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“I'm of the opinion that the student financial aid cuts laid out in the government programme for the current electoral term are enough,” says Tuomo Puumala (Centre), the chairperson of the Parliament's Education and Culture Committee.Tuomo Puumala (Centre), the chairperson of the Parliament's Education and Culture Committee, has doused cold water on a report on the reform of student financial aid published on 1 March.

Puumala points out that the cuts in financial aid for students laid out in the report far exceed the objective of the government programme of generating savings of 70 million euros by the end of the current electoral term.

Roope Uusitalo, a professor of economics of education at the University of Jyväskylä, calculates in his report that the proposal to slash financial aid for higher education students to 250 euros a month would generate savings of 103 million euros.

“If the reform was implemented on 1 August, 2017, the savings would be fully realised as early as in 2018,” he writes in his report to the Ministry of Education and Culture.

Puumala stresses in a press release that the cuts in student financial aid should not exceed the limits agreed upon in the coalition negotiations. He points out that the proposal presented by Uusitalo would generate cost savings far exceeding 70 million euros by 2019, even though the longer-term savings target of 150 million euros has not been set for the current electoral term.

“Even the all-important objective of balancing public finances does not necessitate cutting so much from students. Other forms of social security were not cut to the same extent. Even if the amount of student loan guaranteed by the state will increase, cutting student financial aid by 87 euros and limiting the maximum eligibility period will have a dramatic impact on the daily lives of students,” he states.

“The cuts in student financial aid alone – if it is indeed cut by over 80 euros [per month] – would create savings of over 100 million euros,” he said in an interview with Uusi Suomi. “I'm of the opinion that the cuts laid out in the government programme for the current electoral term are enough.”

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Martti Kainulainen – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi

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