The Student Union of the University of Turku (TYY) requires that the University of Turku re-considers if lower tuition fees would lure more students from outside EU and EEA and the university would maintain its level of internationalisation in the future as well.
University of Turku is among the last universities in Finland deciding on tuition fees for students coming from outside EU and EEA. Until now the amounts decided in Finnish universities have been varying between € 8,000 -20,000. An exception is Taideyliopisto (University of Arts) where the fee of one academic year has been set to € 5000. After Lappeenranta University of Technology’s decision, most of the universities has set the fee in around € 10,000, mostly above. In any case, the tuition fees in all the universities exceed dramatically the minimum requirement of € 1,500 set by the University Act.
TYY supports free education for all, regardless of the student's country of origin. In the new strategy of The University of Turku the internationalisation of education can be seen in attractive Master’s Degree Programmes taught in English and according to the Times Higher Education rankings, the University of Turku is currently among the 200 most international universities in the world.
After tuition fees the University of Turku can no longer compete with attractiveness among the other Nordic universities. In the future the students from outside EU and EEA countries must be offered competitive scholarships, high-quality programmes and effective employment markets. Based on the last Faktaa Express publication, international students do not come to Finland solely because of free education but they also want to find employment after their studies in Finland. International students benefit not only the university but also society, even if high tuition fees will not be charged.
TYY is particularly concerned about the low level of available scholarships since many universities that have tuition fees have also much more competitive scholarship systems. The University of Turku will find itself in challenging position in Finland and globally as well if the tuition fees are set between planned € 10,000-16,000 and the number of scholarships is not adequate.
Even today students from outside EU and EEA are required to have € 6720 per year before their residence permit can be issued so the scholarship should be primarily allocated to cover the tuition fee, not the living costs. The attractiveness of the University of Turku will increase if it can offer scholarships from the beginning or the latest from the second year of the studies.
Rector Kalervo Väänänen has done right by postponing the decision of the tuition fees until the board meeting in August 26th. The University of Turku has had the opportunity to consider the amounts, having other universities’ decisions in mind. The lower tuition fees would attract more students from outside the EU and EEA countries which would also bring the university higher income in return.
Tuomas Dahlström, Member of the Executive Board, International Affairs, firstname.lastname@example.org, +358 44 796 1059
Satu Nurmi, Specialist, International Affairs, email@example.com, +358 44 796 1063