Russian students choose foreign universities

Why more and more Russian students go to study in Eastern Europe.
Studying in Russian universities has become so expensive that our entrants rushed to countries where education is cheaper, and its quality is not lower. Naturally, it's not about expensive universities in the US, England and Switzerland: the study there is affordable only for the children of very wealthy parents. Our practical middle class is mastering inexpensive high schools in Eastern Europe. And the neighbors happily accept Russian entrants: they are enthusiastically studying and are giving the opportunity to universities to earn. "Ogonek" studied the phenomenon

Russia is one of the few countries in Europe where its citizens study at state universities for their own money (in recent years prices in Russian universities have grown, and the number of budget places in popular destinations has been decreasing). In the most prestigious areas (for example, under joint programs with foreign universities), the fee today reaches 540 thousand rubles a year (8,710 euros).

This growing curve does not cause any special alarm among domestic education managers: they are convinced that children will still come to study, and parents will pay for it, even if they have to get into debt.

And no one seens to have a simple thought: what if the children come to study, but not to them?

Such a probability, as "Ogonek" found out, is not a fantasy: our entrants (and their parents) are already seriously considering the universities of Eastern Europe and China as an alternative to the domestic education.

They said: "Let's go!"

The flow of Russians rushing to universities "around the perimeter": to the Baltic countries, Finland, Poland, the Czech Republic and even, do not be surprised, China, is growing every year. According to Ogonek, which contacted education agencies of all these countries, over the past three years, there has been an increase by an average of one and a half times.

Now about 6 thousand of our students study in Czech universities (the third largest student community after Czechs and Slovaks). In Finnish universities there are 3045 Russians (in 2013 there were about 2 thousand), and this is the largest student diaspora in Finnish universities. 1065 Russian students study in Poland. Russians in the universities of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia are not counted in thousands, but in hundreds, but every year there are more of them.

Researchers of the Chinese education market argue that the number of Russian students in Chinese universities reached 16,000 (and five years ago they allegedly had about 5,000). Skeptics, however, dispute this figure, resting on the fact that in our schools, children do not yet learn Chinese in such numbers, while in special schools and Chinese boarding schools in Moscow there are only 2,000 students. But the facts are stubborn: the flow of entrants to the East is growing, and tangibly. And as soon as the Chinese will launch educational programs in English, which is being talked about more and more recently, they can generally become leaders in the educational business.

We are used to repeating as a spell that our education is the best, and look down at higher educational institutions of Eastern Europe. Neither point is no longer true. In the ranking of Universities of the World in 2016 QS (Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings) universities of these countries occupy positions close to ours. So, MSU has the 109th place, and the University of Helsinki - the 91st. The 133rd is the Finnish University Aalto. In the third hundred, two of our universities broke through: St. Petersburg State University (258th) and Novosibirsk State University (291st). Slightly higher, in 234th place, is another Finnish university - in Turku. In the fourth hundred our four universities are MSTU (306th), MIPT and MGIMO (350th) and Tomsk State University (377th). The universities of Eastern Europe can also be found there: Charles University (Prague), Technical University of Tampere, University of Juwskl, Technical University of Laaperant (all three in Finland), University of Tartu (Estonia), University of Eastern Finland.

Thus, the universities of Eastern Europe are not at all provincial high schools, they provide a completely qualitative education. And there is everything that is stipulated by the principles of the Bologna Declaration "European Higher Education Area". We list: comparable degrees of bachelors, masters and PhD recognized by all countries of Europe. Further, the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) is the opportunity to count the passed courses in points, which is necessary for a free transition from one university to another (interestingly, but if we google "educational loans" in Russian, it persistently leads to expensive banking services that almost no one uses). And, of course, students' mobility: all European universities are included in the system of academic exchanges of Erasmus. Concerning Erasmus, yes, Russian universities also participate in academic exchanges, but our students do not count semester classes in another country and after passing home have to take the "missed" courses.

But most importantly, the tuition fee for foreigners in Eastern European universities is much lower than for Russians in our universities. Economic and technical specialties cost an average of 3 thousand euros per year. Humanitarian - in general from 900 euros. Accommodation, food, transportation - all this is cheaper than in Moscow. Is it any wonder that the law of the market worked: the student went to where education is not worse than in our universities, but is cheaper?

