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The Lånekassen state loan webpage
Norway expands loan/grant system for language study

Norway has expanded its state educational loan system for the 2017/18 academic year, with non-English courses incorporated into the scheme, while loans for language study abroad can be converted into a grant or scholarship before commencing a degree programme.

The Lånekassen state loan for education has been incorporating the funding of language programmes as a pre-cursor to degree study abroad over recent years.

 

It has previously been possible for part of the loan for language study to be converted into a grant if the applicant commenced a degree course within a year of completion of the language programme. A major change from the next academic year is that students do not have to start a degree to receive the grant.

 

Janne Myrhaug of Norwegian agency Language Abroad was among the agents that attended a government briefing session on the system, and she welcomed some of the changes in the system.

 

To be eligible for the loan system for non-English programmes overseas, students must: have the intention of studying a degree in the same country; study a full-time language course for a minimum three-month period and a maximum of ten months; attend a nationally accredited language school or university language centre; and complete the course with an official language test, such as DELF in France or DELE in Spain.

 

For a 10-month programme, a student is eligible to receive up to 240,000 Norwegian Krone (NOK) for tuition, living expenses and travel, with up to approximately one third as a grant.

 

Janne said that while there were positive changes in the scheme, agents were hoping that the 'intention to study' clause would be removed. Economic consequences for not commencing a degree have been eliminated from the system, but the 'intention' clause still makes it difficult for agents to market, she said.

 

Nonetheless, she said there was business potential in the changes. In the 2015/16 academic year, there were only approximately 750 Norwegian students pursuing degree programmes in Spain, France and Germany, she said.

 

The Lånekassen was first established in 1947 to provide loans for higher education study, and supported 422,500 students in the 2015-16 academic year, with NOK22.7 billion of loans and NOK3.7 billion in grants.

 

At the time of writing, NOK1 = US$0.11

 

 

By Matthew Knott

News Editor