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Norway’s bumpy road towards tuition fees for international students

Following the Norwegian government’s budgetary proposal to introduce tuition fees for degree students from countries outside the EU/EEA and Switzerland starting from autumn 2023, approved in the Parliament last December, the higher education sector is widely debating its implementation.

As the latter requires a change in university legislation, the Ministry of Education proposed a set of related amendments to the 2005 Universities and Colleges Act and organised a public hearing (in Norwegian) process to collect the sector’s feedback. The call for comments produced an overwhelming number of inputs that were critical of the proposal, as University World News reports.

Major issues highlighted by the key stakeholders and higher education institutions include possible decline in applications due to the rising costs of study, lack of diversity in the Norwegian higher education landscape and limited possibilities for the country to recruit global talent, to name a few.

Technically, the Norwegian higher education institutions need to put in place the necessary administrative systems to be able to handle tuition fees and come up with potential grant schemes to remain attractive to a broader pool of international students. The political decision however came after the 2023 application deadlines and might therefore largely affect applicants’ take up of the study proposals this year.

The four large Norwegian universities – Oslo, Bergen, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU-Trondheim) and Tromsø – reportedly have set up a committee that will work out how to calculate the tuition fees. Their report is expected at the beginning of February.