When Sweden is introducing tuition fees, Norway is seeing a sharp rise in applications from non-European students.

International students flock to free education

As tuition fees are being implemented in Sweden, Norway is benefiting from upholding their tuition-free policy, while Sweden sees a sharp decline in applications from abroad.

Many are anticipating a drastic change in the international student scene on Swedish universities for this fall. With the tuition fee taking effect this July, Swedish universities are experiencing a 75 percent decline in applications from non-EU students for the fall semester.

At the same time, an increasing number of students are applying to Norwegian universities. For example, Trondheim’s Norwegian University of Science and Technology, according to a report from the online outlet Views and News from Norway, is seeing a 45 percent rise in applications from non-European students.

Norway receives international students well

Anne Karine Nymoen, president of Norway’s largest student organization Norsk Studentorganisasjon, NSO, believes that the large rise in international applicants is a positive development for the country.

“We believe that having international students on campus is a huge cultural benefit, not only for them but also for our Norwegian students,”  Anne Karine explains.

NSO International Officer Julie Ness concurs with Nymoen.

“International students are a valuable contribution to the academic community here in Norway. I do not see a reason as to why we should not encourage more students internationally to visit Norway and Europe.”

Talks about application fees

Anne Karine also explains that “the rise in international applicants is a true challenge for the institutions in Norway, but we strongly disagree with the prospect of introducing application fees for international students.”

According to her, it is the responsibility of Norway’s Ministry of Education and Research to provide adequate funding to cover the extra costs of accepting more international students.

Anne Karine Nymoen says that the rise in international applicants has given some conservative Norwegian politicians a reason to start a new debate. Norway has yet to start charging students without European origins.

NSO has been working to deter the rising support for application fees on international students.

However, Julie Ness believes that this change is quite unlikely, especially coming from the left-leaning Red-Green coalition that is currently in power in Norway.

“Aprepreciate globalisation and mobility”

Ultimately, both Julie Ness and Anne Karine see that the rise in international student applications is a positive change that they believe Norway should accept, in spite of the monetary expense.

“It is reasonable to believe that the decline of applications in Sweden has had an effect on the rise in international applicants,” says Anne Karine.

“We do not know what is happening in Sweden, but we at NSO want to show that we appreciate globalisation and mobility in the world by letting international students experience Norway.”

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