The analysis shows that around 9.0% of students that have taken a full degree abroad encounter problems with the recognition of their degree. Comparing this result to the persistently challenging situation of credit recognition, the results draw a quantitatively less problematic picture. The consequences of non-recognition of a whole degree can, however, be far more severe for the individual. Likewise, the survey cannot capture all problems with recognition as many may still face recognition issues in the future.

Very few people consider a foreign degree a disadvantage on the labour market indicating high levels of acceptance and recognition from employers. Nonetheless, issues arise when it comes to recognition of degrees for the purpose of further education, state employment and for regulated professions. The analysed sample shows that many complain about long (and sometimes costly) administrative procedures for recognition.

While not the main obstacle of not taking a full degree abroad, many fear not getting their degree abroad recognised or have general reservations about the quality of education abroad. Financial obstacles and personal preferences play a major role when deciding whether to take a full degree abroad. Tools such as the Lisbon Recognition Convention are not widely known amongst students and almost 50 % of individuals that did not get their degree recognised indicate not having turned to potentially supporting organisations (such as national students’ unions or NARICs).

While further analysis with more data is needed to investigate the challenges around full degree recognition, it is clear that further efforts facilitating full degree recognition are needed to ensure the functioning of the EHEA.

Research report