University of Applied Sciences Students in Finland SAMOK and the National Union of University Students in Finland (SYL) demand that the Government ensures the livelihood of students with children in the Government mid-term policy review. Together with Väestöliitto, the Family Federation of Finland, the student unions propose that the Government reinstates the provider supplement for the study grant.
One in six higher education students has one or more children. Starting a family and having children while studying is a financial burden that makes it difficult for student families to manage without discontinuing their studies.
“The student financial aid on its own is not enough to cover the expenses of students with children. A shocking 60% of these families already live below the poverty line. Worst off are single parent student households,” says SYL President Riina Lumme.
The provider supplement for student financial aid was discontinued in 1992. Student financial aid differs from other benefits in that it is the only one not affected by whether one has guardianship of children nor by the number of children.
“Finland is the only Nordic country where the student financial aid does not consider whether one has children. Considering the demographic of Finland’s population, we can see that we must improve the situation,” comments SAMOK President Anni Koivisto.
In August, students will be transferred to the general housing benefit as a result of the changes to the Student Financial Aid Act. Until now, only student families on student financial aid have been eligible for the general housing benefit. Earlier, the study grant has not been considered income when calculating the housing benefit, but also this will change. The change will therefore further cut the support for student families on housing benefit. This will lead to a dramatic change, since there will also be substantial cuts in the study grant.
“Studies show that the benefits of students with children may decline by as much as 1,000 euros per year. By bringing back the provider supplement, the Government can ensure that these students can continue their studies on student financial aid,” the student union presidents underline.
Anni Koivisto, SAMOKin President, firstname.lastname@example.org, tel. +358 50 389 1000
Riina Lumme, SYL President, email@example.com, tel. +358 44 906 5007