Scholarships in Finland

Finland's education system has been established for hundreds of years. It has a high-tech economy and is often rated as one of the best countries in the world to live. The universities in Finland are therefore popular with both local and international students. One of the things that make Finnish universities unique from universities in other countries is that they do not currently charge tuition fees. This has an immediate impact on student finances as degree courses are free. But as a result, there are not many scholarship programmes available as scholarships around the world are often used to pay tuition fees. The few that are available in Finland are usually awarded to help cover the living costs that are associated with studying.
Get financial aid for your studies in Finland
Get financial aid for your studies in Finland


General situation in terms of scholarships

From 2010 until 2014, Finland had a tuition fee trial period. During this time a number of scholarships were available. They were designed to help students cover the costs of the fees. Tuition fees may be introduced again at some point in the future but at the moment there are no fees. This means the number of scholarships available to students at Finnish institutions is limited.

Type of scholarships and granting institution

The universities themselves are one of the main providers of scholarships to students. The purpose, criteria and level of award varies but typically they are given to help cover part of the cost of living.

Students from Finland can apply for support from the Finnish government through its social security agency Kela. This is for grants and loans rather than scholarships. International students have other options. This includes the Erasmus scholarship scheme for students from the EU. There are also scholarships from the Centre for International Mobility (CIMO). Finnish students seeking to study abroad can also apply for support from this organisation. In Finland CIMO scholarships normally cover basic living expenses.

There are also scholarship programmes aimed at students from particular countries. The Ciência sem Fronteiras scholarship is for Brazilians studying at Finnish universities, while the Fulbright Center supports American students.

Availability and conditions for getting a scholarship

Because there are not many scholarships available, competition to get them is high. The requirements vary depending on the award but often include academic record and personal financial circumstances.

At Bachelor's and Master's degree level, qualifying students can apply for support through Kela, Erasmus programmes and Ciência sem Fronteiras scholarships. Scholarships from the Fulbright Center are only for graduates while the support offered by CIMO is for PhD students. Scholarships available directly from the universities are for both graduate and post-graduate study but this varies depending on the institution, the subject and the award.

Local scholarships for foreign students

Scholarships are awarded to foreign students directly by the universities. CIMO also offers scholarships to international students for PhD studies and research. In order to apply for these scholarships, students must have a place on a course at a university in Finland.

While there are not many scholarships available in Finland, particularly at Bachelor and Master’s degree level, the tuition fee situation counterbalances this. In other countries one of the main purposes of a scholarship is to cover the costs of tuition fees. As students do not have to pay them in Finland there is less need for scholarships. International students do not have to pay tuition fees either.

Typical scholarships in Finland

It is hard to quantify a typical scholarship in Finland as most of the awards come from the universities themselves. This means the level of the award varies. One example that can be given is a CIMO scholarship. It is typically worth between 900€ and 1,500€ a month. They are usually awarded for a period of nine months but it is sometimes shorter depending on the length of the course or research period.