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Legislative reforms to Finland’s higher education policy

Finnish Government advances several higher education reforms as part of the new Government Program 

During the proposal phase preceding the reforms, various stakeholders were invited to share their perspectives. The Finnish National Agency for Education (EDUFI) was also involved as a contributor, sharing its expertise in higher education. 

As part of the reforms, the Finnish Government is making progress towards implementing full costing of tuition fees for non-EU and non-EEA students. The objective is that tuition fees should cover the cost of education and training, driven by the goal of financial sustainability. During the commenting on the proposal, EDUFI expressed concerns about the impact on attracting and retaining international talent, as well as the burden of reporting implementation on HEIs. 

Changes affecting operations at HEIs are also observed in the new funding models for universities and universities of applied sciences, which will be in effect for 2025-2029. The emphasis on performance indicators as a guidance tool is a distinctive feature and a permanent practice of the funding models for Finnish HEIs. 

The new funding models for 2025-2029 grant more financing to HEIs based on their success in attracting external R&D funding and offer a strategic component for HEIs to determine their strategic foci. The models also see a strong focus on first-degree students and improving degree completion rates, while also including incentives to ensure that students' well-being is taken care of. EDUFI reminded in its position that while ensuring the completion of degrees is highly commendable, pursuing this objective should not hinder the possibilities for international student mobility. 

Finally, in a broader effort to enhance research and innovation, Finnish universities will receive additional funding for training 1000 new doctoral graduates. Target sectors include high-impact areas such as cancer medicine, artificial intelligence, and social services. The pilots aim to meet the growing demand for doctoral-level professionals in Finland and reinvent practices, for example by increasing the mobility of doctoral graduates.