The monetary benefits, study grant and housing allowance, of a full-time university student living alone are around 600 euros per month. This amount of money is not enough to cover the student’s basic living costs in 2023. In practice, students must make a choice between taking student loan or working.
It is unreasonable to expect students to go into debt because of their studies. On the other side of the coin is employment, which inevitably slows down the completion of studies. According to the Finnish institute of health and welfare’s Student health and well-being survey in 2021, more than 38 % of university students felt that working hindered their studies. Studying in higher education is challenging and time-consuming. The current level of study grant does not allow students to fully focus on their studies, which causes study delays and, at worst, suspensions.
Living in poverty and being burdened are not only situations that make life difficult for students, but a serious social problem, as well. An increase of 100 euros in the study grant is necessary for maintaining Finland’s competence level. Finland is threatened by a shortage of experts as a low study grant creates economic barriers to higher education, which will cause serious damage to Finland’s business life, economy, and competitiveness.
The Government now being formed must raise the level of study grant. This is necessary if the future Government wants to raise the level of education and take care of the well-being of students. Without this, fewer and fewer people will be able to study full-time and graduate in target time. The increase should be recorded in the Government Programme. This is not a large sum on the scale of central government finances, but a significant improvement for student’s everyday life.
Anniina Honkasaari, Chair of the Student Union of Tampere University
Linda Vallenius, Chair of Students’ Union of Tampere University of Applied Sciences