Advocacy goals and political policies

The National Union of University Students in Finland’s (SYL) Policy Paper

The policy paper is the Union’s most important document, based on which our Board and employees carry out their advocacy work. The document defines the university student movement’s political guidelines.

Policy paper (2019)

The policy paper guides the work of the Board and the employees. It is valid until further notice, and it can be amended during the General Assembly through motions from the Board or the member organisations.

The main areas for SYL’s advocacy work have been grouped into three themes: the university, the society and the student.



SYL’s most important values are education, leadership, internationality and equality. These values create a strong foundation for our operations, on which we base both our daily work and decision making and our long-term advocacy work.

SYL is

  • a passionate advocate for education
  • a brave pioneer
  • a promoter of wide-ranging internationality
  • a defender of equality.


The section on society includes our policies on

  • the Finnish welfare state,
  • the safety nets of the welfare state,
  • modern working life and
  • the student’s municipality.

The Finnish welfare state

  • is based on extensive social insurance and publicly funded services.
  • is financed through a fair tax system which steers society into socially, economically and environmentally sustainable production and consumption
  • respects internationality and multiculturalism
  • plays an active part within the European Union.

The safety nets of the welfare state

  • are based on intergenerational fairness.
  • An individual, unconditional and simple basic income which is enough to ensure a dignified life.
  •  A fair and sustainable pension system.

Modern working life

  •  is inspiring, significant and flexible
  •  is based on equal pay.
  •  There are flexible opportunities for combining studies with work.
  •  Universities are actively supporting varied student entrepreneurship
  •  The opportunities for international students to find work in Finland will be improved.

The student’s municipality, a vibrant municipality

  • invests in education and culture.
  •  Students are an important and recognised group of participants in the municipal decision making and in the local community.
  •  Public transport is affordable.
  • The regional reform will also take notice of students as users of regional services.


The section on the university includes our views on

  • the Finnish Bildungsuniversität,
  • the education path and educational equality,
  • student-centered learning and the ability to study, and
  • the higher education system and degrees.

Finnish universities

  • are autonomous, open, international and produces learning.
  • participate in the public debate,
  • are publicly funded.
  • The students and the university staff are represented in university administration.

The education path and educational equity

  • are seen as a whole, from early childhood education all the way through to continuing education.
  • support lifelong learning
  • promote social mobility.Student-centred learning and the ability to study
  •  means that the students have freedom and responsibility for their own studies, as well as the students’ “ability to work”.
  • means investing in the pedagogic competence of teachers and into learning environments.
  • means supporting and guiding students and giving them feedback.

The university system and degrees

  • are made up of universities and universities of applied sciences, with differing statutory duties
  • are of a high quality and recognised internationally.
  • take into account the competence requirements in different areas and the profiles of the universities.
  •  encourage mobility and internationality.
  •  Education in Finland must be tuition free for everyone.


The section on the student explains our policies on

  • a reasonable student income,
  • student meals and meal subsidies,
  • affordable, high-quality student accommodation, and
  • student health care and the FSHS.

A reasonable student income

  • is based on sufficient financial aid, until a basic income system is introduced.
  • includes a personal housing benefit available year round which corresponds to real housing costs.
  • accommodates different life situations and includes a provider supplement
  • can be supplemented with an optional student loan.

Student meals and meal subsidies

  •  offer affordable meals to all students.
  • support public health and sustainable development, and encourage a decrease in eating meat and in food waste.
  • are healthy, affordable, varied and of a high quality.Affordable, high-quality student accommodation
  • The Government supports the construction and renovation of student housing.
  • The rent levels for student housing must remain below market prices.
  • Investments in communal living, more flexible parking norms and planning regulations.
  • International students live in the same buildings and the same areas as Finnish students.

Student health care and the FSHS

  • promote the health and welfare of students and the student community in a comprehensive way.
  • The FSHS provides student health care for first and second cycle degree students of all universities, as well as international exchange students who are members of a student union.
  • The FSHS is part of a publicly funded health care system.
  • The FSHS offers a range of high-quality services, which include general, oral and mental health services.