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Calls for scholarships for non-EU students in Norway after applicant drop-off

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
Calls for scholarships for non-EU students in Norway after applicant drop-off
There are calls on the Norwegian government to introduce a scholarship scheme for students now required to pay tuition. Pictured is a university lecture room. Photo by Changbok Ko on Unsplash

The number of applicants from outside the EU/EEA has dropped by roughly 80 percent since the introduction of tuition fees. The university sector has called for the government to introduce a scholarship scheme.


Since the introduction of tuition fees, the number of students from outside the EEA/EU scheduled to start a degree in Norway has dropped from 1,533 last year to just 332 this year, according to figures obtained by higher education publication Khrono.

The government introduced tuition fees for these students at public universities this year as a cutback on spending.

When it introduced the tuition fees, which don't apply to exchange students or those from within the EEA, the government didn't introduce or announce a scholarship scheme for students who, under the new rules, have to pay tuition.

Professor Siri Lange teaches at the University of Bergen and has called on the government to introduce a scholarship scheme. She told Khrono that the scholarship scheme should be similar to the previous quota scheme, which was scrapped in 2016.

This scheme supported students from developing countries who came to Norway to take a degree.

"The biggest disadvantage of tuition fees is that far fewer students from the global south get the opportunity to come here and that the Norwegian students do not get to learn from students who have grown up in different circumstances than themselves. We have used it actively in teaching and have had many interesting discussions as a result of it, including about the role of civil society," Lange said.

Oddmund Løkensgard Hoel, State Secretary for Research and Higher Education, told Khrono that Norway was the only European country that had offered free education to those from outside the EEA and Switzerland. He said that there was no reason as to why Norway should be the exception.

"There is no reason why it should be any different here," he said.


Hoel has previously said that the government would consider the possibility of a scholarship scheme.

"We wanted to make this change now in the 2023 budget because it was necessary to get the budget together. We also wanted to gain some experience before starting to create scholarship schemes. We need some time to find out how the scholarship schemes will be organised. But there will be scholarship schemes that will be targeted at the countries and students who need it most," he told public broadcaster NRK.

In a comment to Khrono, Hoel said that any potential scholarships for students from the global south should be discussed in terms of aid policy.


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