The Norwegian government implemented a new tuition fee for all students from outside of EU or EEA countries beginning in the fall of 2023, and this change sparked a huge controversy and a lot of debate when it was announced.
Many people believed it to be only a matter of time before the government would regret their decision due to the huge amount of backlash, but it seem like most Norwegians actually agree with the government.
A huge survey found that 57 % of all Norwegians agree that non-EU/EEA citizens should pay tuition fee if they want to get a degree at a Norwegian university, and only 27 % oppose the fee!
The rest are unsure or don’t have an opinion on the matter.
It’s becoming very clear that the student fee opposition is a minority, and has less than expected backing from the general public.
The survey was done by Opinion on behalf of the University of Bergen. They included 2,014 participants, and the survey has a margin of error of up to 2.2 %.
80 % fewer non-EU/EEA students
The implementation of the tuition fees in Norway had a huge impact on the universities, with an overall reduction of 80 % fewer foreign (non-EU/EEA) students starting a degree at a Norwegian university in 2023 compared to 2023.
Most students and people who work at universities or in academia seem to be in agreement that the new tuition fees are a terrible change that reduces the diversity of the universities, but it really seem like the general public does not agree with them.
Why most Norwegians oppose free education for non-EU/EEA students
While many international students (and coming students) feel that it’s deeply unfair that Norway no longer offer free university degrees to everyone independently of their nationality, the Norwegians who agree with the tuition fee often have a good reason to do so.
The most common reason for agreeing to the tuition fee for non-EU/EEA students is that “why should foreign students get free education in Norway, when Norwegians need to pay to get education in their country?“.
So many Norwegians feel it unfair that foreigners get to benefit from the Norwegian society without offering something in return.
The future for the Norwegian tuition fees?
No one knows what the future for the tuition fees look like, but many groups are actively working towards swaying political opinions towards removing the tuition fee again.
Despite this, it does not currently seem like any of the major political parties have any immediate plans to address the issue, so it seem likely that the tuition fee will be in place at least for the short-term future.
Nicklas is the owner and editor of The Norway Guide, and is responsible for most of the content on the website.
He lives in Skien, Norway with his wife and two children. Nicklas is specialized in Norwegian ecology (including Norway’s geology, wildlife and flora) from his degree in Ecology And Nature Management at University of South-Eastern Norway, but has a particular interest in tourism and content creation.
His biggest hobbies are fishkeeping, going on hikes with his dog, and rooting for the local football team.