A new report shows there is a well-developed funding system in the Nordic region compared to other regions in the world but with significant differences between the countries, with the highest level of support provided in Denmark and the least in Finland.
The working group for Student Aid in the Nordic Countries or ASIN, which has representatives from the government loan funding agencies of all Nordic countries, on 15 October published a comparison on funding support for studying and how this might affect student behaviour, notably on the need to work while studying.
The report, Students in Nordic Countries – Study support and economics, has produced a wealth of statistical data comparing how much funding 925,636 students in the Nordic countries who benefit from government support are receiving.
ASIN monitors statistical trends and in particular how the countries represented are funding students abroad and how this is changing over time.
The report reveals that:
- • The maximum support in loans and grants without including students’ own work income is highest in Denmark and lowest in Finland. The support given as a grant is also highest in Denmark.
- • Comparing students’ total financial resources, including students’ work income from 10 hours per week after taxes, they are highest for students in the Faroe Islands, followed by Denmark and Norway.
- • Taking out maximum loans and grants combined with income from work, students in the Faroe Islands and Norway have the highest level of loans/income after taxes.
- • Seen in relation to value-for-money (indexed against price levels), the level of disposable funding income is highest in Sweden.
- • It is most expensive to take up study loans in Denmark due to Denmark claiming interest on the loan (at present 4%) while the students are receiving education, while this is not done in the other Nordic countries.
- • Students receiving financial support are working significantly more hours per week in Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland compared to Denmark.
Two countries have made significant reforms recently. In Norway, one week of funding was added to the total study time per year eligible for support in 2015-16 and an additional week was added each year in subsequent years, bringing the total support time to 11 months in 2019-20, compared to nine or 10 months in the other countries.
In Finland, as of 1 August 2017 the grant share of the total funding was reduced from 57% to 28%, increasing the loan share significantly.
Significant funding differences
Monthly financial support in DKK in 2019, including grants and the maximum student loan, is highest in Iceland (DKK10,300 or US$1,500), followed by Denmark (DKK9,321), Sweden (DKK8,405), Norway (DKK8,105), the Faroe Islands (DKK6,889) and Finland (DKK6,723).
The total number of students receiving government support was 291,481 in Denmark,