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Photo: Bifröst University website. Bifröst campus in West Iceland.

Bifröst University Does Away with Tuition Fees

Bifröst University will not charge their students tuition fees going forward, Vísir reports. The university’s rector, Margrét Jónsdóttir Njarðvík, said that this will encourage equal access on economic grounds to study, as the university has charged ISK 500,000 [$3,600, €3,300] for its post-graduate programmes.

In February, Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation Áslaug Arna Sigurbjörnsdóttir announced that independent universities will be offered full state funding if they abolish tuition fees. Public universities, in contrast, only charge a lower registration fee. The Iceland University of the Arts announced right away that it would be dropping tuition fees, starting fall semester 2024, while Reykjavík University opted to continue charging their students. These independent universities have received 60 to 80% of the public funding they would’ve received if they were public universities.

Remote learning open to anyone

Margrét said that this decision would mark a sea change for the university, which is located in Norðárdalur valley, some 30 kilometres north of Borgarnes, the closest urban centre. “Students can now, regardless of their economic situation, register to study at Bifröst University and we teach many subjects that are not available in other Icelandic universities,” she said. “Bifröst University has been leading the charge in remote learning and this means that anyone, no matter where they live of what their situation is, whether they are raising children or working as well, can register to study with us without paying tuition fees.”

Pressure to attract new students

Margrét added that in order for this to make sense financially for the university, some 300 new students would need to register this fall. “But we know that university students will make the choice,” she said. “We’re taking a fun chance, because we know that the school will fill up with students.”

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