Press release

Education exports are economically significant in Finland – the growing sector is already worth nearly EUR 1 billion

Current issues Higher education Internationalisation Education exports
According to a review of the value of education exports, the value of education exports will keep growing in the next few years as well.
The lobby of the Kaisa library of the University of Helsinki

The objective of the Education Finland programme, which operates within the Finnish National Agency for Education and boosts Finnish education exports, is to increase the value of education exports to EUR 1 billion by 2030. According to a recent review commissioned by the programme, the target will be achieved way faster than anticipated: according to an estimate by the Labour Institute for Economic Research LABORE, the total value of the education export sector in the Finnish economy was already nearly EUR 1 billion, or a little less than half a per cent of Finland's GDP in 2019. Education exports refer to service exports related to education, training and competence, such as selling education solutions abroad and training foreign degree students in Finland, as well as goods exports, such as the export of physical learning materials or environments abroad.

The study commissioned from Labore assessed the amount of turnover and added value in education exports in different sectors and the economic benefits and costs to the Finnish economy by foreign degree students studying in Finland. For the time being, the results of the review are indicative. However, based on them, it can be said that education exports are economically significant operations that will grow in value in the coming years as well. 

In Finland, information related to the value of education exports has so far been scattered. The review to be published summarises the information needed to determine the economic value of the sector, including Statistics Finland's statistics. The review also proposes for the first time how the value of education exports could be calculated in the future.

–In Finnish education and training, we have promoted knowledge-based decision-making for a long time. However, so far there is little research on the economics of education and training. The report to be published also adds to the knowledge base for assessing the significance of education exports,says Minna Kelhä, Director General of the Finnish National Agency for Education.

Everyone benefits from education exports

Four fifths of the added value generated by education exports results from the training of foreign degree students in Finland, which creates significant added value through the students’ consumption and, in particular, the work input of graduates. A significant share of the remaining fifth comes from exports related to education in the publishing sector. 

According to the review, in school year 2019–2020, foreign degree students from higher education institutions had a positive effect worth EUR 81 million on the Finnish economy. The calculations take into account both the resources used for the education of students during the school year in question and the net tuition fees received from them. Indirect income transfer impacts through the students’ consumption and work have also been taken into consideration, as have the income earned by foreigners who graduated between 2000 and 2019.

- Finnish education has an excellent international reputation, and there is a great deal of demand for our competence. These operations called competence exports do not hurt anyone. On the contrary, they benefit everyone involved, says Tuomo Puumala, State Secretary of the Ministry of Education and Culture, and adds that he also hopes that the next government will take full account of the opportunities offered by education exports and make more extensive use of the opportunities offered by them.

Further information

The task of the Education Finland programme operating in the Finnish National Agency for Education is to accelerate Finnish education exports, promote networking within the sector and the availability of high quality education solutions globally. The programme includes 125 leading education export companies and training organisations in Finland.

Jouni Kangasniemi 
Programme Director, Education Finland, Finnish National Agency for Education
+358 405 179 222
jouni.kangasniemi [at] 

Tuomo Suhonen
Research Director, Labour Institute for Economic Research LABORE
+358 40 940 2916
tuomo.suhonen [at]