Could You Do It?

Gray Easterling
Gray Easterling

As you son or daughter approaches a decision as to their college destination, one out of the box choice would be to explore college in Europe. There was an interesting article in Wealth Management for the month of September, 2016 that provided information that might be helpful. I guess the first decision will be whether or not you would be able to send your child overseas for school. If you reach a positive response to that question, consider the following. Your child does not have to be proficient in a foreign language. There are more than 1,500 European bachelor’s programs outside the United Kingdom that are taught in English. There is a website ( that, for a monthly fee, offers a database of all the bachelor’s degree programs conducted in English in non-English speaking countries. There are also free articles about attending school in Europe. If your child is interested in a school in Great Britain, go to the “British Council” website.


One factor that might make the overseas option more attractive is the possibility of tuition waivers and scholarships for international students. According to the article, average tuition in Europe is $7,291 per year and housing is $300 to $500 per month. More than 40 European public universities provide American students with free tuition. Also, an undergraduate degree will take three years in Europe, versus four years in the U.S. In Europe, students start right away in their chosen major field, thus avoiding spending time on electives. The same results are common with graduate degrees: most master’s degree programs are completed in one year and doctorates are completed in three or four years. If you have a 529 plan in place, you can use them to help fund an education at any school that accepts federal student aid. In addition, undergraduate and graduate students can apply for federal direct loans.


What do you give up? European schools focus on independent study, where students spend very little time in the classroom (many of my fraternity brothers tried this method of “study”). Students will do a lot of reading and testing can depend on one or two tests, so there is a lot of pressure without much chance to “make up” for a bad score. Also, the social life is not like U.S. campuses. No focus on clubs, sports, entertainment or Greeks. As you might suspect, homesickness can be a distraction. There is no quick fix with a trip home if something goes wrong. Obviously, there are cultural and culinary challenges, plus the joy of learning a new language. Could you or your child do it?


It will not be like you are not going to worry about your offspring if they, in fact, do fly off to Europe. But take heart in this meditation for September 1st in the Forward Day by Day: “The trouble with fretting is that it is in conflict with trust, specifically, the incredible trust that God will give us what we need…I don’t think it is accidental that Jesus teaches his disciples to pray for daily bread—just enough for today. Neither is it an accident that Jesus next tells his disciples to ask for forgiveness. Give us…Forgive us… Forgive us our mistrust, Lord. Remind us not to fret; you give us enough for today.”


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