OPINION: Regional student loan repayment treats students unequally

The Finnish government has decided to start a trial about an aerialized trial of
student loan compensation. The idea of the trial is to attract graduated students to
move to municipalities that suffer from negative population development. A
graduated student can be chosen to participate in this trial by a lottery. If they choose
to participate in the trial, they have to move to one of the chosen municipalities in the
Eastern or Northern parts of Finland.In the period of three years the government
would compensate in total 8800€ worth of student loans for trial eligible graduate.

The student unions Helga, HUMAKO, Laureamko, METKA and TUO do not support
the government’s proposal for a regional student loan compensation trial. The
proposal treats students in different higher education schools (universities and
universities of applied sciences) differently, as each school provides different fields of
studies. The primary demand for workforce in the areas of this trial is in the social
welfare and healthcare sector.

In the current situation, the student can receive student financial aid and
general housing allowance. The student financial aid consists of a study grant
and government guaranteed loan. In addition to this, students usually have to
finance their lives by working for example part-time, especially if they don’t
want to withdraw the loan. The current trial of the aerialized loan compensation
doesn’t help the financial situation of students during the period of studying in which
the government should be focusing.

We also find it problematic that in the trial, the condition to get the reimbursement is
to live in some of the municipalities that are part of the trial, instead of working in the
actual municipality.In this proposed version of trial, there is a big chance of misuse of
the benefit.

In addition, the draft law’s lottery principle for obtaining a regional student loan
compensation is problematic, as it once again puts students in an unequal position.
We do understand that in the name of experimentation and research, the students
who qualify for the trial should be chosen randomly, but the principle will inevitably
exclude students who might have been interested in applying for student loan
repayment.

We appreciate that the government wants to promote the status of students, but if
we wanted to find solutions that would genuinely improve students’ status and
livelihood, regional student loan repayment is not part of the solution.

September 16, 2022.

On behalf of Helga, The Student Union of Haaga-Helia University of Applied
Sciences,
Diana Murashkina
diana.murashkina@helga.fi

On behalf of HUMAKO, The Student Union of Humak University of Applied Sciences,
Sini Riihimäki
sini.riihimaki@humako.net

On behalf of Laureamko, The Student Union of Laurea University of Applied
Sciences,
Suvi Nieminen
suvi.nieminen@laureamko.fi

On behalf of METKA, The Student Union of Metropolia University of Applied
Sciences,
Valtteri Siljander
valtteri.siljander@metkaweb.fi

On behalf of TUO, The Student Union of Turku University of Applied Sciences,
Matias Sillanmäki
matias.sillanmaki@opiskelijakunta.net

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