Is College Free in Finland?

Today, conventional wisdom advocates going to college as a vital key to success. However, the expensive cost of college fees makes this an unachievable feat for every individual. With countries heaping high tuition on potential college students, it is no surprise that many either end up not attending college or studying in an international institution that requires low college fees. In this article we shall see if College is free in Finland?

As the cost of attending college in many countries increases, students begin to turn to countries like Finland that offer students the opportunity of studying at the choicest Finland universities for free.

For students from countries that are part of the European Union (EU), European Economic Area Countries (EEA), or Switzerland, college is free. However, students who are not from these countries are considered international students and would have to pay a subsidized fee. But there are some exceptions.

Is College free in Finland?

Can I Study In Finland For Free?

Yes you can. 

Along with Germany, Norway, and Sweden, to name a few, Finland is one of the few countries that offers students the opportunity to study at top universities for free. Unlike countries that heap hefty college fees on students, causing many individuals to not attend or drop out of college, Finland deems education as a vital aspect of life. The country believes that despite the unequal financial standing in society, every young Finn should go to school. Hence the government of Finland bears about 96% of the college cost of a young Finn.

This offer of free college tuition extends to students from countries that are members of the EU, EEA, or Switzerland. The only costs these students need to cover in college include feeding, clothing, books, and other personal expenses.

Students not from these countries are international students. Generally speaking, international students do not fully enjoy Finland’s free college program as they are to pay a subsidized fee to study in a Finland college. The amount of this fee varies according to university choice and study program.

How Much Do International Students Pay To Study In Finland?

As we already stated, paying college fees to study in a country like Finland only applies to international students according to a Finland tuition proposal that came into force on the 1st of January 2016. By this proposal, universities in Finland can now impose college fees on non-EU/EEA students.

Hence as a non-EU/EEA student interested in studying Finland, you are required to pay tuition fees if you fall into any of these categories:

  1. International full-time undergraduate students wishing to earn a degree taught in English at a choice Finnish university. According to the tuition proposal, these students pay a minimum of 1,500 Euros per year.
  2. International full-time master’s students wishing to earn a degree taught in English at a choice Finnish university. These students will pay a minimum of 1,500 euros a year.

Note that in both cases, despite the minimum fee of 1500 Euros, the actual rate may vary according to university and study program. According to research, college fee for international students in these categories may range from 5,000 – to 18,000 Euros per year.

However, this tuition proposal does not apply to all international students studying in Finland. If you fall into any of the categories below, you are not required to pay tuition fees even if you are a non-EU/EEA student.

  1. International Ph.D. students in Finland
  2. International students in Finland studying programs taught in either Finnish or Swedish
  3. International students in Finland who have an EU Blue card, a permanent Finnish residence permit, or a fixed-term continuous residence permit

Things to Consider Before Studying In Finland as an International Student

If you fall into the non-EU/EEA student category and are to pay college fees to study in Finland, there are additional college costs you need to consider minus the required study fee. These include:

  • Living expenses. Living expenses include your food, clothes, transport, accommodation, health, etc. According to research, you will need a minimum of 700 – 1,100 Euros to live in Finland. Note that this depends on your location as some cities are more expensive than others.
  • Union Fees. As a student in a Finland university, you may pay an annual student union fee.
  • Social activities. It is vital to consider costs for extra-curricular activities.
  • Miscellaneous

The good news is that most Finland universities make dormitories or residences available at an affordable rate for their students. Also, several of the country’s higher institutions typically provide services that aid international college students seeking part-time or full-time jobs after college. In addition, international students looking for ways to bypass the stipulated fee required to study at a choice Finland College can apply for a scholarship to the university.

Is Studying In Finland Worth It?

Finland is a beautiful country situated in Northern Europe and famous for many things such as its beautiful natural scenery, clean air, top universities, free college system, and more. As an international student studying in Finland, you will experience a distinct culture, have the opportunity to attend one of the highly-ranked universities globally, meet and network with new people, and make new friends, among many other great benefits.


By affording its citizens, EU/EEA students, students from Switzerland, and a select group of international students the opportunity to study and earn a higher degree at a Finland University for free, the Finland government shows where its educational priorities lay. However, despite its free college program, international students who fall into the category of those required to pay college fees may find that studying in Finland is expensive. Hence this category of students needs to consider the additional expenses minus the required tuition fees before deciding whether attending a college in Finland is the right choice.

Frequently Asked Questions
  1. Is the standard of living in Finland high?

According to current research, Finland is among the top ten countries globally with a high standard of living.

  1. Which Finland University is the best?

The University of Helsinki founded in 1640.