Free university tuition may sound like a worthy model but the question of whether or not it’s the best way to attract and keep foreign talent is never too far from public debate. As Finland’s plans to introduce fees take hold this year, Beckie Smith looks at current and former fee-free countries to see what the future may hold for this ideal.
Universities in Finland will begin charging tuition fees to students from outside the EU and EEA from September 2017, it has been announced. International students must pay a minimum of €1,500 per year to study on any undergraduate or master’s course taught in a language other than Finnish or Swedish.
The newly appointed Finnish Minister of Education and Science, Krista Kiuru, is in Asia this week to promote education as an export for the first time. The government is making bold moves to explore ways to turn the country's top-notch education model into a profitable business. A working group reports back in October.
Finland could become the latest European country to introduce tuition fees for non-EU/EEA students, after a majority in its parliament backed the idea before Christmas. Advocates say it would help the international education sector become more business like and expand. But student groups say that like Sweden and Denmark before it, Finland will see an exodus of interest.