Statement: Cuts to students’ livelihoods are a value choice

On Tuesday 16 April, the government held a press conference on the results of the budget negotiations, which was watched with disappointment by Annu Suvilehto, Chairperson of the Board of the Student Union JAMKO. Students will suffer a second round of cuts in this government term. First, the index increases were frozen, the general housing allowance was reduced and now, with these decisions, we are going back to the even weaker student housing allowance in 2025.

Cuts tighten student finances, increase student stress, lower academic performance, slow down graduation and prepare students for the world of work, already in debt and on the verge of burnout. The future model is not yet clear, but the new level of the housing allowance is estimated to be around €260/month. The allowance will only be paid for the months during which you receive study support. In practice, this would mean that students would have to study full-time throughout the year or work. Who else is expected to work all year round without holidays, with the expectation of graduating with good grades on time and as productive citizens in good health? Concerns about livelihoods are one of the biggest challenges to students’ mental health, and it seems that repeated cuts are deliberately designed to bully those struggling in the support jungle.

From the students’ point of view, adaptation measures are taking steps backwards and nibbling away at the foundations of the future. The government programme wants to raise the number of young adults with higher education to closer to 50%, but we wonder what logic these cuts use to make studying more attractive or encourage it? Freezing of the index and raising VAT will further erode the social position of students and push the flagship of Finnish society, ‘free education’, further into the past and beyond the reach of students. Student subsidies will not rise in line with tax increases and therefore students’ purchasing power will be further eroded. Students will also find it impossible to get income support before their student loans are raised. This means that the period of study will become more and more loan-constrained, i.e. fee – based.

The government’s cuts are clear value choices that the Student Union will not tolerate! The Finnish government has made spectacular financial increases in RDI activities and investments in structures. Isn’t it time to invest in the people, the future makers and the talent that will build this society in the years to come? What kind of society will we have if the people are bled dry while they are still students and pushed into the working life incapacitated. We hope that every student will contribute to this situation by publicly highlighting its shortcomings and by voting in every election that elects decision-makers to decide on student issues.

More info:
Chairperson Annu Suvilehto

Next article

Membership survey 2024

Browse all news