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Financial support systems: the student experience in England and France

Curtis, Susan and Klapper, Rita (2005) Financial support systems: the student experience in England and France. ISSN 0306-8293

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Abstract

Purpose – To investigate how the financial status of students in England and France affects their experience of university life. Design/methodology/approach – A questionnaire survey was carried out among undergraduates in two countries. There were 168 responses from students studying at a French university and 325 responses from students studying at an English university. Findings – The financial burden in France rests with parents, while in England students are largely responsible for their own funding. Indicators suggest that English students may be suffering from financial difficulties. Students continue the tradition of enjoying themselves and socialising, whatever their nationality and financial status. Research limitations/implications – The comparison made was not between institutions of equal status. The Institut de Formation Internationale in Rouen is part of a Grande Ecole group which is private, and may attract students from higher income families. The students at Manchester Metropolitan University Cheshire study in a rural locale (the towns of Crewe and Alsager in south Cheshire), which is unusual for a UK university and it may well be that a lower proportion of these undergraduates come from higher income families than the French students. Practical implications – While it would seem to be more equitable and economically efficient for individuals to pay directly for services they receive, rather than those services being funded by higher tax, this study highlights certain problems. The quality of the educational experience for English students may be reduced by their continuing to live at home with parents and carrying out low level work while studying. Originality/value – No other research appears to have been carried out in the UK or in France on this topic.

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