Best Practice from Norway

Lånekassen, the State Educational Loan Fund, provides grants and loans to pupils in uppersecondary schools, to university and to college students. Most Norwegian students finance their studies through grants and loans from this Fund. The loans are meant to cover the costs of studying in Norway, and the objective is to give everyone in Norway equal rights to education. Since June 1999, secondary school pupils who participate in a long-term mobility scheme and get their year recognised as a valid one in Norway have been eligible for a government scholarship from the Lånekassen. The scholarship consists of two parts: a basic scholarship and a travel scholarship, i.e. a sum that covers the air fare back and forth between Norway and the country where the pupil will be studying. The basic sum is the same for all pupils, but the travel scholarship varies according to the country of destination. The total sum per participant is approximately 32,000 NOK to 35,000 NOK (approximately € 3,830 to € 4,190). The pupils have to submit their application together with a letter from the organisation coordinating the exchange and a letter from the sending school stating that they will recognise the year abroad. Most schools find it easy to recognise a school year in Europe and the USA, but are more hesitant to recognise a school year in Latin America or Asia, mainly because of lack of knowledge about the school system. Through this programme, the Norwegian government has managed to solve two major obstacles in international youth exchanges: financial means and recognition of studies undertaken abroad.

(Mobility of Secondary School Pupils and Recognition of Study Periods Spent Abroad, EFIL)