The spending limits session offered students an uncertain future

60 years ago, Uuno Välkky moved under a boat when there wasn’t suitable housing for students in Oulu. Will it be the same now, if there is not enough money to live on?

The Student Union of the University of Oulu (OYY) is disappointed with the cold shoulder offered by the General Government Fiscal Plan, also known as the spending limits session. The cuts in income are hitting hard a generation whose learning path has been overshadowed by various crises, rising living costs and ever-increasing mental health and coping challenges. 


In the light of current information, students are being moved back 7 years to the housing allowance for students. The exact figures are not yet known, but the current estimate for the student housing allowance is up to € 260/month. According to SYL’s calculations, the impact on a student’s annual housing allowance could be more than €2,000 at worst. In percentage terms, even in the Oulu region, which is known for its reasonable housing costs, the reduction could be around 45.5% compared to the current housing allowances. The move from the housing allowance to the general housing allowance was originally made precisely for reasons of economy: the separate system for students was overburdening and congesting the processing process. The housing supplement for student grants has to be applied for annually, while changes to the housing allowance are made only if necessary. ”Have the decision makers really not taken into account that they increase bureaucracy and therefore administrative costs, even though the aim is to save money?” wonders Vilma Sippola, Vice Chair of the Board. 


They are trying to soften the blow by increasing the amount of loan students are able to get. But the student loan, painted as a miracle cure, is a real loan with an increasing interest rate that has to be paid back after studies. The high student loan burden slows down the chances of recent graduates to start a family, buy their own home or otherwise accumulate wealth. If student support becomes loan-centred, an interest rate cap should be imposed on the loan. ”Loans should not be painted as an easy form of support – even a quick loan should not be marketed as a way to find cheese on bread,” says Anton Kostiainen, Chair of the OYY board.


The cuts in student subsidies will further increase the need for housing that fits into student budgets. Already 60 years ago, the Student Union of the University of Oulu campaigned for sufficient student housing in Oulu. It is time to call Uuno Välkky, the central figure of the campaign, back to work from retirement. 


Anton Kostiainen

Chair of the Board


Vilma Sippola

2nd Vice Chair of the Board

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