Study in Finland
Finland is renowned for being one of the best countries when it comes to education. It has a diverse and interesting culture, which prioritises high quality education. Finland has the highest rate of students choosing to go into higher education in the world, and its unusual education system has been used as a model around the world.
Why Study In Finland?
All teachers in Finland are required to have a Master’s degree, and teachers are selected from the top 10% of graduates. This illustrates how seriously the Finnish take education. Seven of the country’s universities are listed within the top 500 of the 2018 QS World University Rankings.
The Finnish higher education system is one of the most successful in the world. It welcomes more than 23,000 international students choosing Finland in 2017. With strong connections to the rest of Europe, Finland is the perfect destinations for international students. This gives you a chance to explore new countries and cultures whilst studying.
Located in Northern Europe and bordering with Norway, Sweden and Russia, Finland is home to more than 5.5 million people. The majority of the population live in the southern region of the country, due to the harsh weather experienced in the north. This makes it the most sparsely populated country in the EU.
After the 1917 Russian Revolution, Finland declared itself independent and became a Republic in 1918. During World War II, the occupation of Finland was attempted several times, but never successful. After the country joined the United Nations in 1955, they established an official policy of neutrality.
Finland is known for its climate, characterised by short warm summers and long freezing winters. The climate varies a little between the north and the south of the country. Finnish winters normally last around 100 days, and constant snow cover is common inland. Whilst Finland experiences cold temperatures in the winter, the beautiful scenery is made even more fantastic when covered in snow, so embrace the weather!StudyLink recommends
Cost of Studying and Living in Finland
If you wish to study in Finland, there is a chance that you may be able to do so for free. Students from an EU/EEA country or Switzerland, you do not have to pay tuition fees. This also applies to students who have permanent residence within the EU/EEA, as well as exchange students and PhD students. You may still need to pay a small fee to join the university student union, but this normally costs around €40.
If you are from a country outside of the EU/EEA and want to study a bachelors or masters degree, you will have to pay tuition fees. The cost of studying will vary between different institutions, but the prices tend to range from €6,000 to €18,000. To get specific information regarding your course fees, contact your chosen institution. Your fees should be paid prior to the beginning of your studies, and once you have paid you will be able to start your residence permit application. If you do have to pay tuition fees, you may be eligible for a scholarship, contact your chosen institution for information about this.
Accommodation in Finland can either be arranged through your university or student housing foundation, or you can opt for private renting. Student housing of some sort will be the cheaper choice. Contact the international office at your chosen university for more information about accommodation and the related costs. If you choose to study in a bigger city, your living costs will be higher than in a smaller city or town.
For your living costs, it is recommended that you budget for between €700 and €900 per month. This is including accommodation, transport, food and course materials. On top of this, you need to make sure you have valid health insurance, and it is always useful to have a little money kept aside in case of an emergency!
As a student from an EU/EEA country or Switzerland, you are permitted to get a part-time job during your studies, with no time limitations. You need to make sure that your studies are your priority however, and it is not recommended that you rely on a part-time wage to finance your studies. As an international student you are also permitted to work, but only up to 25 hours per week during term time. There are no limits on working hours outside of term time. However, it is still not recommended that you rely on a wage to finance your studies. It would be helpful to have some Finnish language skills to help secure employment.
Another cost to consider is health insurance. If you hold an EHIC card, you will not need to purchase health insurance, and will be able to access the same healthcare as other Finnish citizens. If you do not hold an EHIC card, you are required to purchase a health insurance policy to study in Finland. There are several requirements that your insurance must meet. For example, your insurance deductible must not be more than €300, if your studies will take less than 2 years your insurance must cover medical bills up to €100,000 and if your studies will take more than 2 years your insurance must cover medical bills up to €30,000. You are permitted to purchase your health insurance in your home country, or from an international insurance company. The Finnish embassy or consulate will be able to provide more information about this if required. More information can be found on the Finnish Immigration Service website.
Visas and Student Residence Permits
Depending on your nationality, you may need to apply for a student residence permit to live and study in Finland.
If you are an EU/EEA student, you will not need a visa or residence permit for your studies. However, if you will be studying for longer than 90 days, you need to register your residence with Migri. If your studies will be longer than a year, you will also need to register in the Finnish population system. This will give you a Finnish Personal Identity Code, something that may be requested by local authorities, banks and employers. You can register in the population system after your arrival in the country. The same applies to students who are Nordic citizens, however you must register your residence at the local registry office if your stay in Finland exceeds 6 months.
If you are a non-EU/EEA citizen, you are required to obtain a renewable student residence permit in order to study in Finland. To apply for this permit, you will need several documents. These include a formal letter of university acceptance, health insurance and evidence that you can financially support yourself. You can start this application either at the Finnish consulate or embassy in your home country, or via Enter Finland.
More information regarding the student residence permit applications and costs, visit the Finnish Immigration Service website.
Finland has two official languages, Finnish and Swedish. It is quite common however, for locals to be able to communicate in English. You should make the most of being in a new country though, and make an effort to pick up some Finnish when talking to locals. This is a skill that will look fantastic on your CV!
It is very likely that your course will be offered in English. If this is the case then you will have to provide evidence of your English language skills, but this mainly applies only to students who are not native English speakers. To find out the language requirements for your specific course, contact your chosen institution, or check their website.
If you wish to study in Finnish, you will need to provide evidence of your Finnish language skills. You should be relatively fluent in the language, and be considered between intermediate and advanced on accepted language proficiency tests.
Helsinki is the capital of Finland, and is home to more than 640,000 people. This makes it the most populous city in the country. It is considered the centre of education, politics, finance and culture, and has been regularly ranked as an one of the world’s most liveable cities.
