Norwegian Government has proposed to introduce tuition fees for foreign students outside of EU and EEA in the new state budget. Aftenposten spoke to the rectors of Norway’s eight universities about the proposal. Half say they will completely or partially drop tuition fees at their university if the budget proposal is accepted, thus subsidizing foreign students with theor own budget. The rest has not taken a position on the issue.
Rector of Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) Mari Sundli Tveit notes that free education is the main reason why foreign students chose Norway. And if they have to pay, they will select more famous foreign universities.
NMBU get a cut of 3.2 million NOK next year. The case is not processed by the university board, but Tveit does not want to send the bill to foreign students.
– For us it is about the foundation of our academic activities. Our international student population is primarily rooted elsewhere than the EU. We work with global issues, and it requires international cooperation far beyond the borders of the EU, says the rector.
Rector ag Rune Olsen at the University of Bergen has a similar attitude.
– We have basically no plans to introduce tuition fees. We believe the international students who come here are a very good investment in our future international network, says Olsen whose uinversity has a cut of nearly 8 million NOK.
Rectors of the University of Tromsø (University of Tromsø) and University of Oslo (UiO) think in the same line, but stress that the board has not considered the matter.
Rector Ole Petter Ottersen said they need to see the overall perspective. Norway has high cost of living, speaks a language that is spoken by few and is located off the major road junctions in Europe. The only thing we can add to the pot’s high academic quality and the absence of tuition fees, says he.
This is a hot issue in the government’s negotiations with the Liberal Party and the Christian Democratic Party, which are strong opponents of the proposal, but their education policy advocates can not guarantee that it will be stopped.
Norwegian universities and state university colleges as a rule do not charge tuition fees for international students. However, students need to pay a semester fee of NOK 300-600 ($50-100) each semester.
This is applicable for all levels, including undergraduate studies, Masters programmes and Ph.D. programmes. Note that some state universities and university colleges may have tuition fees for a few specialized programmes. Typically these programmes are at the Masters level.
Most private institutions have tuition fees for all their programmes and courses. But the fees are usually significantly lower than those of comparable studies in most other countries. Also, foreign students don’t pay higher tuition fees than Norwegian students.