When it comes to further education there are a lot of things to consider, one of them being finance. How will you finance yourself throughout your university career? What loans/grants/scholarships are available to you? These are things that every student has to think about and I don’t prove to be an exception.
However, there is one thing that I did have to contemplate that not every student has to take into consideration – Did I want to study in the UK or in Spain?
Finance-wise these two options prove to be extremely different:
- The student loan system in England seems to encourage just about anyone to study a degree at university, as the application process involved doesn’t seem all to difficult and loans seem to be handed out to just about anyone. Now although I agree with the idea that everyone has the right to better themselves and to educate themselves, I can’t see eye to eye with students who go on to do a university degree for the sake of it, simply because they don’t know what else to do. And unfortunately undeserving students are not discouraged, as they know that they will be able to get a loan to cover all their expenses, whilst at university.
The problem with this is that the majority of students leave thousands of pounds in debt, that they struggle to pay off for years to come. So I had to decide – Would the loan be worth it? Would I be able to pay it back? How much stress would it put on me once I started earning?
- Of course I had a second option – to study in Spain. Here the system is quite different. As long as you are a legal resident and can prove a steady income, whether it be your own or that of a family member, all your taxes are paid for (i.e tuition is free) and they give you what is called a “beca”. A few years ago this would cover all your basic expense, but the financial situation being what it is, the sum dolled out has dropped to cover around 3/4 of the amount. This means that every student has to find between 500 and 3000 euros a year to support themselves, depending on their lifestyle.
The benefits of this system are that it is perfectly plausible that students leave university debt free, however it does imply an additional amount of stress over studying in the UK, as not being able to find said funds could result in having to leave your studies mid-course.
After a lot of consideration, I opted for option two, as by my calculations, a university education to study a degree in Veterinarian Sciences in the UK would have cost me around £45,000 and that’s tuition alone! I just felt that was too big a number to have hanging over my head.
And that’s how I ended up studying in Spain. So far so good. I can honestly say that the only financial stress I’ve had so far is trying to secure a summer job every year, but I remain positive and at the end of the day, as long as I put in the effort and work hard, there’s no reason why I shouldn’t get a university education for free!