Tuition fees at Finnish universities impact prospective non-EU student interest and demand
Eindhoven, NL – Based on an analysis of student online search behaviour and selection patterns, Studyportals, the online global education search platform, noticed a significant drop in the number of users interested in pursuing a study programme in Finland. This change in behaviour is not isolated, however. Rather, it appears to have a clear correlation or connection to the Finnish Parliament’s December 2015 regulation, introducing tuition fees for non-EU students – a policy meant to go into effect in August 2017. Although universities in Finland are still among the most popular choices for students worldwide, this recent downward trend reveals a change in behaviour that required further exploration and analysis.
Studyportals’ model for interpreting data translates student search patterns into the “market demand” for degree programmes; that is, the number of students who show an interest in applying to, enrolling in, or learning about a specific university reflects the potential demand for those programmes. As with every domain of economics, market demand is responsive to changes in availability or changes in perception; universities are no exception.
Previously, in the years leading up to the regulation change, universities in Finland enjoyed a high demand from non-EU student users on Studyportals. The demand was not only remarkable; it, in fact, exceeded the demand from students within the EU, providing Finnish universities profound global marketing opportunity. However, when the Finnish Parliament voted at the end of 2015 to impose tuition fees, non-EU student search behaviour changed dramatically, and the desire to apply for universities in Finland appeared to wane. Now, EU students show a higher demand for Finland universities than non-EU students – a change that departs significantly from previous years but also places Finland alongside other European countries that charge high tuition for non-EU students.
While Studyportals Analytics & Consulting Team (ACT) cannot definitively conclude that the tuition fees are the cause of this change in behaviour, there is still a notable correlation based on the timeline. Moreover, based on other surveys where respondents were asked to reveal their motivations for studying abroad, affordability and cost have shown to be decisive factors in determining most students’ desires to pursue an international education.
From this information, universities can get a better sense of how students behave and respond to changes in economic policy, and how these changes can impact their recruitment and marketing potential. For non-EU students, tuition fee requirements can force them to turn elsewhere for more affordable options. This information can maybe, in turn, encourage policy-makers to rethink their economic policies to better accommodate students’ needs and interests.
The figure ‘Destination Finland’ shows an index number called market opportunity for Finnish Masters. The market opportunity is calculated by dividing the percentage of page views (the relative demand) per country by the percentage of programmes (the relative supply) per country. When the market opportunity is 1.0, the relative supply and relative demand are equal and the market is in balance (displayed by the grey line). However, when the market demand is below 1.0, the relative supply is higher than the relative demand and the market is therefore unfavourable for (new) programmes in that country, compared to other countries. Conversely, when the market demand is higher than 1.0, the relative demand is higher than the relative supply and the market is therefore favourable for (new) programmes in that country, compared to other countries.
Carmen Neghina | Studyportals | +31 655 875 270 | email@example.com
Studyportals is the international study choice platform, enabling students to find and compare their study options across borders. With over 114,000 published courses from over 2,450 participating universities and over 19 million users in 2016, Studyportals is a leading information source for study seekers. Studyportals was founded from an international student organisation in 2009, and initially focused on the European education market. Since 2014 the organisation, headquartered in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, has expanded its services and is now also covering universities in the Americas, Oceania, and Asia. Its 165-person team includes 35 nationalities. For universities, Studyportals is a results-based channel for international student recruitment.
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