Why should I study in Finland?

The land of the thousand lakes...

How to Study in Finland

The population density of Finland is one of the lowest in Europe. Finland is one of the northernmost countries and is also called the country of the thousand lakes. These and many other natural sights make the Finnish countryside a good place for adventurous trips during the time you’re not studying!

The Finnish higher education system 

The Finnish higher education system is separated into two different types of higher education institutions (HEIs): universities and universities of applied sciences. As it is usual in the European Union, the degree-structure is three-cycled: bachelor, master and doctoral degrees.

There are currently 36 Finnish higher education institutions which are spread throughout the whole country. The most northern university is the University of Lapland and the most southern universities are located in and around Helsinki.

Finland’s Higher Education System in International Comparison

Here we highlight the overall performance of Finnish universities on the institutional level per U-Multirank dimension. The table below shows the national breakdown of Finnish universities and how they stand across the spectrum of above average (receiving a score of ‘A’ (very good) or ‘B’ (good)), or below average (receiving a score of ‘D’ (below average) or ‘E’ (weak)). In doing so, U-Multirank offers a clear picture on the country’s strengths and areas for improvement.

It becomes apparent that the vast majority of Finland’s higher education institutions performs well in view of international orientation as well as regional engagement.

National performance: Finland

Percent of all Universities 100% 80% 60% 40% < below Average above > 40% 60% 80% 100% Teaching & Learning 23% 35% Research 32% 48% Knowledge Transfer 66% 27% International Orientation 30% 60% Regional Engagement 17% 60%

 

How much does it cost to study in Finland?

Whereas EU, EEA and Swiss citizens, as well as people holding long-term EU residence permits or EU Blue Card, are exempt from tuition fees of programmes/courses not taught in Finnish or Swedish, from 1 August 2017, international students have to pay fees. There is no strict amount international students have to pay, the fees vary per institution, but most of them are at least 1,500 EUR per academic year.  The Average tuition fees for English-taught degrees are  5,000 – 18,000 EUR/year. For further information about tuition fees in Finland, click here. Moreover, no tuition fees are charged for postgraduate research/doctoral studies or any programmes/courses taught in Finnish or Swedish.

You may wish to establish whether you need to have your national university entrance qualification officially recognized before applying to Finnish higher education institutions and being able to take up studies in Finland.

The Finnish higher education system offers the ability to study at a Finnish university and at a Finnish university of applied science. If you are looking for a study programme or exchange at a Finnish university it might be a good idea to contact the higher education institution admissions offices directly.

Addition of information on fees and financial support

Source: Eurydice 
Reference year(s): 2020/2021

Fees

In this section we highlight the fees for studying in [insert country name]. The fees are shown in the national currency and address all fee types: tuition, enrolment (part- or full-time, etc.), certification, or other administrative costs. Students that are exempt from fees are also described, as well as information on international student fees if they differ.

  • First- and second-cycle students do not pay student fees.
  • There are no short-cycle higher education programmes.
  • International students, i.e. citizens of non-EU/EEA countries who do not have a permanent residence status in the EU/EEA area, are liable to annual fees of at least EUR 1,500 in foreign language first- and second-cycle programmes.

Source: Eurydice - National Student Fees and Support Systems in European Higher Education – 2020/21.

Financial Support

In this section we highlight the financial support system implemented in Finland. The types of support covered in this section include: grants, loans, tax benefits for students' parents (or students themselves) and family allowances.  How these terms are defined, are outlined below:

