It has been suggested that the price of student lunches should be increased, and there is a risk that students will end up paying for this increase. At its spending limits discussion, we expect the Government to increase the meal subsidy for students in higher education.
The Ministry of Education and Culture has sent out a proposal for comment with changes to the Government decree on meal subsidies for students in higher education. The proposal includes a suggested increase of 0.46 euros to the maximum price of a student meal (for the regular lunch options). If there is no proposal to increase the meal subsidy in line with this price increase, then the increase to the maximum price will come out of the students’ pockets. [link to the proposal]
“We cannot afford to increase the students’ share of meal costs. At the spending limits discussion, we are expecting the Government to increase the meal subsidy for students in higher education in line with the increase to the maximum meal price,” SYL President Tapio Hautamäki says.
Because of students’ low level of social security, it is important not to increase their necessary living costs further. The cost of a student meal has a direct impact on the budget of a low-income student. Food costs make up approximately a quarter of the total expenditure of students in higher education (Source: Eurostudent VI, 2017).
“It is unreasonable to make students’ financial situation even worse by increasing their monthly basic expenses. For many students, the student lunch is the only hot meal of the day, and therefore the most important meal. An affordable and healthy student lunch is an important way to support student life,” states SAMOK’s President Anna Laurila.
There is an urgent need to increase the meal subsidy for students in higher education. In March, we published a joint appeal with the labour market organisations underlining the importance of increasing the maximum price of student meals and the meal subsidy at the same time [link to the comment].
Studying relies on a healthy and varied diet – as well as a sufficient income. Our appeal to the Government parties for the spending limits discussion is this: the meal subsidy for students in higher education must be increased in line with the maximum price of student meals.
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