Oh fuck, not again – SYL rejects returning students to receiving the housing supplement

The National Union of University Students in Finland (SYL) is dismayed by the government’s decision to remove the right to a general housing allowance from students. In the Government session on spending limits, it was decided that students will be returned from the general housing allowance back to receiving a housing supplement as part of student financial aid. This could mean a cut of up to thousands of euros a year in the allowance a student receives.

SYL sees the government as watering down its own goals of balancing the economy if it continues to undermine access to education. SYL points out that higher education is an investment in the sustainable growth of the state.

“The government is pulling the rug out from under itself. While it decided on a number of growth measures, a strong investment in higher education would be a recipe for real sustainable growth. Cutting further from students is the exact opposite,” says Akseli Tiitta, chairperson of SYL.

The government has estimated that it will save €57 million a year by returning students to receiving the housing supplement as part of student financial aid. This inevitably means a big cut in students’ subsistence.

“With this decision, the government is taking society back seven years. Separating students from other social security measures and other groups of people is peculiar. Students are as much a part of society as anyone else,” says Tiitta.

In its decision, the government announced that the amount of the housing supplement as part of the student financial aid for students will be €260 per month. For a student living in Helsinki, for example, this would mean a cut of more than €130 in housing allowance per month. Compared to the level of housing allowance before the cuts already made by the government, the change means a total cut of more than €200 per month. If the housing supplement continues to be linked to academic performance, many students will be left without a housing allowance in the summer and will end up living on subsistence. SYL considers this likely, given the government’s saving target of more than €50 million. This would mean a maximum cut of €2,389.20 per year in the student housing allowance compared to the level after the cuts in the housing allowance.

“Yes, this is serious. The government is right that everyone should be involved in the savings. However, students have already done their part,” Tiitta concludes.

Further information:

Akseli Tiitta
044 906 5004

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