Education is free at all levels
In Finland, education is free at all levels for pupils and students. There are no tuition fees from pre-primary until higher education. Adult education is the only form of education that may have fees in some cases.
In pre-primary and basic education, the textbooks, school lunch, health and welfare services and transport for students living further away from the school are free for pupils.
At upper secondary level, the students need to buy their learning materials. Students get free meals every day. Also, health and welfare services are free for students. In addition, transport costs are subsidised by the state.
In higher education, the students need to buy their learning materials or use public library services. Students’ meals, health and welfare services are subsidised by the state.
Share of private funding
In Finland, education is publicly funded at all levels. On the official education system, private funding only accounts for 2.6 per cent of all expenditure in general.
In the case of pre-primary, basic and general upper secondary education the share of private funding is only 1 per cent.
In upper secondary vocational education and training as well as higher education the proportion of private funding is 4 per cent.
Expenditures in 2017
The expenditure on educational institutions as a percentage of GDP was 5.3 in 2017. The total expenditure on education was 11.8 billion euros in 2017 which was on 3% less than the year before. The share of total public expenditure devoted to education was 10.5%.
Costs of compulsory basic education made up the biggest share of current expenditure on education. Total 4.7 billion euros, nearly 40%, was spent on basic education. This is because the whole age group from 7 to 15 takes part in this level of education.
The econd biggest share included university education and research, on which 2.3 billion euros or 19% were spent.
The next biggest share was devoted to vocational education, on which 1.6 billion euros or almost 14% were spent in 2017.
In 2017 the shares devoted to different educational levels was quite stabile compared to 2000. The change in financial aid for students is due to the reform in the share housing allowance.
Share of expenditure by type of education in 2000 and 2017
Type of expenditure
General upper secondary education
University of applied sciences education
University education and research
Financial aid for students
Source: Statistics Finland https://www.stat.fi/til/kotal/2017/kotal_2017_2019-05-09_tie_001_en.html