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Statement: Internationality in UEF Requires Acts Instead of Just Speeches

The Student Union of the University of Eastern Finland (ISYY) is disappointed in the policy the University of Eastern Finland Leadership Group set on 17 May 2019. According to the policy, in the future students from non-EU/EEA countries can cover only 80% of their academic year fees with a scholarship. In other words, students from non-EU/EEA countries will have to pay a share of their studies, no matter how talented or motivated they are.

Meanwhile, the UEF has publicly stated that it wants to become a high-profile international university and invest in the recruitment of talented students. Recruitment efforts are especially targeted at non-EU/EEA countries. A talented student’s studies can come to a dead-end because they cannot pay the remaining 20% of the academic year fee.

In the future, educated labor will be in high demand as age groups diminish and the sustainability gap grows. Finland will need more talented and educated labor to fill the hole left by diminishing age groups. According to estimates, as much as 10 to 30 thousand working-age immigrants a year are required to offset the sustainability gap.

UEF should build its strategy on internationality, the lifeblood of a modern university. ISYY’s position is that the UEF is an attractive option to international students because of high quality and free education.

ISYY’s view is that tuition fees pressure students to graduate fast, leaving little time for networking and developing working life skills. International students have few opportunities to work as Student Representatives in Administration or otherwise affect their studies.

Tuition fees pressure students to find employment after graduation. Presently, it is already difficult for an international university graduate to find employment in Finland. If they have not networked sufficiently in their own field due to graduation pressure, international graduates will likely find employment abroad. This leads to unwanted brain drain.

“The Student Union wants everyone to have an equal opportunity to get an education. Eliminating that opportunity is worrying. In Finland, social background should not determine whether you can get an education or not”, comments Aino Peltonen, ISYY Executive Board Member and Chief of International Affairs.

Additional information:

Aino Peltonen, Executive Board Member, Student Union of the University of Eastern Finland (ISYY), tel. 044 576 8408, aino.peltonen@isyy.fi

Aleksi Kinnunen, Chairperson of the Executive Board, Student Union of the University of Eastern Finland (ISYY), tel. 044 576 8404, puheenjohtaja@isyy.fi  

Anna-Kristiina Mikkonen, Secretary General, Student Union of the University of Eastern Finland (ISYY), tel. 044 576 8417, paasihteeri@isyy.fi

Page edited on 6.6.2019: Updated title.