding internships and jobs. Though the majority of students who graduate from the bachelor’s degree programs go on for a master’s degree, the job placement department has a dedicated team to help undergraduates with internships and job placements. 96.4% of the graduate students are employed one year after graduation, with 51.2% of them employed abroad. Top recruiters include Accenture, Goldman Sachs, Google, L’Oreal, J.P Morgan, Microsoft, Morgan Stanley, the United Nations, Deloitte, Ernst & Young and many more!
As I have mentioned many times before, it is crucial that we look at quality indicators beyond rankings-whether looking at schools in the US or colleges fora masters in Italy. I believe that these quality indicators include a classroom environment that fosters interaction and cultivation of critical thought, international exposure, development of skills needed for employment, student supports, and outcomes pertaining to employment. Bocconi checks all of these boxes and more. Though it is not one of the least expensive schools in Europe, it is still comparable to in-state tuition fees when you factor in the difference in duration. Further, there is a very favorable probability of a high return on investment as it pertains to learning, employment, and personal growth.
Are you considering a career in health sciences? Have you thought about the option to study medicine in Europe? Europe offers many programs that combine a bachelor’s degree with an advanced degree in areas like medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, and pharmacy. In 5-6 years (depending on the type of program), students can obtain their bachelor’s and also an advanced degree like a PharmD, DVM, DDS or MD. In the programs we’re talking about, you’ll be able to study medicine in Europe in English. Here’s the crazy thing – the average tuition for these programs is just under $10,500 per year sideeffects.com/ .
Let’s go through some of the details and obstacles to study medicine in Europe. For each of these fields of study, we will look at what would need to occur for a student to practice in the US after graduating from a combined program in Europe. It’s important to note that the student would be able to practice in Europe (and other countries as well) with fewer hoops to jump through. Regardless, as you will see below the incredible financial benefits of the option to study medicine in Europe make the bureaucratic obstacles look small.
Pharmacy: Take a Test and Pick Up $400k
This field of study has the fewest obstacles. If you want to practice in the states, you will take the Foreign Pharmacy Graduate Equivalency Exam and then take the NAPLEX test which is the test all graduates must pass to become licensed pharmacists. Europe offers 8 English conducted integrated (meaning combined bachelor’s and master’s degree) pharmacy programs and the average is just $8,125 per year which means the total tuition cost to get a PharmD is $40,625 for the 5-year program at hemsida.
How does this compare to a student in the US? Let’s look at the costs for a student paying in-state tuition at UNC Chapel Hill The tuition cost of their bachelor’s degree alone (IF he graduates in 4 years, as only 36% of undergrads do today) is already at $35,592. The four-year PharmD tuition adds another $95,088 total. It will take this student eight years and cost $130,680 total for in-state tuition. It would cost an out of state student a staggering sum of $331,107.
This means the student studying in Europe saves $90,055-$290,482 in tuition and starts earning money three years earlier! Since the average pharmacist makes $115,000 per year, those three years of “lost earnings” equate to $345,000. Combining tuition savings and lost earnings, the total comes to $435,055 – $635,482.
Veterinary Medicine: Another Easy Choice
This is a good one to look at since there are only 30 vet programs in the US and getting accepted into one is known to be quite difficult (in some ways more difficult than getting into medical school). To become a licensed vet in the US, graduates from a foreign degree program must first get their credentials certified. The Education Commission for Foreign Graduates (ECFVG) certification program is accepted in all states and involves a written test as well as a hands-on Clinical Proficiency Examination. After earning an ECFVG, graduates then must pass the national licensure exam as well as any exams required by the state in which they would practice. Checkout bongacams.
Europe offers seven English conducted veterinary programs that take usually take 6 years (though some take 5.5). The average tuition of these programs is just $6,400 per year. Nope, that’s not a typo! That means that the total tuition over the entire 6 years is $38,400.
