About the Quota Scheme icon

About the Quota Scheme

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About the Quota Scheme

The Norwegian government provides scholarships for students from developing countries and countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia under the Quota Scheme. The objective of the Quota Scheme is to promote the internationalisation of higher education. Today, the Scheme gives funding to a total of 1100 students, 800 of them from the developing countries and the remainder from Central and Eastern Europe. Each year universities and university colleges in Norway are allocated a certain number of quota students. Most of the universities and university colleges in Norway offer courses and educational programmes in English. The Scheme normally includes courses at Master and PhD level, in addition to certain professional degrees. To find out which educational institutions and what types of education the programmes apply to, please contact the institutions directly.

The Norwegian State Educational Loan Fund (Statens Lånekasse) is responsible for managing the financial support provided for the Quota students. Each student receives the same amount of money as a Norwegian student would do in an equivalent educational programme. About 30% of the amount is given as a grant and 70% as a loan but is waived when the student leaves the country after completing the course of study. Normally, the financial support should not exceed a time span of 4 years for one definite plan, or a combination of two programmes.

Travelling expenses for entry into Norway can be reimbursed (fixed price). Students can apply for one annual home visit if the educational programme lasts more than one year, as well as financial support for travelling expenses for field work during the course of study. When the student returns home within 3 months after finishing the course, the cost of travelling home is covered by the Norwegian State Educational Loan Fund.

More information is also available at


^ Application procedures

If you are interested in applying for a course/programme under the Quota Scheme, please read carefully the information on this page.

The aim of the Quota Scheme is to promote international cooperation between the Norwegian higher educational institutions and the institutions in developing countries, Eastern European countries and countries in Central Asia, as well as to provide aid to these regions.

We wish to advise that the Quota Scheme only enrols students from institutions which have collaboration agreements with Norwegian universities. Norwegian institutions usually do not admit “free movers” (individual applicants) to this scheme. Only in very special cases can “free movers” be considered. Please contact the institutions for more detailed information.

To find out which institutions collaborate with Norwegian institutions, please refer to the webpage of the Norwegian institutions.

^ Students who come to Norway as self-financed students will, as a rule, not be considered as being qualified for the Quota Scheme.

SIU is not the handling/issuing body of quota places for students. The institutions of higher education that are part of the Quota Scheme are handling all applications from prospective students, and at no time is SIU involved in the selection process. Thus, SIU cannot answer individual questions from students regarding applications or courses.

Applications forms are available on the websites of the universities and university colleges. The deadline for applying for the Quota scheme is usually 1st. December every year. Some courses and educational programmes may have other deadlines than the this. Please contact the International Office at the university/college to which you want to apply.

All applications should be sent directly to the International Office at the university/college to which the student applies. The Letter of Admission is normally sent to the candidate by 15 April. The students will also receive relevant practical information about studying in Norway.

^ Who is eligible?

The Quota Scheme is available for nationals over the age of 18 from certain developing countries, and countries in Central- and Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

[for a complete list of countries that are eligible under the Quota Scheme, please go here]

Where to study and what to study?

The Norwegian higher education sector consists of six universities, six specialised university institutions, 25 university colleges, two national academies of the arts, and 29 private higher education institutions. A list of all the institutions can be found at:


Most of the universities and colleges have an English version of their website, where applicants can find more detailed information about the educational programmes offered in the Quota Scheme. Students usually apply for a degree course which is based on continuation of their studies in their home country, or a course which can be a joint part of a degree course in their home country (Joint degree or “sandwich programmes”). Most of the programmes are at Master or PhD level, but the Quota Scheme also offers certain professional studies.

^ The basic requirements:

Students must apply directly from their home country and must have stayed at least one year in their home country directly prior to the planned course of study at the Norwegian university/university college. All candidates should usually have secondary school certificates plus one year / two years of higher education from their home country with some exceptions for certain professional educational courses. For more detailed requirements for each programme please contact the international office at the respective universities/university colleges.

