Finland May Stop Offering Free Education to International Students Soon

The National Coalition Party (NCP), the party of Finland Prime Minister (PM), Petteri Orpo, has proposed that international students from outside the European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) should pay the full cost of their education.

The plan is to save government money that could be used to educate Finnish students. This decision was made after reports showed that about half of international students do not plan to stay in Finland after graduation. They often leave due to a lack of jobs, limited career opportunities, and difficulties adjusting to Finnish life.

Finland remains a magnet for immigrants. The Finnish Immigration Service recorded a sharp rise in residence applications related to work, family, and education.

In 2023, there was a notable jump in applications for work residence permits. One main reason was the introduction of new laws that granted students a residence permit for their entire degree duration and allowed them to work.

A glimpse at the stats reveals that most applicants in the first half of this year (H1), approximately 90%, sought to pursue a degree in Finland. These students were primarily from China, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.

Compared to 2022, when there were over 5,000 study residence permit applications, there was a 48% increase in 2023.

However, getting approval is not guaranteed. While 95% of foreign student applications get approved, the ones that don’t usually lack substantial financial proof.

The Immigration Service stresses that students must have enough funds to live in Finland and cover potential medical expenses.

Another point is that non-EU students do not qualify for student financial help and generally face higher tuition fees. On the other hand, their residence permit can last for the duration of their studies in Finland.

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