Let’s look at our UNC student again. We already know that the cost of the entire vet program in Europe is almost the same than the in-state tuition alone for the bachelor’s degree at UNC Chapel Hill (which is $35,592). The nearby 4-year veterinary medicine program at North Carolina State is $18.516 per year for in-state students putting the 8 year total at $109,656. Our poor, out of state students will pay $310,680 over the eight years.
The student in Europe is saving between $71,256- $272,280 and is earning money 2 years before his counterpart graduating from North Carolina!
Dentistry: Wrinkles Included
This is another good option, but does have more obstacles than veterinary medicine and pharmacy. To practice as a dentist in the US, you need to have graduated from a school that has been accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). However, these schools are only in the US and Canada! Dentists who have been trained and educated in other countries can do an advanced standing 2-year program with a CODA school. Some of the advanced standing tuition rates are higher than even the regular dental school tuition, which seems like a bit of a racket. I saw many in the $75,000-$90,000 a year range.
Europe offers 18 English conducted integrated bachelor and DDS degrees. Most of these are five-year programs and the average tuition is $13,250 for a total average of $66,250.The question is whether this is still a good deal given that you need the two extra years of study to practice in the US.
UNC does not have an advanced standing program, so for this example, we will look at Boston University. A student who has a degree from Europe and then completes the 2 year Advanced Standing program at Boston University will end up paying an additional $144,000, so their total tuition over 7 years is $210,250. How crazy is it that two years of study here is almost double of the cost of entire five years in Europe — much of which will likely be redundant learning. Sigh.
A student at Boston University pays $196,000 for their bachelor’s and then another $288,000 for their DDS, bringing their total to $484,000. The student in Europe is still saving $273,750 and entering the workforce a year earlier. According to Money magazine, that year is worth $149,540. This brings the total benefit to $423,290.
Study Medicine in Europe: How Much is Playing It Safe Worth?
If your plan is to find work as a doctor in the EU, this is a great route to take! Here’s a fun fact: physicians in the Netherlands earn more on average than MDs in the US. If, however, your ultimate plan is to return to the US to work, you will encounter a few obstacles. Most of the obstacles are just hassles and not insurmountable. These include things like taking the US Medical Licensing exam and getting your transcripts verified. The most significant challenge is that, unless you have completed a residency in Canada, you are required to do a medical residency in the US-even if you completed a residency in a country with an advanced medical system! Obtaining a residency in the US is extremely competitive and odds of getting into a program are lower for those who graduate from foreign schools, though the number is increasing. On average, 75% of applicants get a residency or “match”. Most recently 53.9% of US citizens with international medical degrees (IMG) were matched to first-year programs and the number of U.S. citizen IMGs matching to first-year positions has increased in 12 of the last 13 matches.
There are 35 English conducted integrated bachelor’s/MD programs in Europe. They take six years to complete and the average annual tuition is $10,400. That number is actually higher than the true average. There are a number of these programs in Italy. Tuition to study medicine in Italy at public universities is based on family income, so the numbers used for the average are the maximum a student would pay, not what the students actually pay to study medicine in Italy. Nonetheless, using those numbers, our student in Europe would pay an average of $62,400 in tuition over the duration of the six-year program.
Let’s look again at our UNC student. The in-state student is paying $35,592 for a bachelor’s degree program and then $70, 148 for their MD, bringing their 8 year total to $105,740. The out of state student would pay $313,328.
Our student studying medicine in Europe will save between $43,084- 250,928, but with significant potential residency headaches if coming back to the US.
Is the Juice Worth the Squeeze?
When looking at the costs, it is important to note that many of these programs are offered in countries like Hungary, the Czech Republic, and other central European countries. The cost of living is much lower there than in the States. Avoiding student loan interest is also a significant benefit that we haven’t touched on.
Each of the programs we list in our database is fully accredited and many are very reputable. For pharmacy school, it’s clearly very attractive, given the 3 years of income gained and the high earnings for the field. Whether a student intends to seek employment in the US or abroad after graduation, I think the benefits outweigh the obstacles for programs in dentistry and veterinary medicine, as well. Medical programs are not as clear cut. I think it is definitely worth considering by students who plan to practice outside of the US, students who do not want to attend in-state school in the US, or live in one of the six states that don’t have an in-state school option, or students who are comfortable working outside of their field for a year, if the residency placement ends up taking more than a year.
