Finland is known worldwide for being one of the best places to live on earth.
In the last two decades, it has consistently ranked in the highest places among countries in the world for having the best healthcare system, the happiest citizens, the strongest economy, and the best education.
Actually, education is really important for the Finnish. They are famous for their innovative teaching methods, a quality and functional system, and for having a large number of citizens that hold a university degree (almost 40%).
In this article, we will be looking at affordable universities in Finland for international students.
How to Study in Finland for International Students
To study in Finland, there are many things that international students must do. The application process to universities in Finland can be difficult, so we’ve prepared a guide on How to Study in Finland for International Students. If you feel lost, we recommend that you take a look at that guide!
Can I Study in Finland for Free?
This is a question that many international students ask about education in Finland. The short answer is yes, but you need to do a lot of planning ahead of time. To make it possible, you should check out How to Study in Finland for Free (9 Steps).
5 key aspects you must know about Finnish education
You’ll have to choose between universities or polytechnics
There are two types of higher education: universities and universities of applied sciences often called “polytechnics”. The main difference is that at polytechnics you can get bachelor’s and master’s degrees and at universities, besides these two degrees, you can also get a doctorate and “Licentiate” degrees.
Getting a bachelor’s degree is only a step to achieving the real goal: a master’s degree
Most students get a master’s degree right after they finish their bachelor’s program. Bachelor’s degrees are seen only as a “stage” to get the master’s degrees, especially because most jobs nowadays require having a master’s degree.
Actually, most universities don’t even have a separate admissions process for master’s degree programs; you can directly start them once you’re done with your bachelor’s.
Only non-EU citizens pay tuition fees
Up to 2017, higher education was free for everyone. However, today it is only free for Finnish citizens and EU students.
Non-EU students will have to pay tuition fees that usually go from USD 6,000 to USD 18,000 per year. So, bear in mind that if you are from the EU, the tuition fees indicated below don’t apply to you.
There are English-taught programs but those in Finnish are free
Although Swedish and Finnish are the official languages of this country, finding a program that is fully taught in English won’t be hard at all.
However, if you take the challenge of learning Finnish and choose a Finnish-taught program, you’ll probably be exempted from paying tuition fees even if you aren’t from the EU.
Exams are the main element of admissions
Admissions usually focus on the results of entrance exams and your high school GPA. Elements like essays, extracurricular activities, community service, etc., are rarely considered when selecting new students.
Affordable Universities in Countries Near Finland
There are many universities in countries near Finland. You should check this list out:
Cheap Universities in Finland
1. University of Helsinki (UH)
- Tuition Fee: USD 14,000 Per Year
Ranked among the best universities in the world, the University of Helsinki (UH) was founded more than 300 years ago, in 1640. It currently is the 107th best university in the world according to the QS World University Ranking and offers the largest amount of disciplines in Finland.
This cheap university in Finland has 11 faculties of law, arts, science, medicine, agriculture and forestry, biological and environmental sciences, social sciences, theology, educational sciences, veterinary medicine, and social sciences.
UH has four campuses in the city of Helsinki where more than 36,000 students receive an education. It also has 11 research institutes. They have English-taught programs available at all levels of higher education. However, you’ll find a larger variety of master, licentiate, and doctorate degree programs.
Regarding tuition fees, UH is on the pricy side of the list. Non-EU students will have to pay EUR 13,000 per year. However, Swedish and Finnish-taught programs are completely free for all international students. Doctorate programs are also exempted from tuition fees for everybody and in case you need financial aid, there are scholarships that are granted only to international students.
2. University of Vaasa
- Tuition Fee: From USD 10,800 to USD 13,000 Per Year
For those that would like to pursue a major in the business or finance field, the University of Vaasa is the perfect one. It started as a school of economics but then expanded to more fields.
It currently has four schools of accounting and finance, technology and innovations, marketing and communications, and management. They offer degree programs at all levels of higher education. However, English-taught programs are only available for masters and doctorate degree programs.
Tuition fees for their master’s degrees go from EUR 10,000 to EUR 12,000 per academic year. This cheap university in Finland offers 100% and 50% tuition fee waivers to their best students.
