Finnish universities started charging tuition fees from students coming from non-EU and non-EEA countries in 2017. Last year only six students paid a tuition fee, and now there is ten of them.
Last year University of Turku (UTU) had 1 114 applicants. 70 per cent were from outside EU and EEA countries and out of them the university accepted 202 students.
Out of those 202 students, 61 got a scholarship from University of Turku. Among these students there are ten people who pay a tuition fee.
According to UTU International Education Specialist Johanna Kärki it’s hard to say which one of the degree programmes is the most popular among students outside of EU and EEA countries because there’s no statistics on that.
“Global Innovation Management (GIM) at Turku School of Economics is one of the most popular international degree programmes and so are the programmes in natural sciences and technology”, Kärki says and continues:
“The number of applicants has increased approximately 20 per cent from last year. Last year we had 1 114 applicants, this year the number is 1 376.”
Why do so few people pay tuition fees to UTU?
“Our international degree programmes also interest Finns and other Europeans. When the non-paying students apply and get accepted in the programs, it lowers the number of the students paying tuition fees.”
Kärki explains that the students coming from non-EU and non-EEA countries need not to think only about the tuition fees but also the overall higher costs of living in Finland.
How good is the tuition fee system then?
“It depends on how the system is measured. We want the good and motivated applicants here. However, the Universities of Applied Sciences have usually slightly more international applicants thanks to their lower tuition fees”, Kärki says.
UTU has plans on developing the international programs in the long run.
“We have not made huge financial investments on marketing. Development of our programmes and international education as a whole is an ongoing process. We want to make sure our programmes are of high quality and attractive to the right applicants”, Kärki says.
According to the Specialist in international affairs of the Student Union of the University of Turku Satu Nurmi, the university has had problems with making the tuition fee based system attractive.
“University of Turku hasn’t had enough budget for marketing to raise the awareness of programmes”, Nurmi states.
Last year every third applicant got a scholarship but the system was deemed problematic. Despite the granted scholarships not every student actually came and started their studies at UTU so some of the scholarships were never used.
“The problematic scholarship system is going to change at some point. The Finnish student movement wants free education for everybody, not just for the students coming from economically privileged backgrounds”, Nurmi says.
Tuition fees do not encourage students from outside of EU and EEA countries to begin their studies at the University of Turku. (2/2018)
Tuition fees are on the increase and universities are busy branding themselves. Are degrees being sold as commodities? (7/2014)