EU Crisis Impact Felt in College Scholarships

08 November, 2011 | Source: The Jakarta Globe

As much of Western Europe grapples with economic crisis, its effects are being felt half a world away by young people in Indonesia.

For aspiring international university students, the situation could mean a reduction in the number of scholarships provided by European governments to study there.

Mervin Bakker, director for Nuffic Neso Indonesia, a Dutch higher-education organization, said the Dutch government’s budget for scholarships had “decreased a little bit.”

For next year, he said, the country’s government had allocated 200 scholarships for Indonesian students, down from 300 in previous years.

However, he added that although the budget for international students had been cut by “a few percent,” he denied that it was cause for concern for either government.

He said Indonesia’s Education Ministry was increasing its funding for education abroad, including to the Netherlands. More scholarships available from the government will help offset the shrinking number offered by the Netherlands.

The ministry has also recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the Dutch government that will see approximately 50 doctoral candidates go to the Netherlands to study annually, starting next year.

Nuffic Neso records show that the majority — 65 percent — of Indonesians studying in Holland are pursuing postgraduate degrees.

Keith Davis, country director of the British Council Indonesia, acknowledged that the current economic crisis was also affecting the United Kingdom but did not provide numbers.

“Nevertheless, the British government continues to support top students from around the globe to continue their studies in the UK through the British Chevening Awards scheme,” he said.

Each year, up to 25 full scholarships are offered for master’s degrees in the UK through the program, which began in 1984.

“As for the 2012-13 academic year, the British Council Indonesia recently opened for applications on November 1,” Davis said. “Many UK universities also offer partial scholarships or fee reduction schemes.”

A number of other agencies also provide scholarships to UK schools, such as the Ancora Foundation, the Ford Foundation and the Open Society Foundation.

Ewa Polano, the Swedish ambassador to Indonesia, said Sweden had also applied a new policy for international students from outside the EU as of the start of the year.

“Previously, all universities were free of cost, so it was very, very easy to come and study,” the ambassador said. “However, the system was misused by people who only wanted to get a residential permit.”

She said the new international student fees set by each university range from 6,000 to 20,000 euros ($8,200 to $27,000) per academic year.

“Our government still provides scholarships, but it is channeled through each university, so it is up to them how they use it,” Polano said.

Amreta Sidik, the Swedish Embassy’s information officer, denied that the change of policy was caused by the economic crisis, saying the budget for scholarships for international students outside the EU would double in 2012.

 

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