Applications from international students up 11% in Finland
The number of applications by international students to study in Finland in 2018 rose by 11 percent on the previous year from 5,646 to 6,281.
This increase is expected to rise further if the comparison of the first 6 months of 2019 to the same period in 2018 is representative, where a slight rise from 2,571 to 2,726 applications was observed.
This follows the recent release of International Migration 2018-2019 – Report for Finland, published by Finland’s Ministry of the Interior.
The majority of applications to study in Finland come from students whose home country is in Asia, with China (919) leading the way. Following behind was Russia (855), Vietnam (440) and Bangladesh (332).
Speaking to Global Education Times, Hanna Boman, Head of Unit (Support for Internationalisation) at the Finnish National Agency for Education (EDUFI), said: “Finland’s ability to attract international higher education students has been supported by its well-functioning and safe society.”
Ms Boman’s comments are supplemented by Finland’s 2017 International Student Barometer study, which found that the most important reasons for choosing to study in Finland included the content of education, quality of research, and the reputation of higher education institutions.
Gender seemed to have little impact on those making decisions to study in Finland with an almost equal divide of 51% female and 49% male.
As well as applications from Asia and the wider world showing an increase, the number of EU citizens registering to study in Finland also increased in 2018. In 2018, 1,317 EU citizens applied to study in Finland, a rise from 801 in 2017 and 922 in 2016.
Countries submitting the highest number of applications from the EU were Germany (299), France (200) and Italy (126). Of these, the skew was towards women with 56% of all applicants identifying as female, and 44% male.
Vocational training a big draw for international students in Finland
The data indicates that registrations by international students for academic studies in Finland (Bachelors, Masters and Doctoral degrees) have remained relatively stable over the past three years, with only minor fluctuations in the uptake of students.
Meanwhile, those registering for vocational education and training has seen the greatest increase since 2015.
In 2015, 13,830 foreign students registered for such courses, increasing year on year with 16,467 in 2016 and 19,203 in 2017; there is no data currently available for 2018.
New Finland government policies may have led to increase
Over the last few years, the Finnish Government has ensured facilitation of immigration of students and researchers to the country.
This has taken the form of reformed permit practices, streamlining the residence permit processes and reinforcing the connections between higher education and working life.
Kaisu Piiroinen, Senior Ministerial Adviser at Finland’s Ministry of Education and Culture, told Global Education Times: “Attracting more international talent to Finland is one of our [long-term] goals as part of the country’s “Vision for Higher education and Research 2030” programme.
Ms Piiroinen added: “The Finland government’s vision focuses on actions to bring more international talent and students to Finland, and increasing trainee placements and support services to help international students and young researchers integrate in Finland and the Finnish labour market.”
Looking forward, the Finnish Government hope to grant students a residence permit for the full period of their study and extend it for a period of two years following graduation. This change will also see permit holders allowed to accept short-term work.
In a further bid to make Finland a popular place to remain after completing studies, the Government intends to investigate financial support to compensate the tuition fees for non-EU/EEA students in Finland if they remain in the country to work after graduation.
Pic: Tapio Haaja
Kate Frazer is a reporter for Global Education Times with a focus on UK/Ireland and North American education news. When she is not writing for GET News, Kate spends her time as an English and Maths tutor, and is currently pursuing her PGCE in Secondary Mathematics.
You can reach her at: firstname.lastname@example.org