Although "non-economic advantages" are also important. An important argument "for" education "around the perimeter" is a clear and transparent procedure for enrolling entrants. We talked a lot about the fact that the introduction of the USE made entry into a Russian institution of higher education simple and enabled the children from the province to study in the universities of the capital. Euphoria, however, was short-lived. Over the past few years, the enrollment procedure has become so confused that not all entrants will wait for final results - the admission commissions urged to bring originals of certificates or keep the entrants in exhausting ignorance, many simply give up their nerves. At universities in Eastern Europe, admission to the university is standard: the submission of necessary documents in advance (no less than three months, sometimes six months) and, if the university does not have questions about the quality of schooling, enrollment. It is possible, however, to call for an interview (if there are questions on the documents), but the decision is taken immediately - according to its results.

Foreign universities

Most of the students from Russia study in English (the required B2 level). But this is not a dogma: in order to receive money from Russian parents, some universities in the Czech Republic and Latvia have programs in Russian, and in Estonia there are even two private Russian-speaking universities.

Sonia Lippman, the agency's inspector, lists the Russian-language courses: "Biomedical and Clinical Technologies" at the Czech Technical University in Prague (4,000 euros per year), "Enterprise Economics and Management" at the Graduate School of Economics in Prague and "Economics of Enterprises" in the Institute of Technology and Business in Ceske Budejovice (€3,600 per year)," Banking" at a private Banking Institute in Prague (€2,760 per year).

The second most popular among our students is Finland. An employee of the Finnish Embassy in Moscow, Harry Heikkinen, told Ogonek that every year the embassy issued about a thousand permits "to stay in Finland on the basis of studies," and the training of foreigners in that country was completely free until December last year. Then the Finnish parliament passed a law on the introduction of fees for students "from outside the European Economic Area," but its implementation is hampered: when the bill was reviewed, it had an amount of 8 thousand euros per year, but the teachers of Finnish universities protested: they said that in this case the universities will lose up to 40 percent of their students. As a result, the issue of the amount of payment is still suspended, but it is already clear that the "standards" will be formed according to the "bottom line".

Julia Lusik, coordinator of the national agency Study in Poland, talking about studying in Poland, focuses on the relationship between price and quality. "Education is European, and the cost of education and living is much lower than in Western Europe." However, representatives of all these countries, including the Baltic states, also speak about this.

It should be noted that all the experts with whom "Ogonek" spoke, note the "quality" of Russian students: they are well-prepared, and they want to learn and try their best. For example, Esa Vakkilainen, a professor of stable energy systems at the Laaperta University of Technology (Finland), is convinced: "Students from Russia, and every year there are from 6 to 10 Russian undergraduates, are certainly the best among foreigners in our university. Graduating from the Bachelor's Degree in Russian prestigious universities, they have excellent knowledge of basic disciplines, including mathematics, they are fluent in English, of course, they also have problems: the inability to work in groups, the lack of presentation and reporting skills. For students from the United States, these skills are much better developed, but during the study period, Russian students master all of this and become one level with the American students." And in Estonia, the coordinator of the program Study in Estonia Daria Arkhipova told, there was not yet a chance that the undergraduates from Russia were not given a state scholarship: our kids study so well.

Yes, our students in Eastern European universities are few, around 10-12 thousand compared with 5 million, who study in Russian public and private universities, a drop in the ocean. But they are the best guys. The trend has turned out, and if our education officials continue to treat students as a profitable industry, the drop will turn into a flood.

How and why in Russia there was a paid training in public universities

Paid places in state universities appeared in the 1990s, when private institutes and academies were opened everywhere. They were taught by all the same professors and assistants (and where was the new one could come from?), only the salary was incomparably greater. Then the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Finance allowed the budget universities to accept 20 percent of students for payment.

