The Finnish Parliament decided on Tuesday to impose tuition fees for non-European university-level students. The ruling, passed by a vote of 137-46, will affect students from outside the EU or European Economic Area (EEA).
A fee of at least 1500 euros will be charged per school year for those studying towards degrees in languages other than Finnish or Swedish, apparently beginning in August 2017. The fees will not be levied on doctoral students or researchers. Universities will also establish a financial aid system offering scholarships to assist students in paying their fees.
The measure was unanimously backed by the three government parties. Most MPs from the opposition Social Democratic and Christian Democrats parties also voted in favour of it. The Greens, Left Alliance and Swedish People's Party opposed it as MPs rushed through a series of votes before the Christmas recess.
At present Finland does not charge any tuition fees in regular degree programmes for any students, regardless of their nationality. However they are responsible for their own living expenses while studying in the country. According to Eurostat, Finland is the fourth most expensive member state of the EU and EEA.