Students’ livelihood and benefit systems
A sufficient livelihood is a prerequisite for students’ wellbeing. Sufficient income can ensure that students are able to focus on their studies and graduate within time limits.
The majority of students make use of the student financial aid system during their studies. Its current form, student financial aid consists of student grants and student loans. In addition, students are entitled to housing allowance. The amount of the financial aid has been insufficient for a long time, and the cuts made in 2017 further lowered the level of student financial aid. In 2017, the number of months that students could receive financial aid was reduced, the share of the study grant was cut and emphasis on loans was increased. At present, students who rely on student financial aid live at the poverty line.
In its work, SAMOK seeks to promote raising the level of student financial aid and abandoning the emphasis on student loans through visible and active advocacy work in meetings with decision-makers and various working groups. SAMOK cooperates actively with, for example, the Social Insurance Institution of Finland Kela and other student organisations to promote a sufficient level of student financial aid.
Influencing students’ livelihoods focuses not only on student financial aid, as the diverse student population also includes students who rely on other benefit systems. In addition to student financial aid and housing allowance, SAMOK also takes into account other forms of funding for students’ studies, such as labour market subsidies, social assistance, benefits for students with families, adult education allowance and sickness allowance.