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Finland: Looming tuition fees for international students

The Finnish government is planning an end to its free-for-all higher education policy, having presented a proposal on a compulsory minimum tuition fee for non-EU and non-EEA students to the Finnish parliament earlier this month. This measure would require higher education institutions to charge fees for bachelor and master programmes taught in languages other than Finnish or Swedish, starting at a minimum of EUR 1500 per year. Universities would be free to raise fees above this threshold, therefore allowing them to take into consideration the needs of their internationalisation strategy. According to the proposal, institutions would also be expected to introduce scholarship schemes for non-EU/EEA students admitted to tuition-charging degree programmes. If approved, the change would come into force in January 2016 and become compulsory in August 2017.
The proposed change would provide universities with a new source of revenue, with the level of public funding for higher education institutions remaining unchanged. The government expects that the introduction of tuition fees will create a pressure on the quality of education and increase competition in the sector.  In 2014 international students in Finland accounted for 6.7% of degree students in Finland, with 77% of those coming from outside the EU or EEA.  Ministry of Education and Culture (Press release)