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Finland to charge tuition fees from students of non-EU, non-EEA countries

Posted on October 27, 2015
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The Finnish government has submitted to parliament a bill to reintroduce tuition fees to be imposed on students from outside the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA), local media has reported.

The proposed payment threshold is 1,500 euro (1665.6 U.S. dollars) per academic year, and will be applied to bachelor’s and master’s degree programs taught in languages other than Finnish and Swedish, the official languages of Finland, the Finnish News Agency STT reported.

The lack of tuition fees has so far been the biggest obstacle to the promotion of education export, Finnish Minister of Education and Culture Sanni Grahn-Laasonen was quoted by the report as saying, adding that the proposed sum of tuition fees is affordable.

The Finnish higher education used to remain free for international students, before it started to collect fees from foreign students outside the EEA for part of the master’s degree programs since 2011, following similar measures by Sweden and Denmark.

Currently, higher education in Finland is still free to almost everyone admitted for undergraduate programs.

The previous government has planned to introduce tuition fees for students coming from outside the EU and EEA, which sparked criticisms from Finnish student groups, unions of teachers and researchers, as well as some opposition parties, which claimed that it threatened education equality and the national economy.

In December last year, the government had to shelve the plan as the cabinet could not reach an agreement on the issue.

According to the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture, nearly 20,000 foreign students studied in Finnish higher education institutions in 2014, with 77 percent of them from non-EU and non-EEA countries.

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