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Average Age of Icelandic University Students Highest in Europe

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Average Age of Icelandic University Students Highest in Europe

University of Iceland

Photo: Geir Ólafsson.

The average age of university students in Iceland is not only the highest in Europe, Icelandic students take the longest time of any students in Europe to complete their university degree Kjarninn reports. These were among the results that were published in EUROSTUDENT’s most recent survey of higher academia around Europe.

The mean age of Icelandic university students was shown to be 29.7 years. The mean age at which Icelanders enter university is 23.9 years, although it’s worth noting that most Icelandic students complete their upper secondary education at the age of 20. Iceland also had the highest percentage of students who are also parents, at 33%.

In terms of their overall satisfaction with their studies, the EUROSTUDENT data shows a high level of satisfaction among Icelanders, with 71% reporting a very high level of satisfaction with the quality of teaching they receive. Other interesting findings included that 26.6% of Icelandic university students report having a very good proficiency in three languages and that 25.4% report having parents with Master’s degrees.

Kjarninn notes that Icelandic students have repeatedly argued that in terms of the support they receive, their academic conditions are lacking and this claim does seem to be borne out when compared with those of students in other Nordic countries. Student loans from the Icelandic Student Loan Fund (LÍN) are currently only set at 92% of the European norm for basic support, although this amount is set to rise to 96% for the 2018 – 2019 academic year.

LÍN’s terms state that a student “must have pursued paid employment in Iceland,” however, the maximum allowable income to receive a full loan is ISK 930,000 [$9,112], even as wages in Iceland have risen by 38%. (“Forty-five per cent of the student’s income in 2017 over ISK 930,000 shall be deducted from the student loan.”) There is no discount given to students who satisfactorily complete their studies within a stipulated time frame. Additionally, in order to receive loan funds, students must be successfully complete a minimum of 22 credits a semester.

The overview and selected findings from this year's EUROSTUDENT report can be read (in English) here. See a further breakdown of Iceland's responses and the full country results in the EUROSTUDENT VI Database here.

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