How to Study in Finland for Free
Finland, among its Scandinavian neighbors, is known for providing an excellent quality of life to its population. It is also recognized as one of the highest performing developed countries on the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA). In addition to this, the lower living costs in Finland compared to many other European or Western countries – such as the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and Australia – are also a major draw. It is their lower tuition fees, where students can either study for free or significantly lower costs than in other countries, that make Finland an excellent place for EU and international students to gain quality education and experience a new country and culture. In this article, we will be discussing ways to study in Finland for free.
Luckily for students all over the world – whether you are looking to pursue your Bachelor’s, Master’s or PhD degree – you can study and attend school in Finland either for free or for very little money. If you are an EU (European Union), EEA (European Economic Area) or Swiss citizen, you can attend school for free in Finland. If you are an international student, though unfortunately, Finland does not offer free tuition anymore as of 2017, you are still able to apply for scholarships. According to Study EU, some university scholarships will completely cover your tuition costs, while some may offer up to 50% off.
Each institution has different fees, so be sure to look at their official websites to see what their fees, international student services, and scholarship options are. It is also important to remember that even if your tuition costs are covered, you are still required to pay for your own living expenses and food coverage. Student union fees may also need to be paid, ranging between 80 – 100 Euros.
Some of the (many) institutions in Finland include:
- The University of Eastern Finland
- The University of Helsinki
- Aalto University
- The University of Turku
- The University of Oulu
- The University of Vaasa
- Lappeenranta University of Technology
- Hanken Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration
Study in Finland for Free
1. Apply to Universities in Finland
To study in Finland for free, you need to first apply to universities in Finland. When figuring out which degree you’d like to pursue, using Degree Finder is a great way to do so, which you will find on many institutions’ official websites. For example, the University of Helsinki has one which you can access here.
The next step is to look at the academic requirements and prerequisites for applying to your degree or program of choice. When in doubt, consult the official university website, where there is usually a “Contact” section to speak to the university directly. The academic year generally begins in September for the fall semester and January for the winter/spring semester, with application periods usually starting in the November before the year you are to start. Remember to consult and confirm application deadlines with your university of choice.
Not to fear for those who don’t speak Finnish – many of the universities offer courses in English. Often, you are required to take an English entrance exam, either in Finland or elsewhere. The examination is either the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) or the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language).
If you are accepted to your school of choice, make sure to apply for either a student residence permit or a short-term visa. Short-term visas only apply if your studies are 90 days or shorter, but if you are applying for longer-term schooling, residence permits are required and are valid for two years. Refer to the Finnish Immigration Service website for more information about visas.
2. Prepare the Required Materials
It is important to bear in mind that there are two types of academic institutions in Finland: UAS (Universities of Applied Sciences) which are more focused on the practical labor market needs, and Universities which are more academically inclined. Be sure to check out the official website for International Students looking to study in Finland here.
Required documents vary based on whether the school you are looking at is a UAS or a University. UAS typically need copies of completed or in-progress qualifications, official translations for documents, original diplomas and original official translations, employment certificates, and applications for special arrangements for entrance exams. For Universities, the school you have applied for will provide you a list of required documents once you have already started your application
In addition, proof of financial stability is often required as well. This can include bank statements, one-year living worth of cost, a source of income, employment paystubs, and more. Consult your university of choice for more information regarding these documents.
If you are applying for a doctorate, tuition fees are not charged even if you are an international student.
3. Apply for Scholarships
Unfortunately, it is harder to avoid tuition fees if you are a non-EU or EEA citizen. International fees apply, but not to worry – there are tons of online scholarships you can apply so that you can study in Finland for free. To apply for scholarships, refer directly to the university’s websites to see which scholarships you are eligible for. For example, on the University of Helsinki’s website, they take you on a step-by-step guide to applying for scholarships if you are a non-EU/EEA or Swiss citizen. On their website specifically, they specify that for a Master’s program, your scholarship application can be the exact same as your Master’s application. Bear in mind that most of the time, scholarships are awarded based on academic merit. Scholarships are usually applied for in conjunction with your degree or program application.
I hope that this article on how to study in Finland for free was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Europe Category!