The Government should begin preparatory work for overhauling the student financial aid system and the tuition fees of higher education institutions, according to the Research Institute of the Finnish Economy (Etla).
Etla’s managing director, Vesa Vihriälä, and research director, Niku Määttänen, argue in a press release that such measures are required to offset the negative impact of the recent cuts in research and education funding on the outlook for the long-term productivity of Finland.
Vihriälä and Määttänen have identified a total of three measures to address the challenges associated with the spending cuts.
First, higher education institutions should be allowed to impose reasonable tuition fees on students from both Finland and the European Economic Area (EEA) to increase their resources. Second, business subsidies that do not encourage innovation should be scaled down and the subsequent savings used to fund the operations of the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation (Tekes). Third, the central administration should divest assets to enable higher education institutions to invest in improving the quality of research and teaching.
Vihriälä and Määttänen also estimate that, if combined with a carefully designed student loan system, the tuition fees would not become an obstacle to educational attainment or social mobility for the children of low-income families. The fees could, on the other hand, enable students to study and universities to operate more effectively.
They propose that a decision on the funding of Tekes and the capitalisation of higher education institutions be made in the so-called mid-term session and implemented in the budget for 2018.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Antti Aimo-Koivisto – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi