The Norwegian Parliament, Storting, has decided to introduce tuition fees for all new-coming international students from countries outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland.
The decision was established after a proposal introduced by the government in October 2022 to scrap tuition-free university enrollment for third-country citizens was presented to the Parliament on Friday, March 24.
Commenting on the decision, the Norwegian Minister of Research and Higher Education, Ola Borten Moe, said that up until now Norway has been one of the very few world countries to offer free higher education to international students, while Norwegian students have to pay for tuition fees in most other countries.
“As far as we know, there are now no other European countries that do not require payment from students from outside the EU, apart from some German states. There is no reason why it should be any different in Norway,” the Minister said.
The decision means that starting from the autumn semester of this year, state universities and colleges will require international students to pay fees in order to enroll. The amount of fees will be set by each individual institution and must at least cover the institution’s costs for the education, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
Regarding private universities and colleges that receive state subsidies, from now on, the same should refrain from using the subsidies to cover operating costs for education for international students.
In addition, the country has decided to exempt several groups of foreign students from paying the fees, including here refugees, people displaced from Ukraine, exchange students, doctoral candidates, etc.
On March 24, the government also put forward proposals for a completely new education law, which amongst others will give everyone the right to upper secondary education until they have actually completed school.
It also includes extended rights for training for adults in order to make it easier for them to build up new skills or complete something they have started but interrupted earlier.
According to Education Minister Tonje Brenna, this new law would make more young people ready for working life and labour market.
“We are now proposing major and important extensions of the students’ rights. It is important for the individual who gets more opportunities to qualify for working life or further studies,” the Minister said.
According to data by the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) there were 3,943 university and college students in Norway with a residence permit in 2022, while 293 post-doctorate students were in the country on a residence permit.
Amongst the university students, 300 were from the United States, 354 from China, 281 from Iran, and 258 from Bangladesh.
In the same year, there were registered a total of 5,187 students from the EEA countries, 1,556 of which from Germany, 911 from France, 614 from Italy, 503 from Spain, and 485 from the Netherlands.
The total number of students in the country is 242,606, 100,465 of whom are men, and another 142,141 are women.
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