Want to Study Medicine in Europe? Take the Next Step and Join Now
If you want to learn more about these programs to study medicine in Europe, gratification is just a few clicks away. We’ve added them to our online database with 1,500 other English-taught bachelor’s programs across Europe. When you sign up as a member, you’ll gain immediate access to all the information we’ve gathered over the past 18 months from our research, our on-campus visits, plus our own impressions gathered from working with other candidates like you. We offer a range of packages from self-guided to fully supported, to help students understand and qualify their choices. If you’re planning to get an advanced degree in the health sciences field, you owe it to yourself to investigate the option to study medicine in Europe. The cost is as little as $89, and the impact could easily be over $500,000. Here’s the membership link again.
“You get what you pay for” is a response I sometimes see posted on Facebook about the college costs in Europe. Why people feel compelled to respond to something that they know nothing about-and state it as fact-is beyond me. It’s also simply not true-even about higher education in the US! Does a student paying out of state tuition receive a substantially superior education than the student paying in state tuition? No! It’s similar in Europe, one of the reasons tuition is so reasonable is because it is subsidized by the country.
One of the schools I visited a few months ago, Wiener Neustadt University of Applied Science, provides an excellent example of how “you get what you pay for” is false. Students pay just 726 euros (about $818) per year for their English-taught Business Consultancy bachelor’s program. That’s just incredible to me. They will pay less for their entire three years of tuition than many overnight summer camps costs here in the US!
Let’s look at whether or not their experience is sub par due to their tuition. The first three semesters of the program focus on the fundamentals of business, including courses in accounting, m
anagement, finance, economics, marketing, and law. Students can also chose to do a semester abroad during their third semester. Remember, students continue to pay the Wiener Neudstat tuition during that semester, even though the tuition at the study abroad school is almost guaranteed to be much, much higher!
Consultancy-specific courses begin in the fourth semester, along with those related to the students chosen specialty. The specialization options are; International Accounting and Finance, Marketing and Sales or Management and Leadership. The programs ends with a mandatory internship in the sixth semester. The practical knowledge is not confined to the internship. Almost half of the classes are taught by industry experts and case studies are incorporated throughout the curriculum.
I met with three American students who are studying in this program; Darshaun from San Diego, Jack from Boise, and Vanessa from Dallas. They all stated how much they appreciate the international student body in the program. In fact, 70% of the
students are international students from all around the world. In addition to appreciating the multicultural perspective they gain, they also noted that this large percentage means that the program addresses the needs of international students (academic and non-academic). The students noted that the professors are very accessible to students and get to know them. Most of the classes are in groups of 20 and include discussion, group work and such. There is only one lecture course each semester that has all 80 students.
Jack and Vanessa both live in the school’s student residences. These cost 330 euros per month for a single bedroom and a bathroom and kitchen that is shared with one other student. They both enjoy the international feel in the student residences and community it provides. Vanessa’s dorm arranges an international Sunday dinner each week in which students from different countries host and serve a meal. Dashaun lives with friends in Vienna and commutes to school. Her commute is just 30 minutes each way by train and her student train pass is just 150 euros per semester! Though there are a few places in town that students hang out it, they often head to Vienna social opportunities as well.
The only drawback I saw to this program was the location. The town is small and the campus is a good 10 minute drive from the city center. However, there is a new campus opening this October in the heart of the city center. The design blends old and new, with an old church functioning as the library and modern buildings serving as classrooms and IT labs. The facility is walking distance to the train station and there is a free bus that connects the old campus to the new. Further, by living in Wiener Neustadt, students are able to access nearby Vienna easily, while paying much lower living costs.
