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Caught between fees and fairness

The welfare state is a Nordic gem that politicians are careful to keep polished.

This is part of the reason why Finland guarantees free university education, which is a great selling point to entice international students to the country. But the financial crisis and government spending cuts have increased the pressure on politicians to introduce fees for non-European students, to appease taxpayers concerned about spending money on students from abroad.

Finland looks likely to become the third Nordic country, after Denmark and Sweden, to charge tuition fees for students from outside the EU and the European Economic Area. The Finnish government published a draft plan on 30 October, proposing that these fees should be at least €4,000 a year. If the plan is approved by parliament, universities will begin to charge fees in 2016.

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