Thursday June 20, 2024

Govt to introduce full tuition, application fees for non-EU, non-EEA students

Published : 16 May 2024, 23:38

Updated : 17 May 2024, 00:08

  DF Report
Foreign Students in Finland. DF File Photo.

The government on Thursday proposed amendments to the Universities Act and the Universities of Applied Sciences Act with the view to introduce full tuition and application fees for non-European Union (EU) and non- European Economic Area (EEA) students, said the Ministry of Education and Culture in a press release.

The proposed acts are scheduled to enter into force on October 1, 2024.

However, the provisions on application fees and commissioned education would enter into force on August 1, 2025 and the provisions on the amount of tuition fees on August 1, 2026.

The amendments would apply to university students coming to Finland from non-EU and non-EEA countries to attend degree programmes where instruction is given in a language other than Finnish or Swedish.

The government proposes that the tuition fees collected from such students should cover the cost of providing the education and training.

The amendments would implement the objective outlined in the Programme of the Kansallinen Kokoomus (National Coalition Party-NCP) led right-wing four-party alliance government.

“Charging fees for tuition at full cost aims to improve the finances of higher education institutions and to encourage foreigners studying in Finland to stay in the country,” said Minister of Science and Culture Sari Multala.

According to the proposal, persons who have entered Finland based on a residence permit for studies would remain liable to pay tuition fees even if they change the basis of their residence permit, for example from studies to work.

The government would add an exception to the Universities Act and the Universities of Applied Sciences Act according to which beneficiaries of temporary protection would not be liable to pay tuition fees.

The government further proposes to introduce an application fee for citizens of non-EU and non-EEA countries aiming to reduce the number of injudicious and low-quality applications, which have caused extra work for higher education institutions.

“These changes will ease the administrative burden of higher education institutions. At the moment, higher education institutions receive a large number of applications from applicants who do have the educational qualifications required in Finland to apply to study in such institutions, for example. Every single application must be processed and this uses up resources in higher education institutions,” Multala said.

The Government also proposes specifications to the provisions on commissioned education. Higher education institutions must make sure that all contracts and agreements on commissioned education specify the rights and obligations of those participating in commissioned education and that those participating in commissioned education are aware of them.

A higher education institution would not be allowed to provide commissioned education if the client intends to run a profit-making business offering students places in degree programmes in Finland.

“Evidence of misuse has been discovered in commissioned education whereby students have ended up having to cover the costs due to negligence on the part of those who have commissioned the education. This has left the students in an inadmissible situation. We will make the legislation more specific so that this type of action is no longer possible,” the Minister added.

Earlier in August 2023, the four-party alliance government has started an initiative to increase the tuition fees for non-European Union and non- European Economic Area (EEA) university students.