During the last year, a looming shadow has hovered over the future of international students in Norway; a piece of legislation that would require them to pay tuition fees to study here. However, it was just announced on Tuesday that this push from the government has been cancelled, or rather, that KrF and Venstre blocked the bill in negotiations. Chief among the reasons was the view of these two parties that Norwegian education should remain free for all.

«…a role model to other governments of the world that education is a right, not a privilege.»

“They see, and I can somewhat agree, that an important part of Norwegian higher education is that it’s free. We, as a smaller nation, need to attract students from all over the world, both to build strong universities and to make sure we have people coming from Asia and America, to teach us something and be part of Norwegian society. We don’t ask for fees from European students, so we shouldn’t take them from others either,” explains Henrik Asheim, parliamentary representative for Høyre.

The original reasoning behind the proposal was based on a sense of unfairness in the gap between how easy and inexpensive it is for international students outside Europe to study here compared with how costly it can be for Norwegians to study abroad. But Norway is known and celebrated around the world for its equality and freedom in tertiary educational opportunity; a role model to other governments of the world that education is a right, not a privilege.

Buried for Good

With a statement of assurance from Høyre that they had no further plans to pursue changing the way international students were able to study in Norway, we can rest easy that this proposition appears buried for good. The future looks hopeful for Norwegian students as well, with 2015 promising larger payments in student loans, lower student to teacher ratios, as well as a big increase in the funding for research and higher education.
Asheim is positive about the government’s view on education going forward, “We have a goal that Norway is going to have the highest ranking university within the Nordic countries and we want more students to come to us not only because it’s cheap but because it’s a good education.”

This is a fantastic victory for students, both international and Norwegian, as the ongoing cooperation with universities around the world is part of what helps growth in educational institutions.