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Whos future are you voting for?

Blog — 23.3.2023

The year is 2030, and you let out a sight of relief. You take a look at your bank account, and you see that your financial aid covers your monthly expenses once again. When you contacted the student healthcare services about seeing a psychologist, you got an appointment within a month. You read the news and see that the government has halted the loss of biodiversity. This could be the future if the National Union of University Students in Finland’s (SYL) campaign goals for the parliamentary election are reached.

The advance voting period for the parliamentary election has already started, and you are choosing a candidate to cast your vote for. What is important to you as a student?

Did you know…?

  • Student financial aid has only been raised with 4 € since 1992. If you follow the index adjustment, it should be 143 € higher.
  • Finland’s student financial aid is the weakest within the Nordic countries (Sweden 340 €/ month and Denmark 838 €/ month).

Why is the student financial aid so low?

  • Study success – completed credits has decreased since 2017.
  • Time spent on studies – on average, we study 3.5 hours less per week than in 2016 (perhaps because student financial aid is not enough, leading to many students being forced to work as well as study).
  • Students’ well-being – there is no simple way to summarize this point.
  • Generational debt – the share of student loans has more than doubled since 2017.

We must move the students away from the poverty line

We can state that most of it is crap, and something has to be done. Students live below the poverty line despite taking out student loans or working on the side of their studies. The purchasing power of the student financial aid has decreased by approximately 134 € since 2017. The cost of living is skyrocketing, interest rates are growing, and students are not doing well.

No other social group in Finland lives on as low an income as students do right now. SYL is lobbying to increase the student financial aid by 100 €. Such an increase would lead to students moving away from the poverty line (hence #abovethepovertyline). Students could study with a secured income – what an utopia!

How do we reach this goal? Well, by students voting. No one will pursue the interests of students unless we do it ourselves. The voting percentage in the last Parliamentary elections was 55 % among the youngest age group of 18 to 24. Although the percentage of young voters has increased in recent years, there is still a lot of work to do.

Do yourself a favor and vote in the general election (and bring a friend).