Five Finnish universities are working with a start-up company to bring a further 150,000 international students to the country by 2020.
The move comes after Finland’s immigration service revealed that the number of students from outside Europe applying for residence permits to study in the country has fallen by about a quarter since last year, according to a report from Yle Uutiset.
Edunation, an education export company, is developing a mobile phone app that will inform potential students about university applications the day after they submit them.
Just one of the institutions involved, the Lappeenranta University of Technology, has so far been named. Janne Hokkanen, the university’s international affairs manager, said: “The current Finnish application process is extremely complex and clunky, and one of the main challenges is international recruitment.”
LUT hopes to double the number of students enrolling from outside Europe, with a particular focus on students from China and India.
As well as signing up with the Edunation scheme, LUT has taken its own measures to make the application process for international students more accessible. The university has begun accepting certain applications from prospective students almost all year round, with successful applicants hearing back within one month.
“Receiving word of acceptance as soon as possible makes life much easier for students,” Mr Hokkanen said.
In 2016 the Finnish government began charging international students tuition fees. As of late September, 4,300 international students had applied for residence permits to study higher education – a drop of 23 per cent compared with the previous year.