Tuition for foreign students in Norway: Why no news is bad news
Since the plan to introduce tuition for students from outside the EEA became law at the beginning of the year, very few updates have been provided to prospective students.
In October 2022, the government unveiled plans to introduce tuition fees at Norway’s public universities for foreign students from outside the EEA area and Switzerland.
The government chose to cut back on funding for international students to prioritise other matters in its fiscal plan for 2023.
Despite opposition from students, universities and the Socialist Left Party, which negotiated the budget with the current minority government, the proposal passed into law at the turn of the year.
Essentially this means that those enrolling in new courses that begin in the autumn of 2023 should expect to pay fees to study at a public university, whereas those from Norway and the EEA will study for free.
However, not a lot has been provided in the way of updates by the government or educational institutions.
This lack of news spells bad news for those hoping to study in Norway as they have yet to be provided with all the information they need to know about fees when applying to study in Norway.
So far, the government has only provided estimates on what it could cost. State Secretary for Education Oddmund Løkensgard Hoel has previously told public broadcaster NRK that tuition could cost around 130,000 kroner per year.
That figure is based on an average of fees in Denmark, Sweden and Finland, where similar schemes are in place for international students.
The tuition fees being introduced are only required to cover the cost of the course and not to make a profit.
Still, universities have yet to finalise what it will cost to study in Norway as a non-EEA student.
The Arctic University of Norway (UiT) informed The Local that the higher education sector was collaborating and working out a model to calculate how much it would cost to study in Norway from autumn.
“UiT is collaborating with the rest of the sector to find a model for calculating the costs and will send this to applicants as soon as possible and at the latest by sending out the offer letter. What we now answer to those applicants who ask is that we currently do not have more information than what is on our website. We are working on getting the necessary clarifications, and we will update the website and send out information to all our applicants as soon as we know anything more. This is stated on the website,” Heidi Adolfsen, director of education, research and dissemination at UiT, told The Local.
The Arctic University of Norway is one of seven public universities to which The Local reached out to this week. When it receives more answers from education institutes, it will provide an update on what the universities have said.
One benefit of the sector working together to formulate a pricing model is that it should mean fairly standardised fees across the board for prospective students.
In the event that a model and pricing information isn’t available until offer letters are sent out to prospective students, it may mean that many may be unsure of whether they can afford to study until they receive their offer.
University offers in Norway go out in the early summer, meaning a model may not be in place until June or July.
However, it is possible that a model will be in place long before then, offering students clarity on how the payments will work and what they will need to pay.