According to non-official foreign sources the Bulgarian students which are studying abroad are now around 80 000. That is the approximate number of pupils which are graduating from secondary schools. According to the National Statistical Institute there are 274 200 students in Bulgaria.
According to the Eurostat data from 2008, the Bulgarians which study in different universities throughout Europe are 22 800. In the timeline of eight years (from 2001 to 2009) this figure has doubled. In 2001 they were 10 800 but in 2009 the number of students which have applied abroad has risen by 50%.
The most popular degrees being studied amongst the Bulgarian students are Economics, Law studies, Psychology, Architecture, Fashion and Design and Computer technologies.
One of the most preferred educational destinations of the Bulgarian students is Great Britain. Compared to last year, the number of those who want to study in Great Britain has increased by 56.3%.
According to UCAS which is the organization that is centrally concerned with candidates for higher education in Britain, this year the Bulgarian candidates who have submitted their documents to British universities were 1 651, whereas last year their number was 1 056.
Now that Bulgaria is part of the European Union the tuition fees for the Bulgarian students in Great Britain have declined significantly. Before 2007 they had to pay between 9 000 and 12 000 pounds, whereas nowadays charges rarely exceed 3000 pounds. Apart from that our students have another privilege - they can draw low-interest loans from the British agency.
Bulgarian students are now also interested in the provided courses in Denmark and Holland universities. The reason for this is the targeted policy of the governments of the countries which are attracting foreign students with favorable conditions for admission.
The candidates orientate themselves to Denmark because of the tuition free education. Holland is preferred because it is a state with traditions in the practical oriented education.
Most of the Bulgarian students study in Germany - their number there is 12 500. The second biggest group of Bulgarians in education can be found in the USA which currently has a figure of 3 500 Bulgarians.
USA and Canada
If we exclude the number of Russian foreign students, the Bulgarian students are the first major group of foreign students from the East European countries in the universities of the USA and Canada. According to the last research which was made in April 2008, the number of Russian students in the USA is 5 073, whereas the Bulgarian studentshave only a figure of 3 664. Students from Romania and Poland are currently in second and third place reguarding the number of students, who study in the universities of the USA.
Information for the international students in Bulgaria
According to the Ministry of Education for the 2008/2009 academic year there were 13 700 international students studying in Bulgaria. More than 8500 of these students came from the neighbouring states, Turkey and Macedonia. The other international students came from Greece, Cyprus, Moldova, Serbia and Ukraine, which means that Bulgaria is a regional center for higher education. Foreign students choose to study in Bulgaria because of the cheaper education, the easy acceptance at the universities and also the states membership in the EU. Students say that they can get a better education in Bulgaria, rather than in their own country. They also say that there are better job opportunities after graduation. Those who have chosen to study in Bulgaria usually attend bigger universities. This is why most of foreign students are to be found in Sofia.
Sofia University “St. Clement Ochridski” (SU) is the university with the largest number of international students having figures showing 1 921 students. The second university is the Technical University (TU) in Sofia with has 1 812 foreign students. The Medical University in Plovdiv has a smaller number of international students with the low figure of 1 230. These are also the preferred universities within Varna and Sofia.