TYY Expresses Concerns Over Government's Proposed Changes to Tuition Fees Legislation: Implications for Internationalization and Educational Equality

In recent legislative developments, the Finnish government has put forth a proposal to amend regulations regarding tuition fees for students hailing from outside the EU and EEA regions. This proposal, encompassing alterations in tuition fees, applicant fees, and residence permits, has prompted a thorough examination by the Student Union of the University of Turku (TYY). This blog post aims to delve into the essential aspects of the proposed changes, articulating our reservations regarding their potential impact on the internationalization of universities and the principles of educational equality.

The government's intention to substantially increase tuition fees raises concerns about the heightened financial burden on international students. TYY firmly opposes such an increase, asserting that the longstanding practice of providing free or affordable education has been pivotal in attracting a diverse array of global talents. The surge in tuition fees not only poses a threat to Finland's competitiveness but also jeopardizes the overarching goals of fostering diversity and international talent.

The reinstatement of applicant fees and the proposed increase in tuition fees contribute to concerns about educational inequality. Applicant fees, set at 100 euros, may potentially dissuade suitable applicants from applying. TYY urges a reconsideration of this amount. Furthermore, a potential increase in tuition fees, moving towards full coverage, may hinder accessibility and compromise the principles of educational equality that TYY staunchly upholds.

Changes to residence permits, aimed at preventing evasion of tuition fees, raise concerns about inadvertently discouraging international students from seeking employment during their studies. TYY asserts that these changes should focus on increasing incentives for work rather than diminishing them. Penalizing students for pursuing employment during their studies contradicts our objective of retaining international talent in Finland.

In summary, the government's proposed changes, while featuring some positive aspects such as the removal of tuition fees for those receiving temporary protection, fall short of aligning with broader objectives related to internationalization and educational equality. TYY underscores that the proposed changes may deter prospective students and undermine the position of current international students. We unequivocally oppose the proposed increase in tuition fees, the reinstatement of applicant fees, and changes to residence permits that may compromise the attractiveness of the University of Turku and Finland as a study destination. It is imperative to prioritize affordable education, equality, and incentives for international students, fostering a more inclusive and competitive education system. TYY remains steadfast in advocating for these principles and against the detrimental changes proposed by the government.

Written by Shashika Harshani
TYY board member
International affairs & worklife