All enquiries should be forwarded to the Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education (NOKUT), which is the Norwegian governmental organisation for recognition of foreign higher education. See: http://www.nokut.no/

^ English language requirement:s

English is used as the main teaching language in most of the universities and university colleges offering educational programmes and degrees under the Quota Scheme. Applicants who are not native English speakers must be able to document their proficiency in English. Applicants must either pass the TOEFL test (Test of English as a Foreign Language) with a minimum score of 500/ 550, or 170 (computer-based), or IELTS (International English Language Testing System) with a minimum score of 5.0/6.0 (the requirements may differ from university to university).

More information about the English language tests is available at:



Norwegian language requirements

Good Norwegian language skills are required to attend regular courses. The minimum requirement is one the following:

• Bergenstest, Norwegian language test, minimum score 450. More information is available at:



• Norwegian language course Level 3 offered by the universities and some university colleges, with E as a minimum.

• Norwegian in the secondary school (The Teaching Plan for Norwegian as a second Language) written and oral, with a minimum score of 2.

Competition to get into the Quota Scheme is often hard and there is no guarantee of enrolment in the educational programme if the applicant only meets the minimum requirements. Some programmes require higher marks. Please refer to the International Office at each university/university college for more detailed information about admission requirements.

Today, most of the universities and university colleges in Norway collaborate with a number of foreign educational institutions abroad. As a rule, the Quota Scheme mainly enrols applicants from the collaborating institutions which co-operate with Norwegian institutions. In other words, students from these institutions which have collaboration agreements with Norwegian universities and colleges have prioritised admission to the Scheme. Please refer to each university and university college for further information.

Individual applicants (so-called “free-movers”) could be given special consideration if certain conditions apply. Further details are available on application.

^ Please note the following changes from the information letter from the Ministry of Education and Research in 2001 (F-41-01):

1 The new EU member countries Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovak Republic, Czech Republic and Hungary are not a part of the Quota Programme as of the fall semester of 2004. Students from these countries who are already in a study programme are eligible to finish their education under the same conditions as when they were accepted into the programme.

2 ^ Certain changes are made concerning country names.

3 The previous list of Palestinian institutions has been cancelled. The institutions can recruit Palestinian students from the Palestinian Authorities.

Travelling to Norway and procedures on arrival

The letter of acceptance is sent to the student from the universities/colleges by April/May. Students who are enrolled should contact the Norwegian Embassy as soon as possible to apply for a student resident permit. Students should arrive in Norway before the educational programme starts and are expected to attend the information meeting.

Practical information for foreign students is available on the websites of the universities /colleges.

Most of the universities in Norway and “study-norway.net” both have abundant information about procedures on arrival.

After their arrival, all students will be allocated a “social security number” (personal identity number) for residence over 6 months. Some universities, such as the University of Oslo, have a “Buddy system” for international students to help them get off to a good start at the university.

To learn more about Norwegian history, society and culture, please see:



^ Reimbursement of the educational loan

As a rule, the student will usually receive financial support for a period of 4 years for one study programme or for a combination of two study programmes, for instance, one year for a master degree and three years for a PhD degree. Institutions usually do not enrol quota students for professional studies lasting more than 4 years, such as dentists or doctors.

Exceptions to this rule are as follows:

• The quota student may receive support for a maximum of 5 years when the student has attended a one-year Norwegian course before the study programme starts

• The quota student may receive support for a maximum of 5 years when one-year field work is part of the study programme

^ Reimbursement of the educational loan

One of the main objectives of the Quota Scheme is that students should return home after completing the course of study. The loan will then be waived when the student leaves Norway and returns to his/her home country. If the student remains in Norway or resides in a country other than Norway that is not the home country, the loan must be repaid in the same way as Norwegian students are required to do. This also applies to students who return to Norway within 10 years after the loan had been waived. If there are certain circumstances in the student’s home country which prevent the student from returning to his/her home country, such as war, the loan is written off as a general rule.

The student should apply to have the total amount of the educational loan waived when he/she has returned to his/her home country and has resided there for at least one year. A prerequisite for waiving of the loan is that the student’s residence upon return is for a continuous period of 12 months. Only when this requirement is met can the application be given consideration.


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