The student benefits package underwent significant changes in 2017, when student support was adjusted and students were transferred to the general housing allowance. The government is now moving students back to the student housing supplement model. This decision is a cut in students’ income and will be felt particularly by those living alone. The situation for students is already bad and this cannot continue!

The Housing Allowance is only available for the months in which student grants are received, which increases students’ income insecurity. This is reflected both in students’ mental health and in their increased need for income support, especially during the summer months. The transfer would also exacerbate existing student debt, as students are not entitled to social assistance from Kela until they have taken out student loans.

The previous government’s cuts were heavily targeted at young people and students. It is disproportionate that students are again being targeted for cuts. Raising the standard of education in our country requires well-educated students who can concentrate on their studies while studying at higher education. 

The constant stress of making ends meet adds to the burden on students and takes their focus away from their studies. At the same time, the government is cutting €150 million from social and health services instead of €50 million in the middle of a mental health crisis. And we do not see cuts such as extending the guarantee of treatment from fourteen (14) days to three (3) months as a sensible long-term solution.

We are deeply concerned about the Finnish government’s policy of making students pay more and more. It is not the job of students to be indebted forever! Today’s students should graduate with at least as good a chance of getting on in life as previous generations. Falling into a debt trap during their studies deprives students of this opportunity. We hope that the Finnish government will change its policy from cutting students to investing in students – Finland’s future!

On behalf of Student Union of Laurea University of Applied Sciences,

Isabela Aflecht and Joona Aalto,

Vice Chairperson and Member of the Board