Higher education programmes offered in English attract more foreign students than earlier

Current issues Higher education Student selection Statistics
The number of applicants to programmes offered in other than Finnish and Swedish has increased during the last few years.
Students having a conversation on a staircase
Foreign applicants to English programmes in higher education, those admitted and those who accepted the study place 2016-2019
Foreign applicants to English programmes in higher education, those admitted and those who accepted the study place 2016-2019

Nearly 25 000 applicants from abroad applied to higher education programmes in English in 2019. This is 17 % more than the year before and 54 % more than in 2016.

This has been positive in the light of the tuition fees for non-EU/EEA students introduced in 2017. In 2017 the number of applicants decreased a little,  but have since grown remarkably.

More and more foreign students apply to universities

More foreign applicants seek admission to universities rather than universities of applied sciences (UASs). Programmes in English at universities attracted 14 500 foreign applicants in 2019 compared to 11 000 to UASs. Both figures can comprise the same applicant as they can apply to both sectors. 

Most foreign applicants to UASs seek admission to the programmes in business, administration and law. These programmes also have the biggest offer in programmes in English. The most popular fields in universities are  business, administration, law, technology, ICT and natural sciences.

One third of foreign applicants are admitted

The number of foreign students admitted has increased. In 2019 32 % of foreign students who applied to higher education were admitted. Some 78 % of these accepted the study place offered. The admission rate is similar to both universities and UASs, 32 % and 31 % respectively. The difference is, however, that more applicants to UASs accept the study place (UAS 87 %, universities 70%).

Most foreign applicants from outside the EU or EEA

Nationals from the EU or EEA accounted for 14 % of the applicants to higher education programmes in English. The number has grown a little more than for the other groups of applicants.

Most applications come from Bangladesh, Nigeria, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Ghana and Vietnam. The number of applicants from these countries have grown notably in the last three years except applicants from Vietnam whose number decreased in 2017.

More EU/EEA nationals apply to universities. In 2019 the proportion of foreign applicants of all applicants to universities was 16 % compared to 12 % to UASs. These applicants are slightly more successful in being admitted. Of all those admitted to universities  22 % were from the EU or EEA. The corresponding figure for UASs was 17 %