Statement: Polling stations for campuses

Raising turnout is a constant topic of discussion in politics. Placing polling stations on university campuses is a concrete act by which municipalities can support the turnout of young people and students.

The turnout in municipal elections has been around for years, but of all groups of people, the voting behavior of young people is the most worrying. Only a third of young people voted in the last municipal elections. If an increase in turnout is considered desirable, it is worth investing in those groups that are currently under-represented in the ballot box. The voting of young people must therefore be supported.

Facilitating student voting also supports young people’s turnout. The municipalities of the Helsinki Metropolitan Area are home to an exceptional number of students, many of whom are also young. In a representative democracy, it is important that the composition of municipal and city councils reflects the groups of municipal residents. Few students or young people run for office themselves, so voting is the most concrete way for them to influence the decision-making of their community.

One solution to the problem is to organize polling stations on campuses. At its best, thousands of students visit one campus every day. A polling station on a university campus is a logical solution if the goal is to increase voting activity. In particular, acting as a pre-voting venue on campus would motivate many students to vote alongside lectures.

Many international students also study at universities, few of whom know that they have the right to vote in Finnish municipal elections. Polling stations on campuses would raise student awareness of the election, and could also encourage student communities to engage in societal debate.

It is pointless to talk about involving young people and students in decision-making if they are not prepared to take concrete action.

This statement has been signed by:
Arcada Student Union – ASK
The Student Union of Metropolia University of Applied Sciences METKA
The Student Union of Haaga-Helia – Helga
The Student Union of Laurea University of Applied Sciences LaureamkoThe Student Union of Diaconia University of Applied Sciences O’Diako

Extended candidate nomination

At its meeting on 6 October 2020, the election committee stated that fewer nominations had been received than there are spots in the Delegate, and therefore the candidate registration is postponed by one week. The Nomination Committee has appointed new times for candidate nominations and new election and preliminary voting days.

The new dates are:

The candidate nominations are closed on 14.10.2020 kl. 16.00.
Electronic preliminary vote 4-9.11.2020.
Election days 11-12.11.2020 kl. 10.00-14.00.

Statement: Supporting education is the best way to improve employment

The Student Unions from the Metropolitan area are disappointed with the proposals published by the Ministry of Finance on 14 August 2020, which would weaken the support for education with study support and adult education support. As “employment measures”, the Ministry of Finance proposes reductions in student support months, cuts for studies with unemployment benefits and support for adult education.

According to the proposal, Adult education support is to be reformed in a way that ensures that it is better targeted, for example by moving to loan-based support. If no credible solution is found to the current weak targeting, adult education support will be abolished and the main benefits of adult learning will be voluntary study with unemployment benefits and study support. Adult education support will not accrue pension rights in the future.

The Student Unions see this as problematic, as supporting education and enabling people to be educated in different life situations is the best way to improve  employment. Colleges are prepared to develop lifelong learning and ensure education regardless of age and life situation. The proposal of the Ministry of Finance does not support this development. The transfer of adult education support to loan-based support is already accumulating loan-oriented study support. This action does not encourage further training and the development of working life skills.

The Ministry of Finance is also proposing that voluntary learning be developed by strengthening guidance from an employment policy perspective in an appropriate way. The intention is that voluntary study will be targeted at studies that support employment, as well as at the unemployed who will benefit most from these studies. This means delimiting the fields of study. The possibility to study freely in adulthood, for example with a study grant, will be maintained in accordance with the current study grant provisions.

According to the Ministry of Finance, work during studies will be supported by raising the income limits for study grants, and in order to prevent a slowdown in studies, the support monthly credit requirement will be tightened so that the support months are sufficient to complete in the target time. The term of the student loan credit is harmonized with the target period.

The Student Unions see that tightening the support months is not a way to support completion in the target time. Instead, investing in guidance and improving the criteria for competence in education, for example, developing the credentials of previous competences, could increase graduation efficiency in the target time. Cutting out of support months weakens an already weak student’s social security. In addition, limiting support months would make more and more students financially dependent on jobs or income support and thus make it more difficult for them to progress within the target time.

Student Unions demands that the Finnish government better understand the importance of studying and training than the Ministry of Finance and not take these weaknesses in study conditions presented as employment measures forward. Raising the income limits for study grants is in itself a worthwhile proposition. Education and training should still be made increasingly accessible and offer benefits that strengthen it.

This statement has been signed by:
Arcada Student Union – ASK
The Student Union of Metropolia University of Applied Sciences METKA
The Student Union of Haaga-Helia – Helga
The Student Union of Laurea University of Applied Sciences Laureamko
The Student Union of Humak University of Applied Sciences HUMAKO
The Student Union of Diaconia University of Applied Sciences O’Diako

More information (unfortunately only available in Finnish):
Employment during studies – problem or opportunity in polytechnic studies?
A student who is doing well graduates on time – SAMOK

From municipal health care to student health care

From 1 January 2021, FSHS, the Finnish Student Health Service, will also include all students at Arcada UAS. Student health services, which were previously limited to University students, are expanded through the establishment of the Student Health Care Act for students at Universities of Applied Sciences (695/2019).

The Health Service is a non-profit organization, the services are funded by state funds and student health care fees. When the reform takes effect, Kela, the Social Insurance Institution of Finland, will finance the majority of student health services – 77 percent – and the remaining – 23 percent – comes from the student’s own pockets. The Student Unions of Universities have been tasked with collecting the health care fee from the students and constituted 57 € of the Student Union membership fee for the academic year 2019-2020, but from 2021 this task will be transferred to Kela. The change will thus affect the Student Unions of Universities membership fee, since the health care fee will no longer be included in the membership.

For the student at Universities of Applied Sciences, or more specifically for you as a member of the Arcada Student Union – ASK the change will not be noticeable. Of course, the reform will mean that all students at Universities of Applied Sciences will also have to take part in the financing of the Student Health Service, which means payment of the mandatory health care fee. However, the Student Union membership will not change as a result of the reform. The health care fee for 2021 is not yet decided, but it is most likely to rise from previous years due to the expansion of the range of services.

At a nationwide level, the reform will increase the number of student health users from approximately 125,000 university students to approximately 270,000 University and UAS students. The expansion of the services also means an increase in local services from 18 locations to 52 locations and from 12 service points to 21 and the number of employees will increase from around 550 people to about 1000.

Annual ball committee 2020

Do you want to organize ASK’s Annual Ball? As a member of the Annual Ball Committee you get a first had experience of organizing an academic dinner for about 100 people. You get a chance to partake in organizing the most important event of the year for ASK. We are looking for eager students and alumni that want to make the evening special and give it a little something extra. Vice chairperson of the Board Ida Flemmich, who is also in charge of events, is the Chairperson of the Annual Ball Committee.

If you are interested of the Committee then please fill out this form no later than 19.2.2020.

Arcada Student Union – ASK’s XXIII Annual Ball is organized on the 13th of November 2020.