Danish courses for DKK 1,250 instead of DKK 10,000 for international students and employees at AU under new agreement
In March, the Danish government and the Danish People's Party adopted a law to introduce a DKK 10,000 tuition fee for the Danish study programme for internationals. But the Lærdansk language school has a solution: a new course offering that only costs DKK 1,250.
International students and employees at AU can breathe a sigh of relief. Lærdansk is offering a new Danish course for DKK 1,250 instead of the DKK 10,000 they would otherwise have had to try to scrape together.
International students and employees can now sign up for a 50-lesson course designed to provide them with a level of Danish proficiency that will allow them to enrol in the first module of Lærdansk’s FVU Danish course, FVU Start. (‘FVU’ stands for Forberedende Voksenudervisning, or preparatory education for adults, ed.) The pre-FVU introductory course costs DKK 1,250, and the following FVU classes at levels 1-4 are free. This means the total tuition for international students is DKK 1,250.
- FVU stands for ‘Forberende Voksenundervisning’ (preparatory education for adults).
- FVU was originally conceived as a programme to improve basic literacy and numeracy among adults in order to better qualify them for the labour market.
- FVU is free and is financed by the central government.
- Foreign citizens can take Danish classes in the FVU system if they have elementary Danish proficiency. You can learn basic Danish from the Ready-Steady class, which is tailored to foreign citizens and costs DKK 1,250.
- More information and registration here or contact Lone Beck: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rikke Nielsen, head of the International Office at AU, is extremely pleased about the new course.
“We still think it’s important for the international students to learn Danish. Both because it leads to better integration during their studies and the opportunity to participate in the social aspect, but also because it increases the likelihood that we can retain them in Demark after they’ve finished their degree. It’s a huge asset for society,” she says, referring to a report by Universities Denmark which shows that international students on average contribute DKK 779,000 to Danish society within eight years of their graduation.
A completely new course
It may seem a bit odd that Lærdansk can offer a complete Danish course for just DKK 1,250 when the new act imposes a tuition fee of DKK 2,000 per module. But according to Marianne Jensen, school superintendent at Lærdansk, this is completely by the book:
“It’s possible for us to offer the course for just 1,250 kroner because this is a completely different course than the Danish study programme for which tuition fees of DKK 2,000 per module have been imposed. And so the legislation that’s applicable here is also different,” she explains.
FVU courses were originally designed to help adult Danes improve their literacy and numeracy in order to enhance their qualifications on the labour market. These courses have always been free, as the FVU system is financed by the central government. What’s new is that non-Danes can now enrol in a pre-FVU introductory course which will provide them with the necessary level of Danish proficiency to take FVU Danish classes.
“We would like to continue to offer internationals Danish classes because we believe that it’s simply so important to know Danish if you’re going to have a chance of becoming an active member of Danish society. It will have so many consequences, both for internationals and Danish society, if we drop Danish classes because they’re too expensive,” Jensen says.
The free course and the paid course give you the same rights
The difference between the Danish study programme that costs DKK 2,000 per module and the FVU course is that the former involves a module test after each module and a final exam after the fifth module.
“For some people, passing the module tests and the final Danish test are important, because you’re tested on all of your competencies, and so you get a diploma proving you’ve achieved a certain level. At the same time, students on this Danish study programme are tested on both written and oral skills, whereas you’re only tested on written language skills on the FVU course.”
However, she also stresses that you also learn to speak Danish on the FVU course, because all instruction is in Danish.
“The FVU course offering is really fine if you want to learn how to get on socially and on the job market. But if you want to pass the Study Examination, for example, which qualifies you to take a degree programme in Danish, the paid Danish study programme can give you a better foundation.”
At the same time, the test after stage 4 of the FVU programme gives students the same rights as the Danish 3 test on the Danish study programme, including the possibility of applying for permanent residence.
The new law
- In March 2018, the Danish government and the Danish People's Party adopted a law requiring self-supporting foreign citizens in Denmark to pay DKK 2,000 in tuition for each module of the Danish study programme.
- The programme typically consists of five modules, which means that the total cost is DKK 10,000.
- The fees were introduced in order to help finance the tax agreement concluded between the government and the Danish People's Party, which contains tax cuts.
- The law came into force on 1 July.
- Last year Parliament also enacted legislation requiring self-supporting foreign citizens in Denmark to pay a DKK 1,250 deposit for the study programme. The deposit is refunded when you leave the programme.
Duolingo and Swap Language – options for exchange students
Nielsen anticipates most of the international students who will elect to pay the DKK 1,250 for the class will be planning on studying here for a number of years.
“We saw that some of our exchange students dropped Danish classes last year when a DKK 1,250 deposit was introduced, so we’ll probably see that here as well. I imagine that they’ll make use of other options instead, such as language apps like Duolingo, or the Swap Language programme, where students learn languages from each other,” says Nielsen.
More options for employees
Students are not the only internationals who can take advantage of the free FVU Danish course. All foreign citizens who would otherwise have to pay for a Danish course can sign up for the introductory class and the subsequent FVU course. This means that the offer is open to AU’s international employees and their accompanying partners as well. Separate classes for employees and students will be available, and taking the classes on campus in Aarhus will also be an option.
Employees and their accompanying partners can also take Danish classes from A2B, which offers the same Danish study programme offered by Lærdansk, where each module costs DKK 2,000. The difference between the two options is that A2B’s classes are designed in close collaboration between A2B and AU’s departments/schools. This means that it’s possible to join a smaller class at your own department/school at times and locations tailored to the participants, while the schedule of the Lærdansk classes is fixed, explains Anne Pletschette Langer, international coordinator in AU Research Support and External Relations.
She encourages employees to familiarise themselves with the various options and select the class that best suits their needs.