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From now on, the monitoring of study progress conducted annually in October will cover the entire period of study and take into account all higher education studies. This change improves the situation of students who are studying for several higher education degrees at the same time. On the other hand, it also includes any previous unfinished studies and the months of aid used for them in the monitoring, as beginning new studies after failing to complete the previous course of study no longer resets the counter for satisfactory study progress. However, students may explain the reasons for failing to complete their previous studies when answering the possible letter requesting further information. Kela tries to take this into account in its decisions.

Kela checks whether higher education students’ study progress has been satisfactory annually in October. The monitoring conducted next October concerns the academic year of 1 August 2017–31 July 2018 as well as the student’s entire period of study in higher education institutions in Finland. All credits and used months of aid from Finnish higher education studies since 1 August 2011 will be taken into account when monitoring study progress.

Students must have an average of at least 5 credits for each used month of aid and a minimum of 20 credits during each academic year. Kela’s monitoring looks at the average number of credits during the previous academic year or, if needed, the entire period of study. If the student knows that they will not get enough credits, they can either cancel or pay back their student aid. However, cancelling or paying back months of aid does not affect the minimum requirement of 20 credits. What is new is that the minimum requirement does not apply to the academic year during which a student with a spring graduation date completes their higher education degree.

Students who graduate before having their study progress monitored are considered to have made satisfactory study progress. If their studies continue after the completion of a higher education degree, their credits and months of aid will be taken into account starting from the beginning of the month following the completion of their degree – in other words, completing a bachelor’s degree, for instance, resets the monitoring.

More information is available on Kela’s website.

Hannele Kirveskoski
Specialist (subsistence, international affairs)
hannele.kirveskoski@hyy.fi
050 543 9608

HYY’s Board has appointed Jaakko Kalske as HYY’s specialist in organisations. He starts in the position at the beginning of April.

The specialist in organisations is in charge of training, guidance and communications aimed at organisations operating under HYY as well as the coordination and development of organisational services and grants. In addition to this, the duties of the specialist in organisations include the maintenance of organisational databases, serving as the presenter for the Financial Committee and the management of facility affairs.

Kalske’s previous positions have included working as the student affairs specialist of YKA (Social Science Professionals) and the secretary general of Social Science Students in Finland. He has also worked as a ward secretary and a research and development assistant at the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa.

Kalske has a strong background in HYY. He has acted as the chair and communications officer of Students of Political Science. He also has experience at the faculty level, having acted as the person in charge of communications and facilities and as a vice chair. He has also acted as a student representative and a curator.

Kalske, 29, is Master of Social Sciences. He majored in political science with political studies as his specialisation option and minored in media and communication studies. Kalske is also a student of theology.

‘I am extremely flattered and happy about my new duties. My predecessor has left me a fantastic foundation for continuing and developing operations, and I plan to do both. I am looking forward not only to working at HYY’s Office, but also to cooperating with organisations!’ Kalske describes starting in the position.

The Student Union of the University of Helsinki and Ylioppilaslehden Kustannus Ltd are looking for an editor in chief for the Ylioppilaslehti student magazine on a fixed-term contract for the period of 1 August 2018–31 May 2020.

The editor in chief is responsible for the publishing, editing and contents of Ylioppilaslehti and other products of Ylioppilaslehden Kustannus Ltd. They will also act as the supervisor of the editorial staff. The editor in chief implements the company’s strategy, recruits the editorial staff of Ylioppilaslehti and is responsible for the magazine’s finances to the Board of Ylioppilaslehden Kustannus Ltd. In addition to this, the editor in chief represents the magazine and the younger generation’s voice in several public contexts.

In the next few years, Ylioppilaslehti aims to expand its target group, strengthen its digital channels and diversify its offerings. We require the applicant to not only have the skills to realise these focus areas, but also have vision for piloting an institution aged over one hundred years. Besides journalistic competence, successfully serving in the position requires recruitment and supervisory skills, management and financial skills as well as understanding of the media field. Applicable studies and understanding of the student world are considered as advantages.

