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The basics
Finland: Student Finances - Must read

Scholarships in Finland to start you off

Want to study in Finland? Check out our handy guide on scholarships available in the country here.

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If you’re an EU or EEA student, then you won’t have to pay a cent. Education in Finland is free for you. However, if you’re not, Finland has started introducing fees for their degree programmes that are taught in English from August 2017 onwards. There is some good news for non-EU/EEA students though, tuition fees are not charged for Doctoral studies or degree courses offered in Finnish or Swedish.


There are two types of universities in Finland- universities and universities of applied sciences (UAS). UAS are formerly polytechnics and they are more focused on research. Both types of universities offer degree programmes at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Programmes are taught in English, Finnish or Swedish. While international students are allowed to work part-time during their studies, part-time gigs might not be easy to come by if you don’t know any Finnish or Swedish.


Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. There are a few scholarship options available to international students keen on studying in Finland. We’ve shortlisted some for you here.


University scholarships

Many, if not all Finnish universities offer scholarships catered to fee-paying students. Scholarships typically come in the form of a tuition fee waiver, either a full waiver or a partial waiver. Some also cover your living expenses, transport, rent, and other miscellaneous expenditure. For instance, the University of Oulu offers a scholarship aimed at students taking an International Master’s degree with the institution. Other universities like the Lahti University of Applied Sciences grant students a 50% reduction in the fee for their first academic year and if the student completes the various modules within each academic year, they will be entitled to a 50% reduction for the rest of their academic years.


However, if you don’t obtain the minimum credits required for each academic year, then you’ll be subjected to the full annual tuition fee for all of the academic years that exceed the standard degree duration. The University of Tampere’s global student award for academic excellence scholarships cover 100% of the student’s tuition fees and also includes 7,000 Euros each year to cover your living expenses throughout your two-year Master’s degree programme. Universities recognise that they might not be able to award scholarships to every single deserving student, so for high-performing students who finishes 65 credits with a minimum GPA of 3/5, they can apply for a grant with the university that will cover 50% of their tuition fees during the second year of their studies.


Typically students apply for the scholarships at the same time that they apply for their degrees. However, there are exceptions. We highly recommend that students speak with their university or the foundation directly to get more information regarding the scholarship application process.


Scholarship requirements

Most scholarships offered by universities or UAS require students to have good academic performance. You must be able to prove your stellar record through your certificates, transcripts and other relevant documentation. Some schools have additional criteria for selection. For instance, the University of Helsinki also takes into consideration the diversity of applicants and grant scholarships to those who come from different backgrounds and fields of studies.


CIMO Scholarships

CIMO and the Finnish National Board of Education have merged to form the Finnish National Agency for Education. However, the scholarship programmes offered by the organisation still retains its name.


The Finnish National Agency for Education currently offers several scholarships for Doctoral students and research at Finnish universities. These scholarships are meant for all academic fields.


Below are the programmes available:


CIMO Fellowships

This programme is open to Doctoral students and researchers from all over the world and from any academic field. Priority is given to students from China, Russia, India, Brazil, Chile and North America. The scholarship can range from 3 to 12 months. The programme will cover living expenses in the country and there will be no additional allowance for housing. You can apply for this programme with the Finnish National Agency for Education. Simply download their application form and submit it together with your motivation letter, a complete resume and your research plan (3-5 pages).  


Finnish Government Scholarship Pool

Doctoral students and researchers can apply for this scholarship. You will need to have been provisionally accepted or already are a full-time student at a Finnish university or public research institute. This programme is open to several countries- Australia, Cuba, China, Japan, Republic of Korea, Peru, Israel, Egypt, Cuba, Mexico, Turkey, Mongolia, Namibia, Ukraine and the US.


This programme is catered to doctoral students and researchers and the scholarship period is for a year. Intended to improve the cultural and linguistic ties between the Finno-Ugric regions of Russia and Finland, this programme is open to those taking a post-Master’s level studies or conducting research at universities in the Finno-Urgic regions of Russia, those who reside in Russia and has knowledge of any Finno-Urgic languages spoken in Russia, or students who are studying Finno-Urgic languages. The application process for this scholarship is slightly different from the rest in that students can’t directly apply for this scholarship themselves. Instead, the university that you’re studying in needs to apply for the scholarship on your behalf.


Fulbright Grants

If you’re an American, you can apply for a Fulbright grant. The Fulbright programme is based on bilateral cultural exchange agreements between the US and other countries for international academic exchanges. More than 150 countries are in separate Fulbright programmes with the US. American teachers, students, lecturers and scholars who are interested in studying, teaching or carrying out research in Finland can apply for this grant. Every year, the foundation awards grants to over 80 Finnish and American students and professionals.


EU Scholarships

If you’re from the EU, you can apply for the Erasmus Mundus scholarships. Universities in Finland participate in a number of programmes that are funded by Erasmus Mundus. Students can choose to apply for a scholarship that follows the current existing programmes offered by Erasmus Mundus at the Masters or Doctoral level or you can opt to take one of the new Erasmus+ Joint Master Degree programmes. There are roughly 33 countries that are working with Erasmus+, which includes Iceland, Liechtenstein, Turkey, Norway, Croatia and Switzerland.


Luigi Einaudi Foundation

If you’re taking a degree within the social sciences field, then you can consider applying for the Luigi Einaudi Foundation scholarship. Each year, about 1200 scholarships and research grants are handed out by the foundation to students within the social sciences arena.


Check locally

Don’t forget to do your due diligence and look up any scholarships, bursaries or grants that are offered in your country for students studying abroad. It could even be from a company that you intend to work for once you graduate. Of course, this will entail a bond that you will have to fulfil upon graduation. You can also look at international organisations, societies and foundations.


Tip: If you’ve already secured a scholarship from the university directly, congrats! However, don’t forget to apply for other local scholarships to help lessen your financial burden. The more money you save, the more you have to spend on exploring Finland and all that it has to offer!


Now that you have some ideas on how to apply for a variety of scholarships, why not search and find your ideal course in Finland?