A majority of Finnish parliamentarians signed an initiative over the Christmas holidays calling for the introduction of tuition fees for non-EU/EEA students.
“It is not only unfair to discriminate students based on nationality but also harmful to Finland’s own interests as it would diminish its diverse student population,” said Karina Ufert, chairperson of the European Students’ Union (ESU). ” Tuition fees would send international students the message that they should not go to Finland to study instead of encouraging them to stay,”
Similar attempts in Sweden and Denmark have led to a drop up to 80% in the number of non-EU/EEA students seeking education in these countries.
The Finnish student unions SYL and SAMOK criticised the proposal in joint statements on 7 January, 2013. They suggested that parliament should consider investing in more opportunities for international students so they can make the country their home.
According to calculations done by the unions if 25% of international student stay on in Finland the costs of tuition would be covered for the entire international student population. Currently around 70% of students stay in Finland after their studies and 70% of those are employed.