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Tuition fee keeps foreign student inflow low

Published : 05 Nov 2018, 04:17

Updated : 05 Nov 2018, 10:21

  DF Report

International Students in Rovaniemi. Photo source: International Office of the University of Lapland.

Although the number of foreign students increased this year compared to that in the previous year, the number still remains low than in 2016 when there was no tuition fees in the educational institutions in Finland.

The tuition fees were imposed by the country’s educational institutions for students from outside the European Union (EU) or the European Economic Area from the beginning of 2017.

By the end of September, a total of 5,007 students had applied for a first residence permit, according to Finnish Immigration Service (Migri).

In January-September 2017, a total of 4,353 students applied for a first residence permit.

In 2016, the total number of applicants, however, was 5,660.

The low number of applications in 2017 was presumably influenced by the fact that educational institutions in Finland implemented tuition fees for students from countries outside the EU, said a recent Migri press release.

Students who started their studies in the autumn of 2017 were the first ones affected by the change. Most foreign students study at higher education institutions.

The number of students from China, Russia and Vietnam topped the list of foreign students this year.

The majority of the new students who applied for a first residence permit have already received a decision. About 90 per cent of them were granted a residence permit and were able to begin their studies this autumn.

This year, the Finnish Immigration Service has issued over 4,000 positive decisions and about 370 negative decisions.

By the end of September, 674 applications had come from China, 624 from Russia and 404 from Vietnam. In recent years, the most common countries have remained roughly the same.

There are some countries from where the number of applications from students coming to Finland has decreased in the long term, when the years 2015 and 2016 are taken into account. One of these countries is Vietnam. Despite the downward trend, the number of applications from Vietnam was higher this year than in last year. In addition to tuition fees, changes in the course offering of educational institutions may be another reason behind the decreasing number of applications.