Tuition fees for foreign students to be introduced on trial basis in 2010
Educational institutions to charge fees for students outside EU and EEA area
A five-year experimental programme in which foreign students from outside the European Union and the European Economic Area will be charged tuition fees to attend Finnish universities is set to begin in 2010.
Proposed changes to university legislation are to include provisions that would allow individual educational programmes to levy fees on students from outside the EU and EEA.
A draft for a new university law has been drawn up by the Ministry of Education, and will be sent to institutions and interested parties for comment. If passed, the law would take effect in the autumn of 2009, replacing the present one, which was passed in 1997.
The main impact of the law will be that of a change in the legal status of universities in Finland, giving them more administrative and economic independence.
The aim of the experiment on tuition fees is to promote international contacts. A new law came into effect already at the beginning of the year making it possible to charge fees for teaching in groups for commissioned programmes aimed at an academic degree.
The tuition fees would be applicable only to special masters’ programmes. The experiment could include programmes taught in foreign languages, and those with an international orientation, which would bring in students from outside the EU and EEA countries.
The universities would be allowed to decide on how high the fees should be. A few years ago, a working group proposed a range of between EUR 3,500 and EUR 12,000.
The aim of giving the universities wide discretion is to allow them to react quickly to changes on the education market.
The money from the fees could be used by the university itself, and would not reduce basic state funding.
Universities would also be expected to develop student grant systems for their fee-based programmes, to support the studies of gifted foreign students in Finland.
The grants could cover tuition fees partially or completely, and could also cover some of the costs of living in Finland.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Call for annual tuition fees of up to EUR 12,000 for foreign students from outside EU and EEA (24.8.2005)
Parties sharply divided on tuition fees for foreign university students (26.2.2007)