Finland

There are two types of universities in Finland, foundation universities and public universities. The two foundation universities are Aalto and Tampere University of Technology, out of a total of 15 universities in Finland. There are statutory differences between the public universities and foundation universities. This profile considers primarily the framework applying to public universities. Several university mergers have been implemented since 2010, leading to the creation of the University of Aalto, the University of Eastern Finland and the University of the Arts.

Recent developments:

  • New timeframe for university funding projections and targets in line with Government planning period
  • Introduction of tuition fees for international students on Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes taught in English from January 2016
  • Changes to ownership of university buildings underway with a move to greater university control of their buildings
  • Cuts in public funding and subsequent university job losses

Organisational autonomy: high

The selection of the executive head is an internal matter of the university, as is its dismissal. The law nevertheless prescribes that the candidate must hold a doctorate and that their term of office is five years at most. Universities must have external members on their board/council but they control their appointment.

Financial autonomy: medium high

Restrictions concern ownership of buildings, which is done through specific companies. Universities may borrow money and keep surpluses. They cannot charge tuition fees for national/EU students but are now free to set tuition fee levels for non-EU students enrolled in English-taught programmes above a minimum level set by the government.

Academic autonomy: high

Student numbers are negotiated with an external authority. Universities may freely introduce programmes but only within the scope of their ‘educational responsibilities’, i.e. determined study fields. The termination of programmes must be agreed with an external authority. Universities may freely develop programmes in languages other than the national ones and are responsible for reviewing the quality of their activities.

Staffing autonomy: high

Universities can decide on recruitment, promotions and dismissals of senior academic and administrative staff. The only restriction concerns salaries, which are negotiated with other parties.

Organisational weighted 93% unweighted 91%

100

100% Selection procedure for the executive head

The selection of the executive head is not validated by an external authority

75

75% Selection criteria for the executive head

The law states that the executive head must hold a doctoral degree

This applies to one other country: Lithuania

100

100% Dismissal of the executive head

The procedure for the dismissal of the executive head is not stated in the law

60

60% Term of office of the executive head

The maximum or range of length is stated in the law

This applies to 2 other countries: Hungary, Latvia

100

100% External members in university governing bodies

Universities cannot decide as they must include external members

Universities can freely decide on external members

This applies to 6 other countries: Denmark, Estonia, Italy, Lithuania, Portugal, United Kingdom

100

100% Capacity to decide on academic structures

Universities can decide on their academic structures without constraints

100

100% Capacity to create legal entities

Universities can create legal entities without constraints

Financial weighted 67% unweighted 51%

60

60% Length of public funding cycle

100

100% Type of public funding

Block grant and there are no restrictions on the allocation of funding

100

100% Ability to borrow money

Universities can borrow money without restrictions

This applies to 7 other countries: Austria, Denmark, Estonia, Flanders, Wallonia, Latvia, The Netherlands

100

100% Ability to keep surplus

Surplus can be kept without restrictions

80

80% Ability to own buildings

Universities can sell their buildings with other types of restrictions

This applies to 4 other countries: Flanders, Ireland, Latvia, Poland

0

0% Tuition fees for national/EU students at Bachelor level

There are no tuition fees

0

0% Tuition fees for national/EU students at Master's level

There are no tuition fees

0

0% Tuition fees for national/EU students at doctoral level

There are no tuition fees

60

60% Tuition fees for non-EU students at Bachelor level

Universities and an external authority cooperate in setting the level of tuition fees

This applies to 4 other countries: Denmark, Poland, Slovenia, Switzerland

60

60% Tuition fees for non-EU students at Master's level

Universities and an external authority cooperate in setting the level of tuition fees

This applies to 4 other countries: Denmark, Poland, Slovenia, Switzerland

0

0% Tuition fees for non-EU students at doctoral level

There are no tuition fees

This applies to 6 other countries: Brandenburg, Denmark, Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia, Norway, Sweden

Staffing weighted 92% unweighted 92%

100

100% Recruitment procedures for senior academic staff

Recruitments are carried out freely by universities

100

100% Recruitment procedures for senior administrative staff

Recruitments are carried out freely by universities

67

67% Salaries for senior academic staff

Salary bands are negotiated with other parties

This applies to 5 other countries: Denmark, Iceland, The Netherlands, Norway, United Kingdom

67

67% Salaries for senior administrative staff

Salary bands are negotiated with other parties

This applies to 6 other countries: Brandenburg, Hesse, Iceland, The Netherlands, North Rhine-Westphalia, Norway

100

100% Dismissal of senior academic staff

There are no sector-specific regulations concerning dismissals (national labour regulations apply)

This applies to 8 other countries: Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom

100

100% Dismissal of senior administrative staff

There are no sector-specific regulations concerning dismissals (national labour regulations apply)

100

100% Promotion procedures for senior academic staff

Universities can freely decide on promotion procedures

100

100% Promotion procedures for senior administrative staff

Universities can freely decide on promotion procedures

Academic weighted 90% unweighted 88%

60

60% Overall student numbers

Universities negotiate with an external authority

100

100% Admissions procedures at Bachelor level

Admission criteria are set by the university

This applies to 8 other countries: Estonia, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Slovakia, United Kingdom

100

100% Admissions procedures at Master's level

Admission criteria are set by the university

80

80% Introduction of programmes at Bachelor level

Other restrictions

This applies to 9 other countries: Austria, Brandenburg, Denmark, Estonia, Flanders, Hesse, Iceland, Latvia, Sweden

80

80% Introduction of programmes at Master's level

Other restrictions

This applies to 9 other countries: Austria, Brandenburg, Denmark, Estonia, Flanders, Hesse, Iceland, Latvia, Sweden

80

80% Introduction of programmes at doctoral level

Other restrictions

This applies to 7 other countries: Austria, Estonia, Flanders, Iceland, Latvia, Poland, Sweden

60

60% Termination of degree programmes

The termination of degree programmes requires negotiation between universities and an external authority

This applies to 2 other countries: Austria, Brandenburg,

100

100% Language of instruction at Bachelor level

Universities can choose the language of instruction for all programmes

100

100% Language of instruction at Master's level

Universities can choose the language of instruction for all programmes

100

100% Selection of quality assurance mechanisms

Universities cannot select quality assurance mechanisms

100

100% Selection of quality assurance providers

Universities can choose the quality assurance agency freely according to their needs (including agencies from other countries)

This applies to 7 other countries: Austria, Brandenburg, Estonia, Hesse, Hungary, North Rhine-Westphalia, Switzerland

100

100% Capacity to design content of degree programmes

Universities can freely design the content of degree programmes and courses (other than for the regulated professions)