As many as 92.8 per cent of students enrolled in bachelor's degree programmes at the University of Helsinki last year were from the Uusimaa region. A vast majority of students at Finnish universities and universities of applied sciences are reluctant to move far from their home towns, suggests a review of the places of domicile of students who started their higher education studies last year.

Anna Loukkola of Statistics Finland is surprised by the figures. “The phenomenon is observable even if you examine the figures from different years or only include undergraduate students,” she points out.

The figures also incorporate students in master's degree programmes, most of whom have completed their undergraduate degrees in the same municipality.

In particular, residents of the Uusimaa region appear to be reluctant to move elsewhere for higher education studies. For example, as many as 92.8 per cent of students enrolled in bachelor's degree programmes at the University of Helsinki in 2013 were from the Uusimaa region.

To an extent, the phenomenon can be attributed to the fact that today there is a higher education institution or at least a branch campus in every region of Finland, estimates Hannu Kytö, a senior researcher at the National Consumer Research Centre.

“You usually apply to a higher education institution near you if it offers suitable study programmes,” he says.

In general, prospective students are only willing to look beyond the borders of their home region if no suitable study programmes are available nearby. “Students naturally also want to make sure that [...] the train ride home is tolerable,” Kytö adds.

In the Uusimaa region, the abundance of available study programmes may explain why proportionally so few locals decide to move elsewhere to study. “The University of Helsinki offers by far the most tracks when compared to universities in the neighbouring regions. Its faculties are certain to offer something for everyone. Furthermore, it's the most prestigious university in Finland,” highlights Kytö.

Elsewhere in the country, notably fewer students decide to remain in their home region: last year, 75.7 per cent of students at the Tampere University of Applied Sciences had lived in Pirkanmaa and only 60.6 per cent of new students at the University of Jyväskylä in Central Finland before starting their studies. 

Jarkko Hakala, Virve Rissanen – HS
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Roni Rekomaa / Lehtikuva