The National Coalition Party (NCP), which is the party of the Finnish Prime Minister, Petteri Orpo, wants foreign students to cover the full cost of their education, as the local Finnish media reports.
According to the same source, the Ministry of Education and Culture has arranged a working group that is preparing to establish the project for students from non-EU and non-EEA countries, to start paying the full cost of tuition fees for this category of students, as the government programme differs.
The working group is also considering reinstating charging fees to university applicants, especially those who have completed their education outside the EU or EEA countries.
According to a ministry memorandum to government negotiators, the goal is to stop allocating public funding to international students who complete their degrees in Finland. The move intends to free up resources for the education of other students.
The decision follows reports that nearly half of foreign students do not intend to stay in Finland after graduating, citing reasons like lack of employment, poor career prospects and difficulties in integrating into Finnish society as main reasons for leaving this European country.
On the other hand, the Finnish Immigration Service has revealed that the number of immigration applications for work, family reunification and education purposes has increased significantly, making this country one of the most sought-after in Europe.
A press release by the same, reveals that residence applications for work purposes have soared in 2023, with the changes made to legislation on student residence permits being a major push factor, in addition to granting a residence permit for the entire duration of the degree programme and allowing students to work.
According to data, 90 per cent of applicants that were recorded in the first half of the year were aiming for a degree, with the majority of them coming from countries like China, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Compared to 2022 levels, when over 5,000 applications for study purposes residence permits were filed, those applications rose by 48 per cent in the following year, meaning that more students chose Finland as their study destination.
However, 95 per cent of applications submitted by foreign students were approved, but those that were denied were mainly rejected due to lack of sufficient proof of financial means
“The residence permit for studies requires that the student has sufficient financial resources to live in Finland and insurance to cover the costs of possible medical treatment in Finland,” the Immigration Service stressed.
The Immigration services also pointed out that non-EU students are not eligible for student financial assistance, thus, they have to pay more tuition fees than others. However, the validity period of the residence permit issued for this category of students is longer – as it can be valid for all of the study period in the country.