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University of Eastern Finland encourages international students to learn Finnish with a new tuition waiver

The University of Eastern Finland is the first Finnish university to introduce a tuition waiver based on learning the Finnish language for students in Bachelor's and Master's degree programmes taught in English. The aim of the waiver is to encourage international students to learn Finnish, improve their employment opportunities, and help them better integrate into Finnish society. 

"Proficiency in the Finnish language plays a key role in students’ integration and employment in Finland. The University of Eastern Finland wants to support international students by making language learning an essential part of their study path at the university," says Academic Rector Tapio Määttä, commenting on the new tuition waiver model, which is to be implemented from 1 August 2024. 

 The waiver can be awarded to attending students (registered as present) who are liable to pay tuition fees, and who have actively studied Finnish at the University of Eastern Finland and achieved the language proficiency required for the waiver. Language proficiency can be demonstrated by a National Certificate of Language Proficiency at the intermediate level, or by Finnish language studies completed at UEF at level A2.2 

The Director of the university's Language Centre, Lauri Tolkki, notes that learning a completely new language to the level required for citizenship, especially within the tight time frame of a two-year Master's degree programme is quite challenging. 

"The offering of Finnish language courses at the UEF Language Centre has been significantly expanded, and making the waiver available to students on UEF's own language study path will hopefully motivate students to start learning the language right at the beginning of their studies. This way, students in two-year Master's programmes will be able to reach the language level needed to get the waiver," says Tolkki. 

The University of Eastern Finland has approximately 1,400 international students, the majority of whom come from outside the EU and EEA countries. The university offers over 30 Bachelor's and Master's degree programmes taught in English. The university's tuition fees range from 8,000 to 10,000 euros depending on the programme, and students from outside the EU and EEA countries are required to pay tuition fees. For students being awarded the Finnish language tuition waiver, this constitutes a reduction of their overall tuition fee, up to a maximum of 5000 euros. More detailed information about the scholarship can be found on the university's Tuition fees, waivers and scholarships website.