Because they are funded by the state, the school has to prove that they are a good investment. How do they prove this? With educational outcomes pertaining to employment. How do they achieve those outcomes? With a strong curriculum, practical experience, and an impressive and international student body. It’s not surprising that the school has the highest employment rate of all the Austrian universities of applied sciences! In fact, they find that companies seek the out to recruit students for internships. So I guess the statement “you get what you pay for” does apply here. The state gets what they pay for so the students don’t have to foot the bill.
I didn’t visit McDaniel College the first time I was in Budapest. There are a handful of American universities in Europe that I have a number of concerns about. Some of them focus on and cater more to American exchange students, which certainly affects the experience for full degree students. Others charge “American sized” tuition, which I don’t think is justified. Though McDaniel College in Budapest has a very reasonable tuition, it wasn’t on my high priority list a few years ago.
After visiting Anglo-American University in Prague, one of my favorites and a Beyond the States member favorite as well, I realized that I needed to check McDaniel out. I added a day to my recent trip and took a short two and a half hour train ride from Vienna to Budapest. McDaniel College in based in Maryland and is listed as one of the Colleges that Change Lives. They note the personalized, interdisciplinary curriculum, experiential leaning opportunities, and student-faculty collaboration as stand out qualities.
The Budapest campus is now a full branch campus of McDaniel and the qualities noted by Colleges that Change lives absolutely extend to this campus. Class size does not exceed 15 students, there are not straight lectures courses and students and professors have direct relationships. I was struck by the innovative and interdisciplinary classes they developed for this campus. For instance, there is a journalism class called From Garden to Table (you should really check this one out-it’s fascinating), a relevant Migration on the Move course, and a new course called Psychology on the Big Screen.
Students can major in Business Administration, Political Science & International Studies, Communication, Psychology, or Art History & Studio Art. This does not need to be decided at enrollment. Students are encouraged to sample courses from different departments and can easily change majors. Like US universities, McDaniel provides resources for non-academic needs as well. There is a staff member who helps with housing, a mental health counselor, and support available 24/7.
All of this sounded great, but I had one remaining concern-the school size. There are only 150 total students at the Budapest campus, and this includes 20-30 exchange students they have each semester. When a school is this small, my concerns include class selection, student resources, and student life. Many of these concerns were quickly alleviated. They have strong student resources in place. Though somewhat limited in number (just over 50 each semester) ,they have sufficient diverse and interesting classes offered every semester. But what about student life? I went to a small high school and the entire student body at McDaniel is just a bit larger than my graduating class in high school!
McDaniel let the students speak to these concerns themselves and arranged for me to meet with a group of international students. One thing to note is that the student body represents 36 different countries. This diversity was represented with this group of students I met with. The group I met with included; Moburak, a Nigerian student who is the head of the Student Advisor Council; Dana and Stephanie who transferred from a community college in California; Rush, a student from DC who transferred from Trinity College in Connecticut; Claudia, a local student; Malisa, a student from Iran, and Dan who is a degree seeking student at the Maryland campus doing a semester in Budapest for a second year.
Dan’s perspective was particularly interesting since he could compare the experiences provided by both campuses. He takes a lot of literature courses and noted that theses courses in Budapest are stronger, with better and deeper class discussion. He loves the Budapest campus so much that he plans to transfer and begin studying full time next year. All of the students spoke very highly of the educational quality and course selection.
They also had wonderful things to say about the student life. In Europe, student life is not confined to campus and all the students spoke of the abundant social opportunities provided by Budapest. Most of the students said that their friend group consists mostly of McDaniel students, but Moburuk stated that that usually changes during the second year when the social group expands to students from other universities that you meet when you are out and at parties. The Student Advisory Council arranges a number of event throughout the year that include orientation events, pub crawls and movie nights. This year they have organized a trip to Montenegro (which has been on my short list for travel). Students pay just 200 euros for flights, food and accommodation!
