63% of youngsters plan on taking on studies after graduating from middle-school. 55% of them want to study in Latvian higher education institutions and 8% look forward to studying abroad. 29% of respondents have not yet decided on their plans for the near future. Every tenth school graduate does not plan his or her life after graduating from school, according to results of the latest survey carried out by Swedbank Private Finances Institute.
The most popular education fields among students this year are engineer sciences and medicine/healthcare (20%), followed by economics and business management (18%). Arts and music is also a popular choice (15%). The same applies to teaching – 13% of respondents mentioned they wish to acquire higher education in pedagogy or psychology.
Latvian youngsters seem interested the least in law (2%), defence, police work and border guard (4%).
Male dominance is noted in fields like engineering, IT, physics and mathematics. Representatives of the fairer sex prefer areas like medicine or healthcare, art, music, pedagogy and psychology. Youngsters who expect to study abroad wish to enter the field of tourism and hotel business.
Which aspects influence the choice of studies?
When asked about aspects that influence their choice of field of study, respondents mentioned genuine interest (70%) and the hope to make money (60%). The third noteworthy factor is the presence of budget places (31%).
«According to education experts, youngsters who have graduated from middle-school more often than not acquire several higher education diplomas throughout their lives. With that, they also experience multiple turns in their professional careers. This is why we are happy to see that there are more and more youngsters who put their interests ahead of money when considering career options. Because doing what you like helps you accomplish the things you want,» – notes Evita Jansone, Swedbank Private Finance Institute Manager.
How they plan to pay for studies
Information compiled by Swedbank in regard to study applications show that IT, communications, law, medicine and management remain among the most popular subjects. Full-time bachelor degree studies cost an average of EUR 1,950 annually for students who miss out budget places in the aforementioned fields. Those studying medicine should expect higher costs (EUR 2,800) and longer study period (6 years).
Riga Technical University had the largest number of state financed budget places in 2015 (7,100), followed by University of Latvia (5,489) and Riga Stradins University (2,983). The majority of state financed places (3,614) were for bachelor programmes in engineering and technologies, followed by architecture and construction (1,020).
When asked how they plan to cover costs for education, students most often mentioned three main options: hopes to enrol on a state financed place (66%), parents’ support (38%) and part-time employment during studies (36%). 13% mentioned taking a study loan, 8% mentioned using their savings or borrowing from relatives (5%).
«The majority of youngsters follow their dreams when choosing subjects to study. Hopes to land a state financed place in university is the leading plan for financing studies. It is important to keep in mind that the majority of students in Latvia have to pay for higher education – only 40% of all students enrolled on higher education programmes had their studies financed by the state in 2014,» – says Evija Kropa, Swedbank Private Finance Institute expert.