As part of the advocacy related to the upcoming parliamentary elections this spring, the National Union of Students in Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences – SAMOK and the National Union of University Students in Finland (SYL) are calling for an increase of €100 in the monthly student financial aid. Many students currently live below the poverty line, with the monthly amount of student financial aid being only €268.23. In addition, students may be eligible for general housing allowance, the amount of which depends on their municipality and household size.
‘Many students are living below the poverty line, even if they have taken out the full amount of student loan or are working while studying. In addition, the global situation has further affected students financially’, says Lotta Leinonen, President of SYL.
The total amount of student debt in the form of student loans has doubled since 2017, while the purchasing power of the amount of monthly student financial aid has decreased by around €100 over the same period. The relentlessly rising cost of living and interest rates are eating away at students’ finances.
When combined with the general housing allowance, an increase of €100 in the student financial aid would bring the monthly benefits for students living alone to between €683 and €833. This is more or less the same as the rest of basic social security in Finland.
‘An adequate income is essential for being able to study well. Providing adequate financial assistance for students is also an investment in their psychological wellbeing, as they won’t have to worry about making ends meet’, says Joonas Soukkio, President of SAMOK.
There are nearly 300,000 higher education students in Finland – a diverse group of people from different walks of life. For example, 18 per cent of higher education students have children, 20 per cent study part-time and 6 per cent are foreigners. Students are on average very low-income and often suffer from various mental health problems. In general, the social status of higher education students is weaker than the rest of the population. But the future is in the hands of students, and Finland’s future depends on their success.
President, National Union of Students in Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences – SAMOK
tel. +358 50 389 1000
President, National Union of University Students in Finland
tel. +358 44 906 5004
The National Union of Students in Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences – SAMOK is a national student organisation representing 168,000 students in universities of applied sciences. It consists of 23 student unions of universities of applied sciences.
The National Union of University Students in Finland is a student organisation which represents approximately 130,000 university students in Finland. All student unions in Finnish universities are members of SYL.