  • Grants are provided in the national currency and are differentiated between merit-based and need-based (or universal, where applicable). All main public financial support that does not need to be paid back is included, with the exception of grants for study abroad (i.e. mobility grants). Information is also presented on the proportion of students (in the short, first and second cycle) who receive grants.
  • Loans: information focuses on the existence of a student publicly-subsidised loan system and the percentage of students that take out a loan. Information on the interest rate and modalities for the repayment of loans may also be provided.
  • Tax benefit is any tax relief that is granted to parents whose child is a higher education student or to students themselves. The information aims to cover the amount of the tax relief, how it can be claimed and who is eligible to apply.
  • Family allowances for students' parents: this part provides information on their amount and the eligible population.
  • Study grants (SG) are universally available for a maximum of 54 months (in medical school 64 months). They require the completion of 45 credits per typical nine-month study year (at least five credits per study month). Amounts depend on age and marital status of the student, and on whether the student lives with parent(s).
  • For students living in rental accommodation, the monthly aid package consists of a study grant (SG) payment of about EUR 253 (shown on the diagram), a EUR 650 student loan and typical general housing allowance (GHA ()) of EUR 281-416, depending of the municipality in which they live. Students are eligible for SG if their income, which may be earned at any time during the calendar year, is no more than EUR 12 498 per year. The amount of the aid decreases for those students who do not qualify for the general housing allowance (GHA) due to the income of their spouse, partner or other household member. Students typically take out SG nine months per year. 9% of first-cycle and 13.2% of second-cycle degree students received student financial aid (SG) in 2018/19.
  • The amount of the government-guaranteed student loan increased from EUR 400 to 650/month. Students who graduate within the target time may be entitled to tax deduction (30 %, for studies that started prior to 1 August 2014) or compensation (40%, for studies that started on 1 August 2014 or after). Student loan compensation means that the Social Insurance Institution in Finland (Kela) pays back part of the student loan. In 2019, the average amount of study loan compensation was EUR 3,836 per student. Repayment usually starts 1.5-2 years after graduation and has to be completed in a period that is double the usual study time. Interest rates and conditions are agreed with the student and the bank. 49% of first-cycle and 13% of second-cyclestudents received a study loan in 2018/19.
  • The most common total amount of annual aid is around EUR13,000, which includes the most common student grant (SG) amount, the most common general housing allowance (GHA) amount, and the most common student loan amount.
  • No tax benefits for students' parents or family allowances are in place.

What are the entry requirements for Finnish Universities?

In general, one’s national higher education entrance exam certificate is sufficient to take up undergraduate studies both at universities and universities of applied sciences. However, it is advisable to check the respective institutional admissions page first, before you send off your application documents as admission criteria might differ between courses/subjects/programmes. In addition to your higher education entrance exam certificate, Finnish institutions often require students to sit entrance examinations. Further information about the entrance examinations is available here.

In order to apply for a postgraduate degree at a Finnish higher education institution, you must – at a minimum – have successfully completed your undergraduate degree. In case you wish to do a postgraduate degree at a university of applied sciences, you may need to give evidence of having worked for three years. For further information, click here.

How to get a Scholarship in Finland?

No matter the reason, paying high tuition fees can be a source of stress for many. However, there are many options for financing your studies, including the use of scholarships. There are various scholarship opportunities available for international students looking to study in Finland. Depending on your country of origin and the level of studies, there are different options for funding. To explore what scholarship options are available, check this scholarship database.

Do I need a Student Visa for Finland?

EU (except Nordic students), EEA and Swiss citizens do not require a visa in order to study in Finland. Nevertheless, they need to register with the local immigration office (MIGRI) branch if their stay exceeds 90 days as well as the Finnish population register if they stay in the country for longer than 12 months. Nordic students will only need to register if their stay exceeds six months.

For all others, applying for a visa is compulsory. There are short-term visa if you do not intend to stay in the country for longer than 90 days, and a student residence permit if you plan to stay in Finland for longer than 90 days.

 

How do Finnish Universities fare in U-Multirank?

  • U-Multirank 2020 presents data on 37 Finnish higher education institutions, universities as well as universities of applied science. Finnish higher education institutions perform strongest in the Regional Engagement dimension of U-Multirank, while at the same time performing strongly in International Orientation.
  • The Finnish institutions with the highest number of top group positions (‘A’ scores) are Aalto University (15), Hanken School of Economics (10) and Lappeenranta University of Technology (10).
  • Aalto University has 10 out of its 15 top positions in Research (5 ‘A’ scores) and International Orientation (5 ‘A’ scores).
  • With Arcada University of Applied Science, Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences and the University of Tampere, three (3) Finnish institutions are amongst the ‘Top 25 Performers’ in Co-publications with Industrial Partners.

 

Finland's Higher Education Performance in U-Multirank

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