There are 10 universities in Finland, as well as 5 other higher education institutions. With around 36,500 students, the University of Helsinki is the largest and oldest university in the country. Located in the city is also the Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, and HELBUS Helsinki School of Business.
Tampere is located between two lakes, and has therefore been an important power source for the country, most recently for generating electricity. The city has a long and industrial past, and has a nickname of ‘Manse’.
There are four higher education institutions in Tampere, two universities and two polytechnic institutions. Close to the city centre is the University of Tampere, with more than 16,000 students. Tampere University of Technology has more than 12,000 students and is located just outside of the city. Tampere University of Applied Sciences has around 10,000 students and is a non-university higher education institution.
Tuition fees in Finland: Everything you need to know
Can you study in Finland for free? How high are the tuition fees? Are there scholarships for international students? Find out:
1. Can you study in Finland for free?
Yes, you can!
If you are a citizen of a country in the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) countries, or Switzerland, you can study in Finland for free – you do not have to pay any tuition fees.
If you are not from the EU, EEA, or Switzerland, you count as an international student. Most international students have to pay fees, but there are some exceptions – more on that below.
2. Who has to pay tuition fees to study in Finland?
Tuition fees at universities in Finland only apply to international students, i.e. students that come from a country outside the EU, EEA, or Switzerland. The tuition fees apply to full-time students in Bachelor or Master programmes; but Doctorate programmes (PhDs) are usually tuition-free.
However, not all international students actually have to pay tuition charges. Exchange students from other countries do not pay tuition in Finland (although they might still have to pay in their country of origin).
There are also some exceptions for those that are already in Finland under certain conditions; if you already have a permanent or a fixed-term residence permit, or an EU Blue Card, you are likely exempt from fees. Also, anyone choosing to study in Finnish or Swedish, as opposed to a degree taught in English, is exempt from tuition charges.
The official Finnish government website has more detailed information on what applies to your situation at Studyinfo.fi.
If you do have to pay for the tuition, you might still be eligible for a scholarship. More details follow below.
3. How much does it cost to study in Finland?
So how expensive is it to study in Finland, if you have to pay? That depends on the institution: Each university sets their own fees, and they also differ from programme to programme. In the table below, we have compiled the ranges of what some of the largest Finnish universities charge their international students. Expect to pay 6,000 euros per year at the very least, and up to 18,000 at the prestigious University of Helsinki:
|Aalto University||12,000 to 15,000 EUR per year|
|Åbo Akademi University||8,000 to 12,000 EUR per year|
|Arcada University of Applied Sciences||6,000 to 9,000 EUR per year|
|Haaga-Helia UAS||8,500 to 9,500 EUR per year|
|Hanken School of Economics||12,500 EUR per year|
|Helsinki Metropolia UAS||10,000 to 12,000 EUR per year|
|University of Eastern Finland||8,000 to 15,000 EUR per year|
|University of Helsinki||13,000 to 18,000 EUR per year|
|University of Oulu||10,000 to 13,000 EUR per year|
|University of Tampere||8,000 to 12,000 EUR per year|
|University of Turku||8,000 to 16,000 EUR per year|
When you budget your costs for your stay abroad, keep in mind that those amounts cover the tuition only – they do not yet include a room or anything beyond on-campus services.
4. Are there scholarships for international students?
Yes, there are a range of funding opportunities for students that want to study abroad in Finland.
The most direct ways are university scholarships. Each university in Finland offers a range of scholarships for international students. These are largely based on academic merits, and there is often a certain quota for each degree programme. Some scholarships grant a complete fee waiver, others may reward you with a percentage deduction on the tuition charges, e.g. 50%.
When you begin your application to universities in Finland, make sure to read about each school’s scholarship options, and make sure you apply for that in time, as well.
5. When do you have to pay the tuition fee as a student in Finland?
When you get your acceptance letter for your study programme, you usually also get the invoice for the first year’s tuition fee enclosed with it. If you also got accepted for a scholarship by the university, the amount that the scholarship covers will be deducted automatically. Depending on the scholarship, it might be the whole amount, or the fee waiver might be a fraction like 50%.
The payment terms are slightly different for each university. In most cases, you are expected to pay the full annual tuition fee within two weeks or a month; and until you have paid, your admission will be conditional. Some universities also offer to split the tuition fee into instalments so that you won’t have to pay such a high amount at once.
It is really important that you pay your tuition fees in time. You cannot apply for a residence permit with a conditional admission, so you will need to pay before you can apply for the residence permit to obtain your student visa.
6. What are the monthly cost of living in Finland?
Finland is not a cheap country, but you can get by even on a limited student budget. How much money you spend per month depends on your lifestyle and spending habits (of course) and also on the place where you study. Helsinki, the capital city, will be a bit more expensive than smaller towns like Oulu.
The University of Helsinki suggests to budget for 700 to 1,000 euros per month, including rent. Getting a place in a dormitory or student residence hall is the real money-saver; renting a room privately, or a whole flat, can become really expensive, especially in Helsinki.
7. What are the best universities in Finland?
Finnish universities have a great reputation abroad, and they usually do very well in international university rankings. The best-ranked Finnish institution is the University of Helsinki, one of the top 20 universities in Europe. Other good research-driven universities, and also within the top 300 worldwide, are Aalto University (in Helsinki) and the University of Turku. There are also many good universities of applied sciences (a.k.a. polytechnics) that are often overlooked in rankings because of their less research- and more practice-oriented approach.
8. What are the application deadlines?
If you want to start studying at a Finnish university in autumn, i.e. September, you must apply via the official portal in January the same year. The exact date varies slightly from year to year. Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences often also accept later applications, sometimes until March/April to begin in the autumn of the same year.
If you want to start a degree in January, the application period is in September the year before your start.
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