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Tuition fee trial period in higher education

Higher education institutions can pilot tuition fees from 2010 to 2014. The purpose is to enhance the internationalisation of the institutions and create new opportunities for international action. During the trial there will be a review to find out the effects of the transition to fee-charging study programmes on the internationalisation of higher education institutions, on the attractiveness of Finnish higher education, on student mobility and on the quality of foreign language higher education.

During the trial period, higher education institutions can charge fees to students from outside the EU or the European Economic Area who are admitted to a university or polytechnic Master's degree programme given in a foreign language. Higher education institutions can independently determine amount of the fee they charge.

The fee cannot be charged to a citizen of a Member State of the European Economic Area or to a person who is entitled to the same treatment as EU citizens under a treaty signed by the European Union and its Member States with a third party or to a family member of the above-mentioned individuals. Nor can it be charged to a person with an EU Blue Card, a continuous or permanent residence permit or a long-term resident’s EC residence permit issued to third-country nationals referred to in the Aliens Act, or to a family member of the above-mentioned individuals. The definition of persons regarded as family members is based on the Aliens Act.

Participating programmes

The Ministry of Education and Culture has confirmed the participating programmes proposed by the higher education institutions. Currently nine universities and ten polytechnics participate in the trial.

In 2011, the fees were charged in 24 degree programmes. In total, the fees were charged to 110 students in these programmes. More than 80 per cent of the students paying tuition fees are studying at Aalto University or at the Lappeenranta University of Technology.

The tuition fees charged by higher education institutions range between EUR 3,500 to EUR 11,750 per academic year. The most commonly charged tuition fee is EUR 8,000 per year.

Of the students charged tuition fees, almost all receive grants of different sizes from higher education institutions or the Erasmus Mundus programme. The grant covers the tuition fee either in full or partially. Some grants also include a portion to cover some of the cost of living. Higher education institutions award grants primarily based on academic achievement. Students paying tuition fees most commonly come from China, Pakistan, Russia and Iran.

Monitoring of the trial

The Ministry of Education and Culture assigned a committee to monitor and evaluate the trial, with the purpose of highlighting its effects on the internationalisation and attractiveness of higher education and on the quality of foreign language higher education. The committee will gather information about the progress of the trial and submit annual reports. The committee has submitted two interim reports to the Ministry of Education and Culture on the progress of the trial. It will also organise discussions and workshops for the higher education institutions that participate in the tuition fee trial period.

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