The quota scheme to be discontinued

It has now been decided that the quota scheme will be phased out. A new 
inter-institutional cooperation programme will partly replace the scheme.

After a thorough evaluation of the quota scheme, the Norwegian parliament, the Storting, has decided that the scheme will be phased out from the 2016/17 academic year. This means that no new students will be accepted under the scheme, but students who are already taking an education under the scheme will be allowed to complete it with support from the Norwegian State Educational Loan Fund (Lånekassen).

Fresh thinking needed

‘The quota scheme has helped many students from developing countries to get a solid education in Norway, and many academic communities in Norway have benefited from their efforts. The scheme also has some weaknesses, however. We therefore need to apply some fresh thinking and spend the funds allocated to the quota scheme in a more purposeful way,’ said State Secretary Bjørn Haugstad at an SIU seminar just before Christmas.

A key objective of the new programme will be to improve the quality and internationalisation of higher education through academic partnerships, and thereby contribute to competence-raising in developing countries.

No individual grants

Haugstad emphasised that student mobility will be a key factor in the new programme also. This will primarily be achieved through student exchanges, in the form of periods of study abroad for one or two semesters. The goal is to get at least as many students to come to Norway through the partnership programme as through the quota scheme. A major difference is that students cannot apply for grants directly from the scheme.

SIU is planning to announce a call for applications in 2016 for project grants in the amount of NOK 90 million for five-year projects from 2017. A new call for applications may be announced after about three years.

‘The partnership programme will be based on mutual cooperation, with the emphasis on academic quality,’ underlined State Secretary Haugstad.