That brings me to price. Budapest is an incredibly affordable city! The students I met with pay between $250-300 per month when they share an apartment, and some live alone for around $550 per month. Monthly transportation passes cost under $35 and you can get a langos, one of my favorite Hungarian dishes, for about $1.50. But here’s the incredible part-tuition. If you attend McDaniel in Maryland, you will pay $43,260 for tuition. In Budapest, you will pay just about $8,000 per year! Further, students who chose to spend a semester studying at the Maryland campus continue to pay the Budapest tuition price! Further, they accept FAFSA and the GI Bill.
I asked the students what they say to people who say, regarding European tuition, “You get what you pay for”. Stephanie hit the nail on the head when she responded “It’s not about this being inexpensive, but about American education being way too expensive”. So true! If you are ready to learn more about life-changing and AFFORDABLE options, I invite you to join Beyond the States.
The first benefit of college in Europe that caught my attention was the dramatic cost difference! Some of our Facebook ads and posts are about these savings and people sometimes comment along the lines of “In-state is still less expensive”. First of all, I find it interesting that people express this as a fact. Certainly, there are some in-state options that are less expensive than some options in Europe, but how about more generally speaking?
I’ve done a tuition cost comparison for public universities in the past, using tuition information from one of our members who is studying in Prague. Her tuition in Prague is right around the average in Europe, at $6,700 per year, but her in-state tuition at public University of Connecticut is quite high at $12,848 (which does not even include the almost $3,000 of mandatory fees). Since the program in Europe takes just three years to achieve a bachelor’s, she will pay a total of $20,100 in tuition. At UConn, she would pay $38,544 in tuition alone for the four year program. That’s a savings of $18,444, which does not even consider how much less expensive her housing and meals are in Prague. According to Expatistan, the cost of living is 59% lower in Prague, so the savings will still be significant, even after factoring in airfare.
We recently had dinner with some family friends and their daughter, Nicole, who is a freshman at North Carolina State in Raleigh. We talked a lot about her college experience and the various costs involved. I decided to do a more in-depth comparison using the numbers she provided as well as the budget we have for Sam’s first year to see if the savings hold up.
Sam will attend Leiden University, in the Hague. The first thing to note is that the tuition at Leiden is on the higher side of the tuition range in Europe. The average tuition for the English-taught bachelor’s programs in Europe is right around $7,000. We will pay $12,010 per year for Sam’s tuition as an international student. Nicole pays $2,910 less for in-state tuition at NC State. The cost of books is comparable.
Food and housing is where we start seeing a big difference! In much of Europe student residences aren’t owned by the school. This creates choices for students in addition to market competition. Though students can often find housing for under $500 per month, I put the housing budget for Sam at $680. This is on the higher side of the range in order to show that the cost difference is significant even if a student can’t find the least expensive option. So, for $6,800 per school year (10 months), Sam will have a private room that is larger than the room Nicole shares with a roommate. He will either have a private bathroom or will share with one other student. He will share a common space and kitchen with other students as well. Nicole shares a bathroom with seven other students and does not have access to a kitchen, which brings me to the cost of meals….
Nicole has a meal plan through her sorority that provides 10 meals per week for $2,000 per year. Of course, there are more meals in a week than that, so she has a meal plan on campus that provides $1,500 worth of food per year and then she gets take out or delivery about 5 times per month. Her overall food total is then $4,000 (or $400 per month).
There aren’t meal plans in Europe. Larger universities have cafes and cafeterias on campus, but they aren’t meant to feed students for every meal. The norm is that students cook for themselves. This is often an adjustment for American students, but so many of the students I have talked to love how meals in their student residences become a multicultural event! I’m not sure whether $200 a month, as in the budget for Sam, seems high or low to me at this point. It’s a number that seems reasonable, given what I saw on many different Dutch university websites about student budget. Certainly, $200 per month could buy a lot of ramen noodles, but I am hopeful that he expands his repertoire!
One benefit to living in many European cities is the ability to use public transportation! Students in the Netherlands can take public transportation for free at certain points of the day and have discounted rates at others. The $600 total transportation budget includes local travel, travel within the country, as well as the purchase of a second-hand bike. In Raleigh, Nicole does not have access to many public transportation options. She spends about $50 per month on Uber and another $15 a month on the party bus her sorority rents to take to events.
