Statement: The student should not bear responsibility for the financing of higher education

Student union JAMKO is very concerned about the tuition fees for the second and even the first higher education degree imposed by the Ministry of Finance. The Ministry of Finance recently published the Expenditure and structural survey and tax survey, in which it presented that Higher education students on average have a high income when they graduate, so they can pay more for their studies themselves. On this basis, the Ministry of Finance would cut university students’ study allowance, adult education allowance, meal allowance, student loan repayment and housing allowance. From the point of view of the student union, the argument is not realistic or fair, because the salary can vary in the same field, depending on where you work. In addition, there are huge differences in pay between different fields. “I’m graduating as a nurse myself, and I don’t consider myself to have a very high income with an average salary of 2,600 euros,” says Lauri Kujala, chairperson of JAMKO’s board.

JAMKO considers it strange that the government’s goal is to increase the number of those with higher education to 50% of the young age group by 2030, but at the same time tuition fees are brought into discussion everywhere. Sivistystyönantajat ry, or Sivista, wrote at the turn of the year that a second university degree should be paid for, as those who study for the second time take places away from those applying for their first degree. In the statement, the responsibility of the gap years was placed on the shoulders of young people who are studying for a second degree, and not where it belongs, i.e. on those decision-makers who emphasized matriculation grades over entrance exams and raised the quotas for first-time students.

Students’ livelihoods are constantly being undermined. Students are a growing segment in various food aid services, and some students have to take out a student loan in order to survive the rising costs of living. Now the Ministry of Finance wants to break up the student loan into smaller installments, so that at the end of the studies, it does not go to anything other than living expenses. The state wants studies to be more loan-oriented, but still wants to limit how the repayable loan is used. Is there any other loan of this nature? Students are repeatedly forced to make unreasonable choices. On the other hand they are pressured to take out a loan to live on, and on other hand are required to work alongside their studies. In the last option, many face both income limits and coping. It is therefore not surprising that a third of university students are psychologically stressed.

Universities are also back against the wall. The Rector’s Council of Universities of Applied Sciences Arene has stated in its parliamentary election goals that it also wants to investigate the possibility of fee-based degree education if there is no additional funding for universities of applied sciences. JAMKO is concerned about the trend where financial pressure is put on students’ non-existent financial capacity. A lot is put on the shoulders of people who have 6 billion euros in loans in 2023, are working alongside their studies and are at the limit of their endurance. Constant visits to the student’s purse are beginning to affect the students’ ability to study, and that is why JAMKO supports a 100-euro increase in the level of study support.

On behalf of Student Union JAMKO
Lauri Kujala, chairperson of the board, pj(a)

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