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Norway backs down from introducing tuition fees for third country students

The Norwegian government has backed down from a proposal to introduce tuition fees for students from outside the EU/EEA area. The measure was discussed as part of the negotiations concerning the national budget for 2015, presented earlier in October and including a NOK 80.5 million (EUR 8.86 million cut in funding for higher education institutions. 

In the budget proposal there were a number of contentious issues and negotiations between the parties lasted for three weeks. On the 21st of November, the final budget for 2015 was released showing that the proposed cut in funding for institutions was dropped. A crucial role was played by two small centrist parties, the Christian Democrats (KRF) and the Liberal party (Venstre). In fact, as the current Norwegian government is a minority government, it needed the support of KRF and Venstre in order to get the budget approved. The proposal to introduce tuition fees for third country students did not survive the budget negotiations, as the two supporting parties were strongly opposed to it.

Student unions, which have used a variety of measures – including appearing nude in the press – to combat the proposal, as well as many higher education institutions across the country, welcomed the news.