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Published: 7 May 2020

Current expenditure on education has decreased in real terms since 2010

Current expenditure on education decreased by 1.0 per cent in real terms in 2018 compared to the previous year. Current expenditure per student remained almost the same in 2018 as in the previous year. Current expenditure on education and current expenditure per student have decreased in real terms since 2010. Between 2000 and 2018, 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 – 2018

Real development of current expenditure on education 2000 – 2018

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 has fallen most in real terms over the 2010s.

Current expenditure on education relative to GDP was 5.1 per cent in 2018. The share has been falling starting from 2010.

Current expenditure was converted to correspond to the price level of 2018 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 starting from 2017 are not fully comparable with those for earlier years due to the change in housing supplement included in student financial aid. Current expenditure on education increased in real terms 0.7 per cent in 2018 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 2018

Type of expenditure           EUR million              % 
Pre-primary education 1) 362 3,0
Comprehensive school education 4 847 40,7
Upper secondary general education 728 6,1
Vocational education 1 800 15,1
University of applied sciences education 926 7,8
University education and research 2) 2 261 19,0
Other education 473 4,0
Financial aid for students 510 4,3
Total 11 908 100,0
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 11.9 billion in 2018. Costs of comprehensive school education made up the biggest share of current expenditure on education. EUR 4.8 billion were used on comprehensive school education in 2018. 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 1.8 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 7.5.2020

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Educational finances [e-publication].
ISSN=1799-0963. 2018. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 23.2.2024].
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