How to Study on Low Tuition in Finland for International Students: Application Process and Tuition

Amazing natural beauty and futuristic cities, prime focus on research and innovative thinking, a fantastic selection of world-class institutions and a strong commitment to offering world class education free of charge for EU students…It explains why thousands of international students decide to study on low tuition in Finland.

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If you’re interested please go on to read more about universities in Finland, popular student cities, applications, visas, costs and lots more.

Applying to Study in Finland

Please note that applications are usually online,made directly to the university, or via the centralized admissions service University Admissions Finland (UAF). Deadlines typically vary, but the usual application period is November-January, for courses beginning the following fall. At a few polytechnics you are able to apply sometime in August-September for courses starting the following spring, but only for a few programs.

As well as submitting your academic credentials, you may also need to pass an entrance examination.

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Languages in Finland

The two major languages in Finland are Finnish and Swedish, and these two are used to determine university tuition. It is possible to take up programs taught in English, though this is much more common at graduate level than at bachelor’s degrees. If you are interested in studying in English, you are recommended to understand at least basic Finnish to assist with daily life during your time in the republic.

Majority of the undergraduate programs that are taught in English are available at polytechnics, rather than traditional universities. Also known as ‘universities of applied sciences’, these are institutions offering full degrees, but with a more vocational focus.

For example, Lahti University of Applied Sciences offers an English-taught degree in nursing; Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences has English-taught courses in information technology and media engineering; and HAMK University of Applied Sciences has an English-taught bachelor’s in construction engineering.

For the most of the courses, however, it is important to be able to study in either Finnish or Swedish if you would like to complete a full undergraduate program in Finland. Otherwise, if you study in Finland for a much shorter period of time,say  for a summer school or as part of an exchange program; in these cases you will find more English-led courses.

Student visas for Finland

Visa requirements vary and depend largely on your country of origin.

Applicants from the EU/Nordic countries/Switzerland/Liechtenstein:

  • Do not need visas or residence permits to study.
  • Expected to obtain a certificate of registration from the police within three months of arriving (six for Nordic citizens)
  • Show sufficient proof that you have adequate funds to cover your stay in the republic
  • Health insurance is not mandatory, but is super important
  • Note that there are no restrictions on how many hours you can work if you hail from any of these places.

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Applicants who hail from outside the EU/Nordic countries/Switzerland/Liechtenstein:

  • Applicants from this region are expected to obtain a residence permit from the Finnish embassy in their country of residence or online before been allowed entry into Finland, for which they will require a letter of acceptance from an established university therein. This has to be renewed annually.
  • You should have roughly €6,720 per year (approximately US$8,100) to take care of living expenses for the year. A bank statement, a certificate showing you have a grant, or a guarantee of sponsorship must be shown as proof.
  • Must have health insurance
  • You will be permitted to work for a maximum of 25 hours a week during term-time, and there are no limits on the hours you can work in the Summer/Christmas holidays
  • It usually takes around a month to process applications. You are advised to apply as soon as you receive your letter of acceptance.                                                                                        Fees and funding

Please note that tuition was previously free for all students regardless of nationality. However, the Finnish government recently introduced tuition fees for those who are non-EU/EEA/Swiss students doing bachelor’s and master’s degrees. These students are expected to pay a minimum fee of €1,500 per year (~US$1,800). However, it is possible you could  pay between €4,000 and €20,000 (~US$4,800 – 24,500), depending on your program.

One good thing is that Non-EU students do not need to pay tuition fees if they’re studying a PhD or any program delivered in Finnish or Swedish. If you’re from the EU, EEA or Switzerland you are able to study on free tuition.

To find the links to the exact non-EU tuition fees for your chosen university and read about the scholarships they have available, check this page on the official Study in Finland website.

You should also search for scholarships to study abroad offered by the government or another organization in your home country, or do well to apply for funding via the EU’s Erasmus+ scheme. US students are able to apply for Fulbright Grants to study in Finland.Do your best to study on free tuition in this country.

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