Change in Financial Conditions Causes Finland Education Opportunities to Shrink
Change in Financial Conditions Causes Finland Education Opportunities to Shrink
  • 김선화 기자
  • 승인 2016.12.09 09:00
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The public education in Finland which was free from elementary school to university turned its back on foreign students. Foreign students who come to Finland to study will have to pay school expenses starting next August. For this reason, studying in Finland might lose its popularity. Of course, it depends on the school tuition which will be set later. If the school tuition becomes more expensive or similar to other near countries there will be no incentive to go Finland to study. Also, foreign students who plan to take English courses in Finland will be decreased because in Finland Finnish and Swedish are used as official languages which make it difficult to get a local job that requires the use of only English.

The reason why Finland is suddenly requiring tuition is because of the deterioration of economics and finance. The Finnish economy has recorded a minus tendency since 2012. With the exception of Greece, Finland has suffered the longest economic recession amongst the European states. The total government debt in Finland was less than 40 percent of their GDP before a financial crisis in 2008 , but the total government debt in Finland increased by 60 percent of their GDP. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development OECD assumed that if the government of Finland couldn’t manage effective financial policies, the total government debt would reach 100% of the GDP in 2003 and 200% in 2060. With this consideration, it was decided that a financial consolidation plan was needed from 2016 to 2019. This plan is worth 4.5 billion euro which would reach 2 percent of the GDP. During this time, Finland aims to reduce the public debt by 70 percent of the GDP and assumes that a large-scale macroeconomic impact will not occur. In this process, the main expense cuts include social security, educational expenses, research and development costs, and so on. Because of economic downfalls and the aggravation of financial conditions, cuts to the funds of university support have already come to about seven hundred million euro.


On the other hand, there is an opinion that if the free school expenses policy is abolished, it will be just a short-term loss. For example, after abolition of the free school expenses policy, the foreign students reduced by about 80 percent, but between 2012 and the abolition of free school foreign students increased. If there is one hope, we can take in the German situation. At first, the German public universities received tuition from foreign students. But, in recent years they don’t require foreign students to pay tuition. This is because the German government considered the benefits of students paying for living expenses and that it helps stimulate the economy. In addition, schools benefit from attracting talented people from other countries. For this reason, keeping the free school expenses policy is helpful for the domestic economy. People have loudly voiced to keep the free school policy. Now consider Korea. Korea raises clamor because university tuition is too expensive for Koreans.

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