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Weight of Costs – The Financial Aspects of Student Course Choices and Study Experiences in a Croatian Higher Education Setting

Karin Doolan ; Institut za drustvena istrazivanja u Zagrebu

Puni tekst: engleski pdf 197 Kb

str. 239-256

preuzimanja: 1.126



International higher education participation research suggests that students’ financial circumstances can constrain course choices and study experiences. This paper contributes to such findings by drawing on data collected at the University of Zagreb in the academic year 2006/2007 in order to discuss how differing levels of financial resources have shaped the higher education course choices and study experiences of selected Croatian students. The paper conceptually addresses the implications of such differing levels of financial means by drawing on Bourdieu’s differentiation between objectified and embodied capital. It is argued that this distinction is a conceptually productive way to capture both the study-related quantity aspect of economic capital (e.g. availability of funds to cover study costs), as well as its incorporated repercussions (e.g. feelings of financial security or insecurity and social distance). The reported data point to the dependence on family financial support for students in Croatia. Related to this, continuation to higher education and course choice have been recognized as restricted for students with lower levels of family financial means. The financial aspects of the university experience are described as encompassing both costs internal to the institution, such as tuition fees and study materials, as well as external costs relating to, for example, accommodation and travel. The distinction between students living at home and away is flagged as particularly relevant for understanding student experiences, since non-fee paying students living at home, irrespective of their family’s financial means, do not seem to have substantial financial concerns weighing on their progress; which is not a scenario shared by their less privileged counterparts living away from home. The paper also draws attention to processes by which institutions reinforce economic inequalities (e.g. socially insensitive tuition fees or poorly equipped library).

Ključne riječi

economic capital; Bourdieu; objectified and embodied states of capital; Croatian higher education; student course choice and studying experiences

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Podaci na drugim jezicima: hrvatski

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