The $2,000 sorority dues are the reason that Nicole’s social budget is so much higher than Sam’s, as well as the personal care budget since the sorority events usually involve things like getting her nails and hair done and such. Sam has expenses that Nicole won’t have, with his student residence permit and costs for traveling home. Of course, there will be other expenses for both that this budget doesn’t account for, but those should be comparable enough that they would be close to a wash.
So where does that leave us? Each year, Nicole pays a total of $29,150. Sam will pay $25,860.
You might think that Nicole’s number is higher than it needs to be, since she is in a sorority. That would only take $2,000 per year off though, which is still higher than Sam’s yearly number.
You might say to yourself that a savings of $3,290 per year is not that significant. I totally agree. Where we get to the real savings is when you look at the fact that many European bachelor’s degree programs, including Leiden, take just 3 years to complete. That make our overall savings $39,020! Also consider that Sam will be earning an income (and off our bankroll…) one year earlier which increases the savings even further.
While the savings are certainly a tangible and significant benefit, we would still have pursued these options if the price was comparable. Certainly, there are other benefits like a transparent admissions process and those related to educational outcomes. Just as important to us, though, is what this experience can do for the overall perspective of the student. He will make friends from around the world, which helps cultivate his identity as a global citizen. He will gain great confidence from learning to successfully navigate unfamiliar situations. According to research published in the Harvard Business Review, this international experience will help his career, too. One of our members-the one who is studying in Prague-described it incredibly well. She told me that when she first went to school in Europe it felt like a really big deal. After being there for almost two years and developing the traits noted above, she feels like the world is within her reach. I can’t tell you how much I love that!
When the instructor asked the class on the first day of nursing school “Why do you want to become a nurse?” Hannah’s answer was different from her classmates. The other students talked about caring for the sick, helping to deliver babies, and saving lives. While those aspects also mattered to Hannah, she said she needed a career where she could find a job easily, one that would pay well upon graduation and would support her wherever she went. Hannah’s answers were different from her classmates because she had seen her own family struggle since her father’s computer programming job was sent offshore.
Nursing is a high paying field. According to the same BLS study, nurses have the second highest median income at $65,470 (2012). Did you know nurses make more than accountants?
Excellent long-term prospects: The current nursing workforce is nearing retirement age. The average age of a nurse increased from to 44.7 in 2010 from 40.2 in 2000. As these older nurses retire over the next 1-2 decades, opportunities for advancement will continue to open up. Wages will remain high, since the demand will exceed the supply. Additionally, nurses will find opportunities in other areas of the hospital like IT and management, as well as with vendors.
How does one become a Registered Nurse (RN)?
Education: obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing (BSN) Note: While you can become a registered nurse with an Associate’s degree, a BSN is the preferred credential. It will improve earning power over your career.
Exam: Pass the standardized test for nursing, the NCLEX-RN
License: Complete the licensing requirements for your state. Each state (and DC) has a state board of nursing. License requirements vary, so you’ll have to research this.
How much does Nursing school cost in the US?
There are a number of options for nursing school depending on your goals and current education level. Let’s look at schools in Pennsylvania. University of Pennsylvania is one of the top nursing schools in the country (Others top schools are Duke, Johns Hopkins, and UCSF.). Each program below is 4 years in duration.
Nursing school in the US seems to be pretty expensive. Are there any other nursing study abroad options?
Yes! The good news is you don’t have to fork over $80,000-$200,000 in tuition over 4 years to get a BSN degree if you get your degree overseas. In addition to 1,500 other programs, the Beyond the States database contains 14 English-taught, BSN programs ranging in cost from $2,500 per year to $12,000 per year. One program even takes just 3 years, but most are 3.5 to 4 years in duration. The total program tuition costs (tuition x duration) range from $10,800 to $43,632. Assuming cost of living is comparable (in some Eastern European countries it’s a lot lower) and a $2,000 annual travel budget, getting a nursing degree can be 1/3 to 1/2 the cost of getting a BSN in the US and you’ll get to see the world!
