The National Union of University Students in Finland (SYL) and the Union of Students in Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences (SAMOK) think that university funding models should be more efficiently oriented towards the future instead of backward-looking, short-sighted result-orientation. The organisations point out that the funding model is one of the most effective means of steering higher education institutions, because it directly impacts what kind of activity is financially profitable for them. In other words, higher education institutions will do things they are encouraged to do through funding.
The funding model for higher education institutions has been revised as part of the implementation of the Vision for Higher Education and Research in 2030, and the model is used as a basis for their basic funding. In the Vision for Higher Education project, the goals of the funding model were simplicity and clarity. The planned model has fewer indicators, but within them are various graduation time and field-specific coefficients, and funding will be implemented based on their averages.
“The proposed model does not encourage cross-disciplinary collaboration or collaboration between universities, even though this was our wish in the committee that prepared this model. Instead, the model will lead to a competition of who can produce the most degrees at the highest rate. This reduces students’ opportunities for individual, diverse study paths and internationalisation,” says SYL’s chair Miika Tiainen in disappointment.
Working life is changing, requiring universities to develop their operations and to invest on things like continuous learning. The problem with the proposed model is the lack of benefit for completing a second degree, which complicates retraining. Attention in the funding model debate has focused not only the increased amount of strategic funding but also on the new and expanding task of continuous learning.
“Strategic development of universities is an important part of revising education, and funding for it should be predictable and transparent. Today, higher education institutions do not have a genuine opportunity to prepare the kind of strategy for which funding is guaranteed. At the moment, it is possible that despite a well-prepared strategy, a university will never receive strategic funding. The principles of granting funds should be well known to universities, and applications and decisions must be open to all,” demands SAMOK vice chair Maria Jokinen.
The funding model of Finnish higher education institutions is one of the most results-oriented in Europe, and the currently prepared model puts an even stronger emphasis on efficiency. Student organisations do not want creativity, individual study paths and the quality of education to get overshadowed by the mass production of degrees.
Suomen ylioppilaskuntien liitto (SYL) ry
044 906 5007
Suomen opiskelijakuntien liitto – SAMOK ry
050 389 1001
Education Policy Adviser
041 515 2230
Education Policy Adviser
050 389 10141