Foreign students are being studied themselves

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There’s been a big increase in the number of foreign students applying to Norwegian colleges and universities, which remain tuition-free for both Norwegians and foreigners alike. Researchers are now studying how many foreign graduates actually stay in Norway to work, and whether Norway benefits from offering higher education for free.

Newspaper Aftenposten reported recently that several politicians have said Norwegian companies can benefit from the increase in foreign students, because of the need for more engineers and other workers with higher education from Norwegian schools.

A study from 2006, however, showed that only around 10 percent of students from European countries and 15 percent of students from other countries stayed in Norway to work. Until recently, immigration authorities required foreign students to leave the country after completing their education. Now they can stay to work, also while searching for a job.

Less than 400 actually did receive legal permission to remain in Norway last year, though, while fully 9,000 new foreign students were accepted at Norwegian colleges and universities. That’s up 50 percent since 2010.

Employers’ organization NHO (Næringslivets Hovedorganisasjon) wants clearer policies on foreign students, while questions have arisen over the justification for Norway’s lack of tuition. Researchers from Norway’s Institute for Social Research (Institutt for samfunnsforskning, ISF) are expected to complete their study by June.

Views and News staff