Edition 177 - January 2016

Finland: Green light for tuition fees for non-EU/EEA students

The Finnish Parliament has approved a new bill introducing compulsory fees for international students studying at Finnish institutions. Starting in August 2017, all Finnish universities will charge students coming from outside the EU or EEA a minimum annual tuition fee of EUR 1 500 per year. The new measure allows universities to introduce fees even sooner – as from January 2016 – and gives them leeway to raise the level of fees anywhere above the minimum threshold. The tuition fees apply to bachelor and master programmes taught in languages other than Finnish or Swedish (see ACA Newsletter - Education Europe, Edition October 2015).

The decision to introduce fees in Finland was not taken lightly. Between 2010 and 2014, the government ran a trial period of charging students from outside the EU/EEA area tuition fees for selected English-taught master programmes. The average tuition fee charged by Finnish universities during the trial was around EUR 8000, but the results of the pilot scheme offered no clear conclusions on whether fees would benefit the system (see ACA Newsletter - Education Europe, Edition April 2014). Following the trial period, the previous government of Prime Minister Alexander Stubb put forward a bill envisioning tuition fees of at least EUR 4 000 for non-EU/EEA students, but ultimately abandoned the plan in the course of 2014, as the opposition from Finnish student unions mounted. When the current coalition government of Prime Minister Juha Sipilä came into office in spring 2015, it resumed the effort to introduce tuition fees. Despite fierce opposition from student unions, the proposal sailed through the Finnish Parliament on 15 December 2015 by a vote of 137 to 46 with the unanimous backing of the three coalition parties. 

Study in Finland 

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