Laureamko and the student associations LASO ry, LATO ry, LARE ry ja Jenkins ry are participating in the silent protests coordinated by the National Union of Students in Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences – SAMOK, which are taking place on the campuses of various universities of applied sciences today 26th of September from 12:00PM to 14:00PM. In addition, we support all occupations and demonstrations on the campuses of various educational institutions.
The state budget approved by the Finnish government last week is a “cold handshake” to students’ livelihoods. The cuts in general housing allowance and the index freezes on student grants will significantly weaken the purchasing power of student financial aid and force students to work even more while studying.
To plug the gap in income created by the cuts in student grants and housing allowance, the government has prepared to increase the student loan guarantee. This would mean that the student grant package would be even more loan-based in the future, which we also oppose.
We are concerned about the impact of the planned cuts on students’ well-being and thus their ability to study. The pressure to graduate on time is already intense. Many students are forced to work alongside their studies, taking time away from their studies. In addition, not all students are able to work while studying and, especially for them, any cut in their income is critical.
The Finnish Student Health and Wellbeing Survey 2021 (KOTT) shows that 65.2% of those who worked while studying, worked specifically to finance their studies and 41.7% had experienced exhaustion caused by studies in the last month. The same survey revealed that around 17% of university students had feared running out of food before they had money to buy more. These findings give an indication of how low income and mental health can be related.
We also share the concerns raised by The Rectors’ Conference of Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences, Arene, about funding for higher education. The 11.7 million euros for additional starting places in universities will not cover the annual cuts to universities of applied sciences.
We at Laureamko and the student associations LASO ry, LATO ry, LARE ry ja Jenkins ry demand that there should be no cuts in students’ income. The impact of cuts on students’ lives is far-reaching, both for their well-being and their future employability. We will need professionals in various fields in the future, and we will not have them if students burn out during their studies!
On behalf of Laureamko, The Student Union of Laurea University of Applied Sciences,
Sanni Koivuluoma, Vice chairperson of the board
Mirko Varpunen, Chairperson of the board
Janina Saaristo, Chairperson of the council of representatives
On behalf of Laurean Sosiaalialojen Opiskelijat LASO ry
Mio Kortelainen, Chairperson
On behalf of Laurean Tradenomiopiskelijat LATO ry
Marko Hiljanen, vice-Chairperson
On behalf of Laurean restonomiopiskelijayhistys LARE ry
Waltteri Jarva, Chairperson
On behalf of Laurean tietojenkäsittelyopiskelijat Jenkins ry,
Niko Salonen, Chairperson