Free education needs its saviour!

Free education and the actions to weaken it were a big talking point before the elections and it has not slowed down after them. At this point the most probable way forward is that students outside of EU and EEA areas would have to pay a fee which amounts to full costs of education. This would mean a significant rise on the fees.

The Ministry of Education has formed a working group to look at the proposition. It does not have an easy task. Firstly the change is heavily impacted by the fact that putting up a price for a tuition is difficult, since we have not calculated this amount in Finland and the cost differ heavily between different fields. It also needs to be noted that if there are any scholarships or other financial support mechanisms in place the costs of that should also be carried by the fee-paying students. If the group comes to a conclusion and we move to full fees that brings up a big challenge to our Universities. After we would begin to collect full fees our Universities would be in direct competition with Harvard and Yale just to name a few. Is this really the way forward if we also need international students more than ever?

This should also be a warning to Finnish students. There is a big risk that after there is a price tag on degrees that brings an even bigger force to the aim of bringing fees to all students and see studies and their costs as each student’s personal investment. 

Second degrees on a similar level are in biggest danger as it was already talked about to bring fees to them before the elections. It needs to be noted that for most the desire to get another degree stems from they have not been able to secure a job from the first field or that the overall environment is not the right one for them. Along with that we are also moving towards an even more unpredictable working life. When we can’t even fully state what kind of jobs with what type of requirements are there in the 2030s working life, are we really that eager to close the door on changing fields or widening the skill set for so many?

Free education is one of the most important values and aims for our Student Union and that is written into our Policy Paper that guides all of our activities. That is why we will continue to fight for free education now and in the future!

More info:

Mikko Hakoniemi, Vice Chair (
Jere Tapio, Specialist of Academic Affairs (

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