Courses take place in specially equipped labs where students practice nursing procedures in simulated conditions. The skills are then transferred to real-life situations during work placements in various healthcare institutions. In Finland in order to complete the work placements, you’ll learn Finnish during your course of study.
Special Note about Finland:
Half of these nursing programs are in Finland. In 2016, the Finns began phasing in tuition fees to international students for the first time. As part of the transition, schools are offering extremely generous benefits. One school is offering a 50% tuition discount for year one. While at another, if you graduate in three years, the third year is free.
Are these non-US degrees readily accepted?
Yes! Due to the ongoing nursing shortage, nurses have been hired from outside the US for years, so non-US degrees are a lot more common in nursing than in other fields. The three major qualifications employers use to screen candidates with international degrees are:
Accreditation: Does the BSN come from an accredited institution? Beyond the States only lists schools that are accredited.
Ability to Get a Work Visa: a non-issue for US citizens
Fast forward to today, Hannah manages an operating room at a hospital in Philadelphia. Given the ongoing demand for nurses, the positive outlook, and the ability to help others, nursing is one best career paths for today’s students to explore and getting a BSN via nursing study abroad is a great place to start! Join now to see how Beyond the States can help!
This episode of the Beyond the States podcast focuses on tuition cost. Jenn presents information on the astronomical tuition in the US and related problems. She then demonstrates how tuition for the English-taught bachelor’s and master’s degree options in Europe allow an international student to pay less for her entire degree program-including travel costs- than one year of tuition alone at many schools in the US. Peter Kumble, an American professor at Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague, Czech Republic joins the discussion. They explore how it is possible for international student tuition to be so reasonably priced and dig into information about the continued savings students have for other related costs like housing, fees, books, and health insurance.
We’ve already written one cost comparison post showing how college in Europe with low tuition is much more affordable than a public university or a private university in the US. This caused us to ask another question: does it still make financial sense when the tuition is not the incredibly low €1000 per year that Jared will be paying? We think the answer is “Yes” for a number of reasons, but let’s look at the numbers.
Theo is a strong student from a good high school in Venice, California. His grades and 6 AP classes were more than enough to get him into a good school of his choosing in the US or in Europe. He’d wanted to go to college in Europe since middle school. When it was time to get serious about applying, he didn’t know where to start.
After finding Beyond the States, he applied to a number of university colleges in the Netherlands. Theo chose the liberal arts program at Leiden University College in The Hague. Let’s see how Theo’s costs compare to a public university and a private university in his home state of California.
Housing at Leiden University College is upscale and unique. Students are required to live on campus the first two years of study, so housing is guaranteed. The students live in studio apartments on the upper floors of the 21 story LUC building, which is just five years old and in great condition. Most units are large single rooms with their own kitchenette and bathroom and large floor to ceiling windows with wonderful views of The Hague. Each floor has a shared lounge/eating area, quiet areas for study and resident assistant. The building also contains 15 classrooms, along with an auditorium for 200 students, self-study areas, a grand café and a student lounge with performing arts room, a student-run bar and office space for LUC’s student association. The highest standard of nature friendly materials were used for the interior, expressing the importance of sustainability to all and echoed by the large vertical garden behind the reception desk. For more about housing, visit this link.
When all is said and done, Leiden University College is $6,885 less per year than UCLA, which equates to a total savings of $54,717 over Theo’s college career. Further, just one year at Occidental isn’t much less than all three years at Leiden University College!
The real bottom line though takes into account the experience and fit. When Theo sat in on a class at LUC, he noted that the class was how he imagined college should be – students engaging in interesting, intelligent discussions with a teacher facilitating discussion without dominating it. He felt like he’d found his place. For Theo, being able to get his degree at Leiden University College doesn’t just make financial sense, it’s the fulfillment of a dream.