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Published: 9 May 2019

Current expenditure on education has decreased in real terms since 2010

Current expenditure on education decreased by 2.3 per cent in real terms in 2017 compared to the previous year. Current expenditure on education and current expenditure per student have decreased in real terms since 2010. Between 2000 and 2017, total current expenditure on education and current expenditure per student were in real terms highest in 2010.

Real development of current expenditure on education 2000 – 2017

Real development of current expenditure on education 2000 – 2017

There are differences in the expenditure development of various sectors of education. Expenditure on pre-primary and comprehensive school education have grown in real terms compared to 2010. Expenditure on other sectors of education has decreased. Expenditure on vocational education and apprenticeship training has fallen most in real terms over the 2010s.

Current expenditure on education relative to GDP was 5.3 per cent in 2017. The share has been falling starting from 2010.

Current expenditure was converted to correspond to the price level of 2017 by means of the industry-specific price index of national accounts describing public education expenditure. Real change means that the effect of price changes has been taken into account. The data for 2017 are not fully comparable with those for earlier years due to the change in housing supplement included in student financial aid. The decrease in real terms was 1.1 per cent in 2017 compared to the previous year, if financial aid for students is not taken into account.

Current expenditure on regular education system by type of expenditure 2017

Type of expenditure           EUR million              % 
Pre-primary education 1) 356 3,0
Comprehensive school education 4 683 39,6
Upper secondary general education 720 6,1
Vocational education 1 614 13,6
Apprenticeship training 139 1,2
University of applied sciences education 909 7,7
University education and research 2) 2 253 19,0
Other education 465 3,9
Financial aid for students 697 5,9
Total 11 837 100,0
1) Pre-primary education for 6-year-old children (pre-school education) in daycare centres and comprehensive schools.
2) Includes universities' external financing for research.

Current expenditure on education totalled EUR 11.8 billion in 2017. Costs of comprehensive school education made up the biggest share of current expenditure on education. EUR 4.7 billion were used on comprehensive school education in 2017. The shares were next biggest in university education and research, on which EUR 2.3 billion were spent and in vocational education, on which EUR 1.6 were used.

Source: Education. Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Mika Tuononen 029 551 3504, Vesa Hämäläinen 029 551 2594,

Director in charge: Jari Tarkoma

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Updated 9.5.2019

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Educational finances [e-publication].
ISSN=1799-0963. 2017. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 1.12.2023].
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