Applications addressed to the working group selecting Ylioppilaslehti’s editor in chief, along with attachments and sample articles (max. 3), should be delivered electronically to hallinto@hyy.fi by noon on 8 April. The email should be titled ‘Hakemus Ylioppilaslehden päätoimittajaksi’. The salary of the editor in chief is €3,500.00 per month, including fringe benefits.

Those invited to interviews will be informed about it on 13 April. Personal interviews are held at 8.00 am–noon on Thursday 19 April and at 10.00 am–noon on Friday 20 April. The Representative Council selects the editor in chief in its meeting on 15 May, and the proposed applicants are expected to hold a short introductory speech in the meeting, which begins at 5 pm.

Ylioppilaslehti, founded in 1913, is a student magazine that deals with societal and cultural phenomena before others have realised they exist. The magazine is delivered to the home of each student of the University of Helsinki, among others, and its circulation is around 35,000. The magazine is published by Ylioppilaslehden Kustannus Ltd, which is owned entirely by the Student Union of the University of Helsinki (HYY) and had a turnover of 486,000 euros in 2016.

For further information, please contact Editor in Chief of Ylioppilaslehti Robert Sundman, tel. 040 507 2125, or Chair of HYY’s Board Lauri Linna, tel. 050 543 9610. The application period ends at noon on Sunday 8 April.



Are the loan periods too short? Are there never enough course books? Does the library close too early? Is your e-book not working? Do not worry, you can have your say!
 
Cooperation with the users of our services is of utmost importance for the library to be able to offer and develop appropriate services. This is why the library has advisory boards on each campus at the University. We are looking for members to the library’s advisory boards for the term 1 April 2018–31 March 2020 for all campuses: Viikki, City Centre, Meilahti, Kumpula. Apply by 26 March 2PM!

What do the Library’s Advisory Boards do?
                             
The library’s advisory boards are tasked with acting as a discussion and cooperation forum for the library and its customers, sharing information about changes in the operating environment and making proposals for the development of the Library’s operation. Members of the campus advisory boards include researchers, teachers and students of the University of Helsinki as well as representatives from interest groups. Meetings are held 3–4 times a year. Meetings are hels in Finnish. The activities of the advisory boards start with an orientation event held in April.

Despite its name, the advisory board’s meetings do not consist of giving advice, but rather of handling anything and everything related to the library’s services, from e-books to reading areas and from open science to altmetrics. You will get to influence library services that are important to students and learn new things about the publishing world. You do not need to know anything special beforehand – bringing the students’ perspective to matters is the most important thing.

Campus advisory boards offer a great view of the library’s services. Acting as a member of an advisory board gets you acquainted with the library’s services and provides you with current information about the library’s development projects.

How to apply?

Brief applications should be sent electronically through your own campus’ application page (below) by Monday 26 March 2018 2PM!

City Centre campus advisory board
Students: 3 members, doctoral researchers: 1 member
Apply here.

Kumpula campus advisory board
Students: 3 members, doctoral researchers: 1 member
Apply here.   

Terkko (Meilahti) campus advisory board
Students: 3 members, doctoral researchers: 1 member
Apply here.  

Viikki campus advisory board
Students: 3 members, doctoral researchers: 1 member
Apply here.



For further information on the position, please contact Specialist Jenna Sorjonen (educational policy), tel. 050 3255202, email jenna.sorjonen(at)hyy.fi.

Picture: Veikko Somerpuro. Helsingin yliopisto.

We are once again celebrating the Grand Sitsit academic dinner party in May, on Thursday 24 May 2018 to be precise! Students will fill up the Senate Square for the third time as HYY celebrates turning 150 years old and the student nation system turning 375 years old.

Organisations’ registration for the event opens at noon on Thursday 15 March at https://www.lyyti.fi/reg/Suursitsit2018. Organisations have the opportunity to purchase the number of seats they desire until 11.59 pm on Sunday 15 April, and each organisation is responsible for filling the seats they purchase.

Signing up occurs through the Lyyti system, and organisations must pay the participation fees (€6.5 per person) directly in connection with signing up. In addition to seat reservations, organisations may use the registration form to order the number of official Grand Sitsit 2018 overall badges they want.

