6.5 Cross-border learning mobility
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White Paper No. 16 (2016-2017) “Kultur for kvalitet i høyere utdanning” on quality in higher education defines cross-border learning mobility as a prerequisite for quality in higher education and sets specific goals for cross-border learning mobility: all higher education institutions should have professional environments that participate actively in international cooperation, including exchange programmes, and it is a stated goal that 20 percent of those taking a higher education degree in Norway in 2020 should have been on an exchange. The long-term goal is 50 percent.
Until recently Norway was one of very few countries that offered free education to all international students. At the same time, Norwegian students in the vast majority of cases have to pay tuition fees in other countries. In 2023 the parliament decided that new students from outside the EEA and Switzerland must pay to study in Norway. This requirement will not apply to refugees and exchange students. Changes have been made to the Universities and Colleges Act, which means that state universities and colleges will require tuition fees from students from countries outside the EEA and Switzerland, with certain exceptions. For private universities and colleges that receive state subsidies, these state subsidies can not be used to cover operating costs for education for international students.
The Norwegian Agency for International Cooperation and Quality Enhancement in Higher Education (DIKU) manages a number of international programs and schemes and programs for the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the European Commission, and the Nordic Council of Ministers. Examples of mobility programmes are Nordplus, cooperation in education within the Nordic and Baltic countries, and NORPART - Norwegian Partnership Programme for Global Academic Cooperation, supporting institutional cooperation and mobility in higher education. A full list of programmes and grants can be found on the DIKU website. In addition to programme administration, DIKU is responsible for promoting Norway as a cooperation and study destination, as well as providing information and advisory services within the field of internationalisation in education.
Erasmus+ supports transnational partnerships among Education, Training, and Youth institutions and organisations to foster cooperation. DIKU hosts the national office for Erasmus+ sports, while the Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs (Bufdir) hosts the national office for Erasmus+ Youth in Action.
However, most Norwegian students abroad are full degree students and not related to any organised or formal student exchange programme. Full degree students are eligible, and can receive funding from the The Norwegian State Educational Loan Fund [Lånekassen]. The degree may additionally be funded by other scholarships or other sources of funding. Norwegian students who do an exchange stay abroad as a part of their degree in Norway are also eligible to receive funding from the Norwegian State Educational Loan Fund. The loans and grants from the State Educational Loan Fund are portable. Portable funding means that additional funding is awarded where school tuition surpasses the expenses that the Norwegian student will typically have in their home country.
Norwegian colleges and universities usually have an exchange coordinator/advisor that assists students abroad who do exchange stays as a part of their degree in Norway. The exchange coordinator/advisor is also responsible to promote student mobilisation, and promote active exchange programmes, like the Erasmus+ programme for student mobility in education.
The Association of Norwegian Students Abroad (ANSA) is a student interest and support organization for Norwegian students studying abroad. They offer information and guidance, expat support and network opportunities, and work for the interest and value of education mobility.
Apart from Erasmus+ Youth in Action Norway does not have a top-level measure/initiative/programme to promote mobility in the context of non-formal learning, and of youth work.
In addition to specific quality assurance and annual mechanisms in Erasmus+ for formal and informal learning and other international mobility programmes DIKU publishes a series of report covering data and analysis on cross-border mobility, motives and experienced barriers for mobility, user surveys and reporting on how students themselves experience the quality and benefits of international mobility. A full list of reports can be found on the DIKU website.