Finland Plans to Charge Full Tuition Fees to Non-EU/EEA Students

Finland Europe Higher Education News International Studies by Erudera News May 31, 2024


The Finnish government has proposed full-cost tuition for non-EU/EEA students to improve the finances of higher education institutions, among other things.

According to a press release by the government, the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture plans to apply changes to the Universities Act and the Universities of Applied Sciences Act as well as introduce an application fee for these students.

Subject to these changes will be international university students who enroll in programs taught in languages other than Finnish or Swedish, reports.

“The Government proposes that the tuition fees collected from such students should cover the cost of providing the education and training,” the ministry said.

It further notes the amendments would implement the objective included in Prime Minister Petteri Orpo’s program, aiming to make progress towards charging full-cost tuition for non-EU/EEA students.

Commenting on the statement, the Minister of Science and Culture Sari Multala said the intention is to encourage international students in Finland to remain in the country.

“Charging fees for tuition at full cost aims to improve the finances of higher education institutions and to encourage foreigners studying in Finland to stay in the country,” Minister Multala said.

In addition, according to the proposal, people who have entered Finland on a residence permit for studies must pay tuition fees even if they have switched from that permit to a work permit.

Moreover, the government plans to introduce an application fee for non-EU/EEA citizens to reduce the number of low-quality applications which have added to the workload of universities.

Multala said universities accept many applications from students who do not meet the conditions to study at Finnish higher education institutions, and the new changes will ease the institutions’ administrative burden.

“Every single application must be processed and this uses up resources in higher education institutions,” Multala added.

The government also mentioned that higher education institutions must ensure that all contracts and agreements on “commissioned education” emphasize the parties’ obligations and rights and that the commissioned education participants are aware of these rights and responsibilities.

According to the Finnish National Agency for Education, commissioned education involves the paid training offered by colleges of vocational education and training and commercial organizations.

The proposed acts are expected to enter into force on October 1, 2024, the application fee on August 1, 2025, and the provisions on the amount of tuition fees on August 1, 2026.

Over the past year, the number of first applications for residence permits for studies rose by 48 percent from the previous year, according to data from the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri).

At the end of July 2023, a total of 8,762 non-EU applicants submitted their first applications for a residence permit for studies, an increase from 5,911 applicants during the same period in 2022. Between January and July 2023, the highest number of applicants were from Bangladesh, China, Sri Lanka, India, and Russia.

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