Partner: The Centre for International Mobility (CIMO)

Finnish higher education attracts international students mainly from Europe and Asia. The top place of origin of international students enrolled in full-degree programmes in 2015 was Russia (11%), followed by Germany (8%), and China (8%). Finnish students study abroad in exchange programmes predominantly in European countries, with top destinations including, United Kingdom, Sweden, and Germany. There were over 30,000 international students in Finland in 2015, 28% of students came to Finland for an Engineering degree. The top five places of origin for students enrolled in full-degree programmes in Finland during 2015 were Russia (11%), Germany (8%), China (8%), Vietnam (6%), and France (5%). Over 18,000 Finnish students studied abroad in 2015.

Source: Centre for International Mobility (CIMO)


Inbound/International Student:
Degree/Qualification student: A student with a foreign nationality pursuing a full-degree from a higher education institution in Finland. This includes foreign students and graduate and post-graduate students.
Study Abroad/Non-award student: An international student in Finnish higher education who is participating in study periods and trainee placements for at least three months. These activities count towards the exchange student's degree at his/her home university (credit mobility).

Foreign Student: Higher education students who do not hold a Finnish citizenship including students who are legal residents of Finland. These students are included in Finland’s data submitted to Project Atlas.

Outbound Student:
Degree/Qualification student: A Finnish individual who receives student financial aid from the government (Social Insurance Institution (SII)) to pursue a full-degree undertaken at a foreign institution.
Study Abroad/Non-award study student: A student who participates in educational activities abroad that count towards his/her degree in Finland (including internships etc.).

Higher Education Institution (HEI): Individual legal entities that provide higher education. The division between Public and Private HEIs is not very relevant in Finland. Universities in Finland develop their own budgets and activities and are responsible for their finances and functions, etc. On the other hand, there is some public steering because a substantial amount of universities’ budgets come from the Ministry of Education (government). Also, universities hold performance negotiations with the Ministry of Education on issues such as number of entrants and fields of study offered.

Data Tables

Data Collection and Resources

The Centre for International Mobility (CIMO) is the primary organization responsible for data collection of international study abroad/non-award credit mobility to and from Finland. Statistics Finland is responsible for reporting inbound international degree/qualification students in Finnish institutions, while the Social Insurance Institution (SII) provides data for Finnish degree students abroad. Data is collected annually at various times of the year, depending on the institution.

Source: Centre for International Mobility (CIMO)