4 best tuition-free universities in Finland for international students

4 best tuition-free universities in Finland for international students
People enjoy a drink while sitting in a terrace in Helsinki. Source: Alessandro Rampazzo/AFP

There are many reasons to study in Finland? Start with the fact that the Finns are the happiest people. This Nordic nation consistently ranks first on the World Happiness Report, and 2022 is no different.

It’s affordable to study in Finland too. On average, you can expect to pay 700 to 900 euros per month (one euro is approximately US$1.03 at the time of writing) to live in this frosty utopia — and that is not including your rent and tuition fees.

Your cost of living also depends on the place you intend to study. Take, Helsinki, for example. You can expect to pay 980 to 1580 euros per month (including rent), but tuition fees at the University of Helsinki — one of the oldest and largest institutions of academic education in Finland — average between 13,000 to 18,000 euros per academic year.

In Oulu, expect to spend 660 to 1,000 euros per month (including rent) and the average tuition fees at the University of Oulu — one of two universities in the city — start from 10,000 euros per academic year. Those staying in Kajaani would spend around 1,033 euros and students living in Tampere spend on average 950 euros per month. 

Like most tuition-free universities in Europe, international students from the European Economic Area (EEA), European Union (EU), and those with a permanent Swedish residence permit do not pay for tuition at Finnish universities.

For students outside these countries, here are the best tuition-free universities in Finland that you can consider:

study in finland

Finland is home to some of the most popular names like Valtteri Bottas, a Finnish motorsports racing driver who raced for Williams, Mercedes and Alfa Romeo in Formula One. Source: Giuseppe Cacace/Pool/AFP

Best tuition-free universities for international students in Finland

Diaconia University of Applied Sciences (Diak)

Diaconia University of Applied Sciences, more commonly known as Diak, is a public university with five campuses in Helsinki, Oulu, Pieksämäki, Pori and Turku. 

Diak is Finland’s largest provider of UAS-level education (that refers to higher education institutes that focus on applied training and research) in social work, specialising in health care and interpreting.

What does it mean to study at Diak? According to its students, studying here is the opportunity to make the world a better place and find their calling in the world of work. 

For those who are not from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, tuition fees range between 4,000 to 6,000 euros for undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. 

study in finland

Dream of studying in the happiest place on Earth with a chance to see the Northern Lights? With these tuition-free options, you’re one step closer to living that dream. Source: Photo by Olivier Morin/AFP

Centria University of Applied Sciences

With three campuses in the Ostrobothnian regions (Kokkola, Pietarsaari and Ylivieska), Centria University of Applied Sciences (CUAS) is a vibrant international university — with one in four of its 4,000 degree students coming from outside of Finland. 

At a university of applied science, you will experience the highest standards of intellectual rigour in areas like nursingbusiness intelligence and engineering. Practical learning experiences such as workshops and projects are incorporated into the curriculum to give students a realistic grip on the taught themes.

Depending on the programme, an education at CUAS will cost students outside the EU, EEA or Switzerland between 7,000 to 8,500 euros per academic year.

Students are eligible for an early bird discount of 1,500 euros for the first year of their tuition if they accept an offer to study at CUAS and pay their fees within two weeks after the notification. 

study in finland

You can pursue a bachelor’s degree in esports business at Kajaani University of Applied Sciences for as low as 6,000 euros per academic year. Source: Pascal Guyot/AFP

Kajaani University of Applied Sciences

Situated in the heart of Finland, Kajaani University of Applied Sciences (KUAS) students are a stone’s throw away from Kajaani — a scenic and active town linked by excellent traffic connections and dotted with stunning forest-covered hills and beautiful lakes and rivers.

Here, KUAS students learn by doing. Take, for example, their bachelor’s degree in esports business. It includes field trips to explore esports events and events in the local community. 

An education at KUAS will cost students outside the EU, EEA, or Switzerland between 6,000 to 10,000 euros.

A group of people from different nationalities arrive to participate in the Guinness World Record attempt for the highest number of different nationalities inside a sauna at the Naval Academy Sauna on the island of Suomenlinna, Helsinki, Finland. Source: Alessandro Rampazzo/AFP

Tampere University

Tampere University is one of the youngest universities in Finland. It has seven faculties, including the Faculty of Built Environment, Faculty of Education and Culture, Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences, Faculty of Information Technology and Communication Sciences, Faculty of Management and Business, Faculty of Medicine and Health Technology and Faculty of Social Sciences. 

It is well-known as one of the best universities to pursue research on subjects like game culture studies and tumour genetics.

Tuition fees at Tampere University cost around 6,000 to 10,000 euros for bachelor’s programmes.