BM 67 – European students applaud the rejection of tuition fees in Finland

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The 67th Board Meeting of the European Students’ Union (ESU) is relieved after having received the good news concerning the rejection of tuition fees for non-EU/EEA students in Finland. ESU considers the decision to be very wise and ESU stresses the need for Finland to remain a free education model both in Europe and globally. ESU, representing over 15 million students from 39 European countries, reminds that tuition fees bear several negative effects on the quality of higher education.

These include grave problems for especially smaller, non-metropolitan higher education institutions in the provision of international environments for their students, resulting in unequal opportunities for internationalisation at home for domestic non-mobile students as well a narrower scope of nationalities being able to enroll; damage to the national economy; and an overall deteriorating effect on the internationalisation of higher education. Internationalisation is one of the key elements of quality higher education. International students are a valuable part of the higher education community as well as the wider society, and they contribute to the future labour market and the economy of all European countries.

The Government proposal to introduce tuition fees, which was circulated for stakeholder comments in November 2014, met fierce criticism from both higher education students and staff, whilst the attitudes of higher education institutions were mixed.

ESU calls for the adherence of the principle of free education by all relevant political parties in the future. Free education is the key component of an equal and accessible higher education system and the principle should be upheld and honoured in the upcoming Government negotiations in April 2015.


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