For a Price: The New York Times on Student Subsidies in Hungary

2013. február 18. 15:04

Ferenc Kumin
Ferenc Kumin's Blog
The New York Times published an article yesterday entitled, 'Students Receive Subsidized Studies in Hungary — for a Price.' University education in Hungary is a curious topic for this prominent daily newspaper, but the reporter, Peter Teffer, generally treated it even-handedly and quotes a variety of sources.

"Here’s the focus: according to new rules, a student accepting Hungarian state-funded support to pay for university study must sign an agreement to work in Hungary for a certain period of time within 20 years after graduation. In the article, the NYT talks to (some) student leaders, professors, Minister Balog and me, and it points out that this requirement is unusual and raises the question about whether it violates EU principles of freedom of movement. It’s presented as a controversy. (...)


One of the students complains that if he has a job offer abroad after graduation, then he can’t take it. But that’s false. A student has twenty years to fulfill the requirement to work in Hungary or pay back the tuition.

One of the sources quoted in the article accuses the government of being 'really populist' with this new rule, an attempt to win voter support. But put yourself in the shoes of the Hungarian tax payer. The Hungarian state pays full tuition for a young man or woman to obtain a three-year, undergraduate degree, or perhaps even longer in the case of a medical or engineering degree, only to have the new graduate leave the country after graduation to apply his or her knowledge, and pay taxes, elsewhere. Would that strike you as fair? (...)

As Minister Balog states in the article, the government wants 'to have a balance between the individual interest and the national interest. This country is investing in higher education, so whoever graduates should also use their knowledge to further the interest of the country.'

So where’s the controversy?"


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