NOTE! Organisations receive the registrations and possible fees from their members themselves. They also take care of the dishes, food and drinks for their own participants in the style of traditional dinner party service. More information on the afterparty of the dinner party will be available later.

For more information on the registration, please contact us at suursitsit@hyy.fi.

See you in the spring! We hope a great many of you will come and celebrate with us at the Senate Square in May. You will hear the latest news about the Grand Sitsit first in the Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/591821771178334/

#torillasitsataan
#hyy150
#osakunnat375

HYY’s Board has selected Anne Soinsaari as one of its two specialists in educational policy. She has started in the position in mid-February.

The specialist in educational policy is in charge of issues such as the development of teaching at the University of Helsinki, observing new trends related to teaching, and the working life connections of studies. In addition to this, the specialist’s tasks include communication about issues in their sector both within the office and in social media, for instance.

Soinsaari’s previous positions have included working as the organisation secretary of the Union of Local Youth Councils in Finland and acquainting herself with the themes of lifelong learning while working as an intern at the Department for Higher Education and Science Policy in the Ministry of Education and Culture.

Soinsaari has a strong background in student politics from the Student Union of the University of Tampere, where she acted in the Student Union’s Council of Representatives for two terms and as the person in charge of educational affairs in the Board of the Student Union for one year. She has also acted as member of the Board of the University of Tampere for two years and as student representative in several working groups at the University.

Soinsaari, 27, is Bachelor of Social Sciences. She is currently finalising her master’s thesis in sociology at the University of Tampere, with the societal impact of universities as her topic.

‘I am delighted and inspired about my new position! As specialist in educational policy, I get to work with interesting issues in an awesome work community, all the while promoting HYY’s dream: the world’s happiest students building a fairer world’, Soinsaari states.

Would you like to influence the study environment at your faculty? Are you interested in student life related health issues? Are you willing to support health promotion?

One of the central tasks of the Finnish Student Health Service (FSHS) is health promotion. Locally this health promotion work is organized through working groups, which include both representatives of the staff of the FSHS, students, university staff and other stakeholders. The health promotion of the students of the University of Helsinki is organized by two working groups, one for the faculties of the City Centre Campus and one for the faculties operating at Kumpula, Meilahti and Viikki Campuses.

The Student Union of the University of Helsinki (HYY) is now looking for a member to represent the students of the Faculty of Law and a deputy member to represent the students of the Faculty of Theology in the City Centre Campus health working group. The positions are for the rest of the term until August 31 2019. The working groups currently work in Finnish, so a basic command of the Finnish language is advisable. Please see the Finnish or Swedish version of the ad for more information on the working groups and on how to apply. The deadline for applications is Sunday March 25.

Further information: Sofia Lindqvist, Specialist at HYY, firstname.lastname@hyy.fi, 050 543 9605.


The legislation concerning the Finnish Student Health Service (FSHS) and its operations will change as part of the overall reform of social services and healthcare in 2020. The legislation on student healthcare is only being prepared now and the details of it will be confirmed in June 2018. However, based on information in the media, we can deduce the following:

•    The access to FSHS’s services will be widened to encompass students at universities of applied sciences (UAS), including students studying for a UAS Master’s degree.
•    Foreign students without degree rights will be excluded from the FSHS’s services.
•    The healthcare fee will be increased from 54 euros to 75 euros. At the same time, all FSHS’s client fees will be abandoned.

With the Sote reform, healthcare legislation will be streamlined. As a part of this process, the tasks of student healthcare will also be changed. This means that there will be less specialist medical care provided at FSHS.

However, the fact that specialist medical services such as gynaecologists and dermatologists will no longer be provided does not mean that students no longer will receive treatment for such. General practitioners can provide many of the services currently provided by FSHS. If a student needs the services of a specialist, FSHS will direct the student to specialist services.

The information we comment on here is based on the draft legislation as of now and there might still be changes to the draft.

Further information (in Finnish):

Press release by the FSHS on the preparations for the Sote reform within the FSHS, dated March 9 2018

Are you facing challenges at your faculty or in your studies? Are education reforms creating enormous obstacles on your route to graduation? Or are there bogeys of the educational policy kind lurking in the structures of the University?

