Being a student in Iceland has presented a number of benefits and challenges in recent years. The years 2016 and 2017 have been very different and offered varying experiences for students. As a country, Iceland is an attractive destination, particularly when it comes to research degrees and the wider student experience. It is also growing in popularity for international students due to the range of courses and improving educational standards. Recent changes include:
The government is an advocate for university study and it does provide financial assistance in the form of student loans. There are plans in place to increase the availability of student loans to everyone who requires them, allowing anyone from any background to access higher education. Currently over $30 billion has been set aside for this purpose.
Cost of living
Since 2016, there has been a growing shortage of housing for students. The number of students who are on the waiting list for housing is at its highest in 2017. This is often linked to the rising number of applications, both from within and outside the country. Furthermore, the price of houses is high, and this has been a major factor that has resulted in this trend. Boarding houses which have been housing students, especially during the winter, are now reserved for tourists. Students must pay between 119,300 to 323,900 ISK for accommodation. Despite this, there are plans to construct new student housing in the coming years to reduce the shortage.
Iceland is a friendly and cohesive country. In 2016, students were encouraged to participate in the Pangea Maths Olympics. In 2017, several events are still being organised, which encourages interactions among students in the entire country and international students.
Iceland is attractive for international students due to the costs of higher education. Every year, the government awards scholarships. The amount of money dedicated to scholarship increased in 2017, allowing more students to enter university. Some of these scholarships encourage applicants from Europe to come into the country and learn Icelandic as a second language.
No work permit requirements
Members of EEA (European Economic Area) countries do not need a work permit to work in the country. International students from Switzerland also have similar rights to local students. On the other hand, international students from regions outside the EEA need to apply for a limited work permit.
For the next few years, Iceland will remain to be a popular choice for international students. The increasing support from the government assigned to education, particularly in terms of student finance and scholarships will continue to be a significant factor in ensuring that students can attend and complete their studies at university.