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What is the Domino effect?

[denne artikkelen på norsk]


Why tuition fees for international students lead to tuition fees for everyone:

Experiences from other European countries show that an introduction of tuition fees for international students is the first step in the direction of implementing tuition fees for everyone. Every European country which had tuition fees for international students before 2006, has them for everyone today.

How the domino-effect works:

What makes a country go from having fees for international students to having them for everyone? Here are some effects:


There are significant upstart costs related to demanding tution fees. The ministry of Education estimated in 2012 at it will cost 10 million norweigan crowns to demand tuition fees for international students. This is an extremely dear means to collect money. There are around 7,000 students in Norway today who will be affected by the proposal. When the student cohort in total is 240,000 that is not so many. When the payment and billing system is in place, it doesn’t cost particularly much to demand fees from everyone. To take tuition fees from international students is only economically logical if one wishes to eventually extend the rules to take them from everyone at a later time point.

Twisting and changing of opinions at the institutions

Implementing tuition fees for international students ill only lead to a change in attitude at the institutions. Students become a means to earn money.

Tuition fees will come in addition to money from the State. This includes no concrete requirements on what that money should be used for. Likewise it is stated in the proposed budget that 80.5 million norwegian crowns will be cut from the inistitutions which tuition fees should cover. In other words, tuition fees will be introduced to cover a cut. If the political leadership later see that higher education is an expense which should be minimised, Norwegian students (and students from the rest of the EU/EEA and Switzerland) be seen as a source of income to compensate for larger budget cuts.

The debate moves itself

The political debates changes from year to year. Even though Torbjørn Røe Isaksen (Minsiter for education) will promise not to introduce tuition fees for Norwegian students (in this governmental period), that is no way to guarantee that this will not happen in a future perspective. Denmark introduced tuition fees for international students in 2006. Now, many social actors have begun to either speak out, or play with the idea of tuition fees for everyone.

In other countries there are tuition fees for part-time students, students who are delayed in the study progression etc. Tuition fees for these students were introduced after those for international students.

Which group in Norway will be next?