What it's worth to study in Finland
We’ve already discussed before about the quality of life in Finland, and how it possesses many unrivalled and even enviable attributes when compared to other countries. Clean air, safety, free health care – just to name a few. But what about the living costs? Like many of its fellow Nordic countries, Finland has a reputation of being a somewhat pricey place to live in. Let’s see if this is really true and – while we’re at it – also pick up some useful tips for cutting those expenses.
How to deal with tuition fees and the cost of studying
Any international student reading this blog might be interested in knowing how tuition fees work in Finland. Here it is in a nutshell: If you are a non-EU/EEA student and starting your Master’s degree this autumn or later, you are required to pay tuition fees. But it’s good to remember that each university defines their tuition fees independently. In Finland University member universities, tuition fees can range between €8,000 to €16,000.
This may sound like a tough number, but there’s a silver lining. First off, it’s good to remember the many benefits that are included in tuition fees: major and minor study subjects, possibility for PhD studies without additional charges, and possibilities for an internship and additional exchange studies while completing your Master's Degree. Tuition fees also cover a lot of student services: orientation programmes and tutoring, personal counseling and recruitment services, with additional support for arranging an accommodation.
With a little help from my scholarships
Speaking of silver linings with student expenses: few can beat the help of a nifty scholarship! In fact, the member universities of Finland University all offer generous scholarships to reward the most talented students for their achievements. A substantial number of full and partial scholarships will be available for fee-paying students – these will vary depending on the chosen university. We’ve gathered a short summary of the scholarship structure at our member universities:
- tuition fee scholarships which can cover the costs for tuition fee 50%, 80% or 100%
- scholarship for living costs which can cover living expenses on top of the tuition fee scholarship
- scholarship for exceptional performance for those students who did not get the scholarship during their first year of studies can apply for a scholarship for the second year
You can read more about the scholarships for each member university here.
What about the living expenses in Finland?
According to the Finnish Immigration Service, a student needs to have sufficient means for studying in Finland, which is approximately €560 per month. In case the educational institution provides you with free accommodation, your required monthly reserve should be around €280. The real costs, of course, depend on where you study and how you budget your student life.
As often is the case around the world, living expenses in Finland are higher in a metropolitan area or in larger cities than in smaller towns. To draw a rough comparison between living expenses in other countries, the cost of consumer prices in London is 7,70% higher than in Turku, while rent is 24,15% lower in Finland than in the United States.
Basic food ingredients are relatively cheap in Finland. Red meat costs between 8-20 euros per 1 kg, while 1 kilogramme of chicken is around 6-10 euros. One kilo of rice is 1-3 euros, while one liter of milk costs around 0,70-1,20 euros.
A McDonald’s meal is between 2-8 euros, and most inexpensive restaurants serve meals ranging from 8-15 euros. However, it’s good for students to remember that meals in student cafeterias cost only €2,60 with a student card.
Get around, go around
Most international flights to Finland arrive at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport, an international airport with a great selection of international and domestic connections. Once you arrive, you can continue your journey from the airport to the town centre by bus or by an airport taxi.
Finland has a well-organised system of public transport, with most towns and cities providing local bus services. In addition, there’s also a nationwide network of train, and air services. It’s good to utilize your Finnish student card for travel discounts on long-distance trains and coaches, possibly also in public local traffic!*
Ensure your health with insurance
Only permanent residents of Finland are covered under the Finnish National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme of Kela (the Social Insurance Institution of Finland). Therefore, international students residing in Finland on a temporary student residence permit are not covered by the NHI scheme. If you are not insured by a corresponding insurance system from your home country – or if you do not have a European Health Service card – it is highly recommended to obtain medical and accident insurance from a private insurance company before you arrive to Finland.
Healthcare for university students studying at a Master's level is offered by the Finnish Student Health Service (FSHS - in Finnish, the acronym is YTHS). The YTHS student health services are not available for Doctoral students, so if you are aiming for a PhD, it would be advised to contact your hosting Finnish university for advice on the local health care services and options.
Also, do note that even if your student status enables you to use student healthcare services, this does not substitute the need for valid insurance!*
Working while studying
Most Finnish students work part-time at some stage of their studies. Usually, this means working in the evenings or during weekends. You don’t have to be fluent in Finnish or Swedish, since there are English-speaking jobs in Finland as well. But it is best not to count on part-time work as a way to finance your studies, as it cannot be guaranteed that you will be able to find a job. However, it is certainly worth a try once you are in Finland!
Free privileges for everyone
Some of the finest things in Finnish life are for free. Did you know that the Finnish tap water is some of the cleanest water in the world, and often cleaner than actual bottled water? And the best part about it? It’s completely free!
Another wonderful free thing for everyone in Finland is the access to libraries. Thousands upon thousands of books and sources of knowledge – completely free for everyone.
Learn more about studying in Finland
If you are interested in studying in Finland and would like to find out more, there's good news: the downloadable Finland University guide provides a quick starting package of how to apply for international master’s degree programmes and scholarships in the member universities of Finland University.
Interested? Download the guide and learn more!