3. University of Eastern Finland
- Tuition Fee: From USD 8,650 to USD 16,250 Per Year
The University of Eastern Finland was recently created (2010) after merging two higher education institutions. Although it is relatively new, it has already ranked among the best universities in the world. As for 2020, it is the 498th best according to the QS World University Ranking.
With over 15,000 students, this university has four faculties of social sciences and business studies, science and forestry, health sciences, and philosophy. These are located on two campuses: one in the city of Joensuu and the other in the city of Kuopio.
If you’d like to choose an English-taught program, these are only available for masters and doctorate degrees. Tuition fees for them go from EUR 8,000 to EUR 15,000. They also have many scholarships and tuition fee waivers available.
In case you’d like to start your studies in 2020, they are offering tuition fee waivers (from 50% to 80%) to all new international students to celebrate their 10th anniversary.
4. Tampere University
- Tuition Fee: USD 6,500 to USD 13,000 Per Year
Tampere University came to life after the merger of two higher education institutions that had been providing education for almost a century. As this university is located in the city of Tampere, which has the most important industrial center in the country, they are renowned for their programs in the technology and engineering sector.
Tampere University is one of the newest higher education institutions in Finland, as it was established in 2019. Nevertheless, it is among the 500 best universities in the world, with 395th place in the QS World University Ranking. It is affiliated with Tampere University of Applied Sciences.
With over 20,000 students, this cheap university in Finland has seven faculties of education and culture, information technology and communication sciences, medicine and health technology, engineering and natural sciences, management and business, social sciences, and environment.
It has English-taught programs available at all levels of higher education. Tuition fees go from EUR 6,000 to EUR 12,000 per academic year.
5. Arcada University of Applied Sciences
- Tuition Fee: From USD 5,500 to USD 11,900 Per Year
Opened in 1996, the Arcada University of Applied Sciences came to life when four specialized institutes merged together. It offers English-taught bachelor and master degree programs to more than 2,500 students.
This polytechnic has five departments of business management and analytics, culture and media, energy and materials technology, healthcare, and health and welfare. Its campus is located in Helsinki, Finland’s capital city.
They have scholarships of up to 50% available for all international students but only for bachelor’s degree programs.
6. University of Oulu
- Tuition Fee: From USD 10,800 to USD 14,000 Per Year
Established more than 50 years ago, in 1958, the University of Oulu has ranked the 374th best university in the world according to the QS World University Ranking.
13,000 students receive education in one of its seven faculties of information technology and electrical engineering, biochemistry and molecular medicine, humanities, science, education, medicine, and technology. It also has a business school.
This university has four research institutes that perform studies in more than 70 areas. It has two campuses located in the city of Oulu.
There are 21-degree programs that are fully taught in English. Tuition fees for them go from EUR 10,000 to EUR 13,000. In case international students need financial aid, they have scholarships available that cover between 50% and 75% of the fees.
7. Aalto University
- Tuition Fee: From USD 13,000 to USD 16,250 Per Year
We finish our list of cheapest universities in Finland with the second largest university in Finland, Aalto University. It came to life after three important universities were merged together in 2010, and all of them were originally founded more than a century ago. With more than 17,000 students, Aalto University is ranked as the 134th best university in the world according to the QS World University Ranking.
It is known for its innovative methods of teaching, which include the foundation of a design factory and different entrepreneurship programs and society that have resulted in the creation of multiple startups.
The university has six schools of science, business, electrical engineering, chemical engineering, engineering, and arts, design, and architecture. It also has different research institutes, an observatory, and a media factory. Most of them are located in the city of Espoo but some buildings are located in other cities.
Regarding tuition fees, English-taught bachelor degree programs cost EUR 12,000 per year. In the case of English-taught master’s degree programs, tuition fees are EUR 15,000 per year. They have a scholarship program that covers between 50% and 100% of tuition fees. In case you’re interested in a doctorate degree program, those are completely free for all international students.
I hope that this article was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Europe Scholarships Page!