photo credit: lisamikulski 2013 on Flickr

SIMHE-UniPID supported integration to higher education in Finland

UniPID realized a project titled Supporting Immigrants in Higher Education in Finland (SIMHE) from March 2016 to spring 2017. The project was funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture (MEC). SIMHE acted as a pilot project for MEC`s national initiative to reinforce Finnish higher education institutions (HEIs) as significant stakeholders in migrants' integration. The project co-operated with a simultaneous pilot project of Metropolia University of Applied Sciences.

SIMHE-UniPID provided guidance and counselling for migrant adults living in Finland and interested in beginning higher education studies. The focus in SIMHE guidance was to support counselees' own aspirations to find meaningful education and career paths to proceed with their lives and to integrate. In many cases, and due to increased number of refugees to Europe and Finland in autumn 2015, the counselee was an asylum seeker looking for opportunities to continue his or her interrupted academic studies and to adjust to a new country.

In practice, the project provided adult migrants information of the studies and projects offered by the Finnish HEIs. Usually, the ways of applying to and continuing studies within universities or universities of applied sciences was discussed with the counselees.

SIMHE-UniPID also offered consultation with recognizing the studies and know-how learnt previously. This consultation was aimed at improving the allocation of the incoming RPL applications received by the HEIs. However, the final RPL decisions are made by the HEIs themselves, or, in the case of so called licensed fields, by the mandated authorities.

Guidance services were provided both online and at the Jyväskylä SIMHE-desk. Number of counselees who received personal guidance was 130 altogether whereas the study infos for larger groups gathered some 200 migrant participants. UniPID-network member universities had also an opportunity to apply for small-scale funding to organise Virtual Studies, especially courses facing the needs of the migrant students. Three courses were admitted funding. These Virtual Studies have been marketed and opened for registrations in UniPID course catalogue until autumn 2017.

SIMHE-UniPID also facilitated the dialogue between migration related research and good practicies by participating in international and nation-wide seminars, workshops and scientific conferences. The project also organised a multidisciplinary seminar targeted to university sector experts, researchers and prospective students in Jyväskylä. The knowledge and practices accumulated and disseminated can be utilized when planning and developing supportive activities within HEI's or other organisations.

To wrap up the project results and encourage further discussion, cooperation and improvements within HEI's, SIMHE-UniPID also produced two publications:


Open the doors! Migrants in Higher Education: Fostering Cooperation at Universities Seminar 13.-14.-12.2016 in Jyväskylä

Enemmän kuin pelkkä projekti. Supporting Immigrants in Higher Education in Finland. SIMHE-UniPID -pilottihankkeen yhteenveto


Implemented in cooperation between HEI's, SIMHE reinforces the role of the Finnish universities and universities of applied sciences in supporting the integration of migrant academics and those eligible to higher education. SIMHE HEI's in responsible for developing good pratices, providing guidance and counselling and streamlining access to higher education are functioning at national and regional domains.

In 2017 SIMHE network covers six HEI's implementing the work by strategic funding. SIMHE HEI's in responsible are University of Jyväskylä, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, University of Turku, University of Helsinki, Oulu University of Applied Sciences and Karelia University of Applied Sciences.  

In the University of Jyväskylä, SIMHE guidance and counselling services transferred from UniPID to Admission and Student Services in March 2017.

Contact and more information:

Planning officer Marita Häkkinen,, p. +358 (0)40 805 4913

Appointments to personal guidance discussions are kindly requested by sending email to:


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