FSD3340 Subsistence of University Students in the Capital Region 2018

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  • Reinikainen, Rasmus (Research Foundation for Studies and Education)


educational grants, employment, higher education institutions, housing, housing benefits, social security benefits, student loans, undergraduates


The study charted the subsistence, employment and housing of university students in the capital region in Finland. The study was funded by the Student Union of the University of Helsinki and the Student Union of Aalto University.

First, the respondents were asked questions relating to student grant. The questions focused on, for example, whether the respondents had received student grant for the degree they were studying for and if not, why (e.g. because of too large income or too few study credits), as well as whether the months of student financial aid available for them had been or would be sufficient for their bachelor's and master's degrees. The respondents were also asked whether they felt it was easy or hard for them to sufficiently progress in their studies (approximately 5 study credits per month) to qualify for student financial aid as well as how they were planning to fund their studies if they could not receive student financial aid any longer (e.g. by working, with savings, with the help of their family or spouse).

Next, questions relating to student loan were presented. The respondents were asked whether they had taken out student loan and why (e.g. to secure income, to improve standard of living, for investing). They were also asked whether changes such as student financial aid cuts, reduction in the maximum number of months student financial aid was available and the transfer to general housing allowance for accommodation costs had had an impact on their need to take study loan.

Employment and other sources of income were examined with questions concerning the amount of time the respondents worked at present or had worked during the past school year. If the respondents had not worked, they were asked whether they would have wanted to. The respondents were asked about the most important reason for working during their studies (e.g. for work experience or networking) and how they thought working would affect the progress of their studies. Some questions focused on income by charting, for example, how much how much salary the respondents thought they would receive a year after graduation and how much their monthly income from different sources was (e.g. salary, social assistance, aid from parents). The respondents were also asked about their savings and easily disposable property (e.g. shares/stock), whether they thought their financial circumstances were good or bad and whether and how much they received financial aid from their parents or other relatives. Ways of dealing with insufficient income were examined with questions relating to, for example, whether the respondents had taken out instant loans, done undeclared work or gone without eating for a day.

Next, the respondents were asked how the transfer of students to be covered under general housing allowance rather than student housing supplement had affected their subsistence and housing. Housing was examined with questions relating to, for example, accommodation type during the autumn semester, household composition and the allocation of expenses between the adults living in the household, as well as satisfaction in various aspects of the housing (e.g. rent, location, condition). The expenses related to housing were also charted and the respondents were asked how much general housing allowance they received per month. The respondents were presented with statements concerning housing and the changes in general housing allowance (e.g. whether one or two bedroom student housing had become a more interesting option and whether they thought that shared housing was no longer as cost-effective). Finally, statements concerning, for example, wellbeing, satisfaction in the physical environment of the university, and the amount of guidance received for studies were presented.

Background variables included, among others, the respondent's age group, gender, parents' highest level of education, highest previous degree, faculty (University of Helsinki) or school (Aalto University), the amount of credits completed during the past school year and whether the respondent had some condition, illness or injury that hindered their studies.

Study description in machine readable DDI 2.0 format

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