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MPs call for fees for non-EU students

The majority of Finnish MPs are in favour of fees for students at higher education institutions from outside the EU or the European Economic Area. Some 119 MPs from seven parliamentary groups signed an initiative calling for such fees.

Helsinki University students in December 2012.
Helsinki University students in December 2012. Image: Yle

Under the proposal, students could later deduct the fees from their taxes if they stay in Finland to work. Increasing Finnish education export and boosting teachers’ employment are cited as aims behind the initiative.

“We should capitalise on Finland’s high reputation in the field of education, and use this for the benefit of the national economy,” note MPs Arto Satonen from the National Coalition, Jukka Kärnä from SDP, Ari Torniainen from the Centre Party, and Reijo Tossavainen of the Finns Party.

According to the MPs who drafted the initiative, the majority of foreign students who complete English- language degrees in Finland go on to work outside the country.

“Finnish tax-payers should not subsidise education that brings benefit to other places,” the MPs say in their press release.

Present legislation allows for fees for some Master’s degrees and higher vocational diplomas on a trial basis.

The parliamentarians maintain that the level of fees should be set in such way that the number of foreign students in Finland grows, rather than falls.

The initiative also proposes that Finland’s developmental aid be used to pay for fees of students from developing countries, and that a grant system be set up for talented but poor students.

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