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Finland: Tuition fees for foreign students postponed

The November 2005 issue of the ACA Newsletter Education Europe reported on the possibility that Finland may charge tuition fees to non EU/EEA students by 2007. The introduction of tuition fees, which was put forward in a proposal by the Finnish Ministry of Education and produced by an authoritative working group, suggested that the fee amount should range between 3 500 and 12 000 Euro, the exact amount being set by the individual higher education institutions.

Next to the introduction of tuition fees, the working group proposed the creation of a scholarship programme for talented international students needing financial support. These two actions would, according to the working group, strengthen the competitiveness of Finnish higher education and their role in the global market as well as enhance their attractiveness internationally.

Finland’s minister of education, Mr Antti Kalliomäki, has decided not to introduce the bill to charge tuition fees for students outside the EU/EEA area during the present legislative period. The main reason for this is that the scholarship programme preparation has suffered delays and the proposal will not be presented to the parliament before the scholarship programme is finalised. The introduction of tuition fees is also a very delicate issue in a welfare state that has traditionally regarded education as a public service.