SYL’s message for the Government session on spending limits: things have gone beyond reasonable

The Finnish Government will convene next week to discuss public spending limits. The media has been discussing what could be a cut of up to three billion euros in public spending. The National Union of University Students in Finland (SYL) calls for the Government to be reasonable: students should not be subjected to any further cuts. Resources for the Finnish Student Health Service (FSHS) must also be secured.

‘Students have already had to take unreasonably many hits due to the Government’s financial adjustments. Making adjustments to public spending cannot be based on cutting away at the future, the branch we’re all sitting on’, says SYL chair Akseli Tiitta.

The cuts in housing allowance already in force affect students dramatically, reducing their income by almost a fifth by 2027. Freezing the index increase of student financial aid also means the aid is insufficient, and an increase in the state guarantee for student loans puts students even further into debt. Any further deterioration of student income would inevitably lead to more students having to rely on basic social assistance.

‘Another area where things have gone too far is neglecting the necessary funding for the health care of higher education students. The funds available simply do not correspond to the number of students, the service needs and general rise in costs’, continues Tiitta.

The Finnish Student Health Service (FSHS), the best partner for students’ health and wellbeing, will be up against unprecedented challenges, with scarce funding to look after students. The amount of funds available to the FSHS per student is reducing, and inflation and the higher number of students has not been factored in. To meet the higher costs, the FSHS would need some 6.6 million more in state funding.

The percentage paid by students for their healthcare is already rising, because when the budget was made the number of higher education students paying their healthcare fee was estimated to be lower than it is in reality. This means that the proportion paid by students will be higher because of the FSHS funding relative to the budget. So this is what SYL expects the state to do as well.

‘We hope the Government will make wise decisions in their session on spending limits, and remember that in terms of students’ subsistence and healthcare, students are already paying beyond their fair share. Despite the economic pressures, students cannot be expected to dig deeper into their pockets yet again’, Tiitta concludes.

Further information:

Akseli Tiitta
044 906 5004

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