In March 2023, the Norwegian Government passed a law that makes the upcoming students from outside the EU/EEA and Switzerland to pay tuition fees. This came as a surprise for all, knowing that Norway was popular for free education for all.
We have asked the international office and student parliament at Volda University College to get more information about how the fees will affect the universities. A Student Parliament representative told to TNP that the decision came as a surprise for all universities. They added that some programs in some universities might discontinue.
“The universities or university colleges were not consulted on this topic. There was no warning in advance, as the coalition parties had promised in their political manifestos that free education was to continue”, Trond Fredrik Hagemann Hoddevik, the student parliament leader said.
According to Volda University College student parliament, MMP (master in media practices) and NIS (Norwegian language course) are somewhat affected by this change in terms of applications from outside of Europe. Also University of Bergen and University of Agder might end some of their study programs and courses.
The International Office at Volda University College said that they don’t have fixed data about the numbers of new students out of EU/EEA. They said that this is the time when they send the admission letters and for the exact number they have to wait untill next semester.
“Since we have not yet sent out admission letters to international students and since we do not know if those accepted will in fact come to Volda in August to start their studies, it is a bit early to answer this question. However, we expect that there will be considerably fewer new international students from outside the EEA/EU-zone and especially from countries where the students will find it difficult to pay such sums for studying abroad”, Arne Humberset, The Head of International Office responded.
They are afraid of the Swedish example, which experienced 70% fewer students out of EU/EEA when they put fees for that category.
“The effect of tuition fees in Sweden when this was introduced in 2011 was that international students from outside the EU/EEA were reduced by 70% and the number of international students has only in recent years returned to the levels as they were before 2011. More importantly, Sweden has experienced that international students have returned to large universities, but not to smaller institutions in the periphery. We will work very hard at VUC to prevent this to happen here, but it is a scenario that we are afraid of”, Humberset said.
We have asked Wouter Gasse who studies in Norway and Grisejda Kuci who planned to study in Norway. Wouter said that the decision was a wrong move if Norway wants to get international students.
“If Norway wants to keep attracting Internationals from outside EU to their universities then this was a wrong decision. The free education is, together with Norway’s beautiful nature, one of the biggest selling point of Norwegian universities. Norway is very expensive to live in and their university degrees are not as prestigious as, for example, their English or Swiss counterparts” he said.
Grisejda planned to study in Norway, but she changed her plans because of fees. In her response, she said that it is a huge amount to pay, and she can’t afford it. “I was thinking to make NIS (Norwegian Language) but I don’t think I will do it, because of the fees. For that one-year course, I have to pay around 7500 euros. For me, it is a huge amount of money. In addition to that, I also need to have a guarantee that I can live in Norway for a year, which means that I need to have in my bank account an amount of around 13 000 euros. The fees and the guarantee, in total, are around 20 000 euros. This is a huge amount for me and others outside of EU/EEA” she said.
Why Norway took this decision?
We have asked the Ministry of Education but they didn’t respond. Research and Higher Education Minister Ola Borten Moe on the other hand has earlier told to Aftenposten that are a lot of reasons why Norway has introduced fees for students out of EU/EEA.
He pointed out that after Russia´s invasion of Ukraine, Norway has had to put more money into defense and has had to face inflation. Minister has added that with this decision, Norway will save NOK 1.2 billion.
– Universities and colleges will still receive 75 percent of this amount for themselves, says Moe to Aftenposten.
He also believes that those who come to Norway to study are not the world’s poorest.
How much will it cost?
The fees are different from one institution to another. Here are some examples of fees from Volda University College and The Artic University of Norway.
-Volda University College
|Field of study||Fees per one academic year|
|Norwegian language course (NIS)||75 000 NOK per year|
|Master in Media Practices (MMP)||115 000 NOK per year|
-The Artic University of Norway
|Field of study||Fees per one academic year|
|Norwegian Language and Society||48 200 NOK per year|
|Arctic Nature Guide (Svalbard)||55 200 NOK per year|
|Master in Contemporary Issues in Risk and Crisis Management||185 400 NOK per year|
|Master in Psychology||185 400 NOK per year|
|Master of Tourism Studies||185 400 NOK per year|
|Master in English Acquisition and Multilingualism||185 400 NOK per year|
|Master in English Literature||185 400 NOK per year|
|Master of Philosophy of Visual Anthropology||185 400 NOK per year|
|Master of Public Health||185 400 NOK per year|
|Master of Philosophy in Peace and Conflict Transformation||185 400 NOK per year|
|Master of Laws in the Law of the Sea||185 400 NOK per year|
|Master of Philosophy in Indigenous Studies||185 400 NOK per year|
|Master of Philosophy in Theoretical Linguistics||185 400 NOK per year|
|Master of Science in Aerospace Control Engineering||255 000 NOK per year|
|Master of Science in Applied Computer Science||255 000 NOK per year|
|Master of Science in Industrial Engineering||255 000 NOK per year|
|Master of Science in Engineering Design||255 000 NOK per year|
|Master of Science in Electrical Engineering||255 000 NOK per year|
|Master in Biology||255 000 NOK per year|
|Master of Science in Marine Biotechnology||255 000 NOK per year|
|Master of Science in Technology and Safety in the High North||255 000 NOK per year|
|Master in Geosciences||255 000 NOK per year|
|Master of Science in Physics||255 000 NOK per year|
|Master of Science in Computer Science||255 000 NOK per year|
|Master of Science in Biomedicine||255 000 NOK per year|
|Master of Science in Molecular Sciences||255 000 NOK per year|
|Master of Mathematical Sciences||255 000 NOK per year|
|Master in Landscape Architecture||373 500 NOK per year|
|Master in Fine Art||373 500 NOK per year|
There are some exceptions in which you will not pay the fees. Exchange students are in this category. Also students who started university before 2023 do not have to pay tuition fee. Moreover free education for students from the EU/EEA and Switzerland continues.