Over time, the funding of public institutions of higher education has increased at times. But paid places in state universities not only did not disappear, they became more and they became more expensive (154 231 people were accepted under payment in state colleges in 2016). Budget seats have been declining for the last 10 years. Here are the data of the Institute for the Development of Education of the Higher School of Economics. The budgetary reception for the first courses in 2016 decreased in comparison with 2015 by 13 thousand places: from 288 thousand to 275 thousand. 52 thousand budget places were taken by target people and benefits recipients, and 223 thousand entrants took part in the competition.

Meanwhile, the school in 2016 graduated 750 thousand children. Subtract targetors and benefits recipients, compare the 700 thousand remaining children with the figure of competitive admission and get 33.1 percent: these are the chances of the graduate of the school for free education in the university.

Irina Abankina, director of the Institute for the Development of Education of the Higher School of Economics, explains: "The share of budget funding in public universities increased from 54% in 2009 to 63% in 2015 (there are no statistics for 2016 yet.) But starting from 2013, to humanitarian, legal and economic areas, while engineering and medical services were increased, and so it turned out: the number of places was decreasing, and the higher schools received more money. "

Today, humanitarian, legal and economic areas receive only 22 percent of state employees from the total number of first-year students. But it is these directions that have been and remain the most attractive for entrants. And consequently, competition has grown, as well as the cost of training in paid places.

We have great problems with the training of doctors. Half of the students of medical schools are studying for their money. Even in the specialty "Nursing" this year appeared paid places.

All past years, prices have grown uncontrollably. Three years ago in Moscow, 350 thousand rubles a year (or 5645 euros at the current rate) were the limit in Moscow State University and MGIMO. Now this is the average price for an average institution. According to open data, at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, a student who has received from 82.7 points of the USE pays an average of 478,012 rubles a year. In MSU, 339 580 rubles at 75.9 points. In the Higher School of Economics, 338,916 rubles at 80.9 points. At the Finance University, 316 841 rubles at 69 points. These are the average figures. In prestigious areas the fee is higher and, it happens, exceeds half a million rubles a year (more than 8 thousand euros).

Technical universities are cheaper, but they also raised fees in recent years. If three years ago you could study in demand engineering specialties for 150 thousand rubles, now it costs in leading universities to 250 thousand rubles.

So quality higher education is becoming less accessible.

Arguments are not in our favor

"Ogonek" found parents who sent their children to study "along the perimeter". Almost all of them wished to remain anonymous. Probably, because recently in Russia there's a disapproval of children studying abroad. And people do not want to have any problems. However, we were not interested in names, but in arguments.

If you count, it turns out that 11-12 thousand children from Russia study in small neighboring countries. They are mainly middle-class children, they studied well at school, they know that they should not rely on parental connections, but on themselves, they studied English and went to language internships.

There are several reasons why they send children to study abroad. Some parents argue that financial calculation is not the main thing, and point to the difficulties of getting to budget places in Russian universities. Maybe they would not have thought of abroad, they say, if the procedure for admission was transparent.

Parents of students emphasize that the admission to the European university is quiet, without hassle. The main documents are certificates of schooling and the results of the USE are sent in advance. Some immediately report on enrollment, if everything suits the university, others are summoned for an interview. The main thing for a kid is to never have a "3" since the 5th grade, in this case the admittance is certain. Knowledge of English, parents say, is of great importance.

The cost of studying in Eastern Europe is lower than in paid places in state universities. For example, the rate of economics at the University of Tartu (Estonia) - 3600 euros per year, is 220 thousand rubles. Such a price in Russia can only be found in some provincial university. In Prague or in Warsaw, the study of the economy is even cheaper.

But this does not mean that the quality of education is lower there. On the contrary, it is very different from the Russian one. First, they teach professors from different countries. There it is considered the norm when teachers are selected by the competition, in which teachers from Germany, France and the USA participate. Students studying economics and management, often have the leaders of international and large national companies speak, talk about their enterprises.

The living conditions in the student campuses are good, parents note. As a rule, the faculties are located nearby, the guys do not spend time traveling from one end of the city to the other. Transportation costs are small, for students there are discounts in both city buses and railways if you need to go to another city. Dormitories are inexpensive, living in a double room costs 90-110 euros per month.

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