The Rectors’ Council of Finnish Universities UNIFI issued a statement regarding the student demonstrations on 26 September 2023.
In its statement, UNIFI emphasises that universities understand the students’ concern and need for the demonstrations. Peaceful demonstrations have been enabled on several university campuses, and constructive dialogues have taken place with the demonstrators.
According to the students organising the demonstrations, the plans of the Finnish Government to freeze index increases of student financial aid and weaken the housing allowance for students together with the inflation and rising interest rates complicates students’ finances and everyday life.
UNIFI notes that students’ well-being and possibility to focus on their studies are essential for universities. At the same time, universities’ funding is tied to the smooth graduation of students and the aim is to shorten the length of studies. Students’ growing concern over their income and the increasing level of employment while studying can influence the progress of studies and cause increasing strain.
“The students’ message is important. The support system should make it possible for students to focus on their studies and graduate on time. We at universities want to streamline study paths and provide high-quality education and guidance to our students in order to support their coping,” says Chair of UNIFI, Rector of the University of Turku Jukka Kola.