Saturday, 19 January, 2019

Varsities recover from impact of tuition fees

12 Feb 2018, 00:49 ( 11 Months ago)

DF-Xinhua Report
DF File Photo.

Finnish universities have recovered quickly from the impact of the introduction of tuition fees for students from outside the European Union (EU) or the European Economic Area.

The applications for enrollment in the English language Bachelor and Master studies declined in nearly all universities in the 2017-2018 academic year, news service Uutissuomalainen reported on Sunday.

In the first enrollment period after the introduction of tuition fees, universities offered lucrative scholarship opportunities, but they appeared not to be very attractive. The increase now has been attained with marketing, the news agency found out.

Universities said Finland is an increasingly popular choice in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria and India when students plan studies abroad.

The return to "pre-fees" level has been fast. For example, in the Svenska Handelshogskolan in Helsinki, non-EU/ETA applications for the autumn 2018 have doubled from the previous year and the total number of applications increased by 70 percent. Minna Martikainen, Dean of tuition there said a lot more effort was put into marketing.

Eija Zitting, the head of tuition service at Aalto University in Helsinki, told Uutissuomalainen that the focus on marketing and the development of student enrollment are essential in reaching good recruitment results.

The same views were echoed by Kalervo Vaananen, the rector of Turku University. The share of non-EU/ETA applications in Turku grew 12 percent and in Aalto some 5 percent.

Janne Hokkanen, director of tution affairs at the Lappeenranta Technical University said that in Finland the impact of the introduction of fees will remain "historically short" in comparison with other countries that introduced fees, such as Sweden and Denmark, where the restoration took years.

The tuition fees are collected in the programs where the language of teaching is English or another foreign language, and are only collected from students who are not citizens or residents of the EU and ETA.

This means that if a non-EU/ETA student gets an actual residence permit before the start of the semester, fees will not be collected. Also if the student is able to attend courses in Finnish or Swedish, there is no fee.

The minimum tuition fee per academic year mandated by the Finnish government is 1,500 euros, but universities are allowed to decide on their own. In the University of Helsinki, the annual tuition fees range from 10,000 to 25,000 euros.

While tuition fees have been an international norm even for domestic students in many countries, in Finland there were no tuition fees for any student, Finnish or foreign, until two years ago when the parliament made the decision after a long debate.