Members of HYY’s Board and HYY’s specialists in charge of educational policy will be on call on the campuses of the University of Helsinki on 20 March, 27 March, 3 April and 10 April. We will be collecting information about students’ experiences on the education reform and studying in general. In return, we will provide you with tools to solve the problems! We will take your views on the challenges in studying and the faculties’ operation to the faculties and faculty organisations during the spring.

We will be on call at our POP UP sites at 9 am–4.30 pm in the following locations:

20 March: Viikki
Where: Lobby of Bio1 and the campus meeting point in Metsätieteiden talo
More info in Facebook https://www.facebook.com/events/215070039235438/

27 March: Kumpula
Where: Lobby of Physicum
More info in Facebook https://www.facebook.com/events/2047552312200655/

3 April: Meilahti
Where: Location confirmed later
More info in Facebook https://www.facebook.com/events/1790787050986832/

10 April: City Centre Campus
Where: Lobby of Porthania
More info in Facebook https://www.facebook.com/events/1347547225351465/

The University of Helsinki has only 18 students who pay tuition fees. If the University of Helsinki – the most important multidisciplinary university in Finland – cannot attract paying students, how can tuition fees be expected to increase the appeal of Finnish education?

Tuition fees for students from outside the EU and the EEA were taken into use in Finnish higher education institutions in 2017. Higher education institutions are required by law to collect a tuition fee of €1,500 at a minimum for their foreign-language degrees, but students may be exempted from the fee based on a continuous or permanent resident permit, for instance. Higher education institutions must also have a grant system to support students liable for payment.

At the University of Helsinki, tuition fees for foreign-language Master’s programmes vary between €13,000 and €18,000 – as much as at Oxford. The University of Helsinki also had a total of 26 different types of grants available last year within its grant system, with the best one covering both the tuition fee and some living costs. There were also grants available that covered either tuition fees or living costs as well as a grant covering half of the tuition fee. Out of the 26 people who were awarded a grant, only six accepted their study place and started their studies. This is a thought-provoking number: even the grants were not a sufficient attraction for many.

Implementing the tuition fees led to a significant decrease in the number of applicants for the international Master’s programmes at the University of Helsinki in 2017. As expected, the number of applicants from outside the EU and the EEA decreased: before tuition fees, they amounted to around three quarters of the applicants, whereas in 2017–2018 they only made up just over half of the applicants.

This drop in the number of applicants was significant. The number of applicants increased this year, but this in itself is not decisive. The relevant figures here are how many applicants are eligible, how many of those accepted to study actually accept their place and how many arrive in Helsinki and begin their studies in the end.

As can be seen in the table above, many of those accepted to study did not accept their place, and not all of those who accepted their place started their studies in the end. An especially notable decrease occurred with students from outside the EU and the EEA: in 2016, 132 such students began their studies compared to only 56 last year. We will see how these figures develop this year.

The number of applicants in different years is not directly comparable, as the University of Helsinki reformed all of its Master’s programmes starting in autumn 2017. In addition to this, an application fee of €100 was in use for applicants from outside the EU and the EEA in 2016, which led to a decreased number of applications. In 2017 and 2015, applicants may have applied to several places at the same time without necessarily committing to their application.

Tuition fees are not a significant source of income for higher education institutions, and there are also costs involved. Running the bureaucracy and administration related to tuition fees and the grant system as well as marketing the degree programmes take up a lot of resources.

The University community’s view on the fees has been clear from the start. Without tuition fees, it would be possible to attract the best possible experts to Finland, regardless of the income level of the origin country. Many of the students who have arrived from elsewhere want to stay in Finland after graduation and get employed. International students bring valuable skills and international networks with them, and after they get employed, they also fund the higher education system as a whole as tax payers. According to a report by the Research Foundation for Studies and Education Otus, young, skilled international students are beneficial to Finland’s economy after getting employed (source: Otus’ report, only in Finnish).

Attracting international students to Finland is of prime important for the dependency ratio and competitiveness of the country. Tuition fees, however, are not a functional solution to promote this – whereas free high-quality education would be.

Hannele Kirveskoski
Specialist, subsistence, international affairs