Education is a public good which should be free and accessible for all students. The European Students’ Union considers it very unfortunate that Finland introduced tuition fees for students outside of the EU and EEA countries in 2017. Tuition fees create a major obstacle for international students – particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds – to study in Finland.
Many paying international students have shared negative experiences with regards to tuition fees. The financial burden is a big gamble for many families, who might even have to sell their house in order to finance their child’s studies. International students also report massive pressure to complete their studies on time, which might come at the cost of physical, mental and social well-being. In the fast-paced studies there is no room for delays or failing in exams. This also means that large amounts of international students – many of whom would like to stay in Finland after graduating – do not have the time to learn the local culture and language or create networks in the labour market, which severely reduce their employment opportunities in Finland.
The student movement in Finland strongly opposes tuition fees and therefore organises a day for free education every year. This year it is today on the Friday 30th of November. On this day, students and student unions share their experiences and spread the importance of free education. ESU joins the Finnish student movement in demanding the abolishment of tuition fees and the restoration of free education for all students in Finland.