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November 30 is the Day for Free Education. Free education with high quality by international standards was long one of the cornerstones of Finnish society. Free education in higher education institutions came to an end last year when tuition fees were set for students from outside the EU and EEA countries.*

The tuition fees predictably decreased the number of new students. The number of international students in Finland had increased for the entire 2000s, but the trend was reversed after the implementation of tuition fees. This is not a desirable development, as Finland should be an attractive option for international experts for the sake of our entire society.

Throughout the history of higher education, internationality has been its lifeblood – and this applies to Finland, too. International students give Finnish students opportunities for internationalisation at home as well as diversify the student community in Finland. International students also bring along valuable networks and skills. For the internationalisation of companies, students’ language skills, networks to other countries and understanding of different cultures may be significant advantages.

Expanding the financing base of higher education institutions was used as a justification for the tuition fees. However, there were only 277 students who paid the full tuition fee in Finnish higher education institutions last academic year, as the majority of those liable to pay the fee received a grant from the institutions. Some higher education institutions have reported a profit from the fees, but their implementation has also caused costs for the institutions. The grants, administration and development related to the tuition fees all demand resources. Many higher education institutions are making significant investments in international marketing and student recruitment using various means that are definitely not free.

The advantage that Finland has had in the eyes of international students has long been free high-quality education. Our current international students have told us that in addition to the reputation and quality of the education, their choice to study in Finland was influenced by free education. We should keep hold of both of these trump cards. The challenges often faced by students who have chosen Finland concern a lack of language skills, finding friends and getting employed.

We asked international students to tell us about their thoughts on tuition fees and studying in Finland. You can read about the students’ experiences below. The comments come from different kinds of students: those who pay the entire tuition fee, those who have received a grant and those who are citizens of EU and EEA countries. We have also included a comment HYY received in spring 2018 from a person who had been admitted to study and was now asking for advice after not receiving a grant. In the autumn, they told us that they had not found a way to pay the tuition fee but got accepted to study in Germany where there are no tuition fees.


“I've been accepted to Master's Programme in Neuroscience in University of Helsinki, which I'm really happy for. But unfortunately, I wasn't awarded a scholarship. Considering the amount of tuition fee and very low currency of Turkish lira, neither me nor my family don't have the possibility to pay that big amount of money. I've been searching for other scholarships for a long time both in Turkey and abroad and on internet portals like scholarshipportal, but I can't find any to cover this amount.

I will cover all my living and other expenses by myself. But unless I find a funding for covering my tuition fees, I won't be able to come to University of Helsinki sadly. It's been my dream for many years and I worked very hard for this, and now when I'm chosen with a good ranking (6th out of 20th), I really want so much to be a part of this programme and your university and the student union.”


“I think the tuition fee is a huge burden for me as well as my family. Actually, I think it's a huge burden for each student from non-EU countries. And due to this reason, I believe  some excellent students give up or  lose their opportunities to study here. I am trying my best to study now and hope that I can get the second year scholarship. I have to find a part-time job which may take up a lot of time and also make me feel so tired every week. Anyway, it's my own choice and I will get over it. But I think it would be better to cancel the tuition fee for us.”


“I could not have come to study as a master's degree student if I needed to pay tuition fees for two years. I feel like it limits the people from outside EU to come to study in Finland, where it used to be an option without tuition fees.”


“The tuition seems to be quite high for international students. While no tuition fee was implemented until two years back, and I did not expect UH to fix such a high fees just for international students.”


“As an EU citizen, couldn’t be happier. I thank the people of Finland this opportunity, which I’ve tried to repay many times.”


“I do not pay tuition fees but 15,000 euros a year is extremely expensive and without a scholarship I would probably not attend this university, unless we had more funding/work opportunities.”


“I’m a master student from Japan in European and Nordic Programme under Faculty of Social Science. I am interested in Finnish history, specifically the period between 1939-1945, and topics revolve around the remembrance of the war, and how current time is affecting its interpretation. I was one of the first batch of students after the introduction of tuition fee at this university. I came to Helsinki because of my interest in it, and Helsinki offered English master’s programme in Nordic Studies.

Student life is so much better than it was in a small private university in Japan. Despite some issues with studies and bureaucracies, mostly because my programme is a new one, as well as general system change in all parts of the university, I feel that education offered here is great. Outside studies, students are treated in a way that promotes independence, while having channels to seek support when necessary. I quite like it.

Coming from Japan, tuition fee itself is not new. But personally, I did not like the bureaucracy with scholarship, which was meant to help mitigate the negative effect. The whole process for awarding the scholarship seemed to have been done in a way that weakened the desired effect. Most of the recipient did not show up in 2017 without redirecting it to other candidates, and second-year grant was selected based on earned units and grade only, giving some significant disadvantage due to the selection timing and individual curriculum structure. Considering these issues, I have to say scholarship system has a lot to improve if university wants to have the effect they initially desired.”


"I think tuition fees put Finland at odds with its value in equality. Although it can be argued that money cannot buy the experience, the reality is I can get an educational experience at any place not just Finland. I wouldn't say I regret my decision but, overall, I feel that if I had been given a second chance, I will choose to come only with a scholarship."


“After having done my bachelor degree in physics at the University of Amsterdam I realized that I am interested in pursuing research in Mathematical Physics. Thus, the University of Helsinki was a natural choice since the Mathematical Physics group at the Faculty of Mathematics is one of the best in the world.

I am currently a recipient of the “be one of the best scholarship’ program. Given that the scholarship program was introduced at the same time as the tuition fees for non-EU master students, I as a scholarship recipient am largely unaffected by the introduction of tuition fees.

In the long run the introduction of tuition fees for non-EU international students will likely decrease the number of non-EU students at the University of Helsinki; however the introduction of the scholarship program would plausibly increase the amount of high quality non-EU students hence the net policy effect is yet to be determined.

Having been in Finland and at the University of Helsinki for slightly more than a year I must say that I have enjoyed my stay to the fullest extent. The interaction between faculty members and students is quite informal thus giving the students an excellent opportunity to get involved in research early on in their careers as well as be a part of the decision making process at the university. Furthermore, the presence of many student organizations allows one to experience the unique student culture in Finland.”


“I was doing my exchange studies for two semesters in 2017 and working for a company since April, 2017 and did some research work during the summer of 2017. I had an indefinite work contract for 2018 and I applied for my residence permit renewal as work permit for which I was supposed to get permit type A. As mentioned permit A sets you free from those fees. However, the company went bankrupt and I only knew in December, 2017 almost when I was about to get the permit which was awaiting decision then. So I started working full time at the university starting January 2018 until the present time and did some independent studies while waiting the decision and the master's acceptance.

The permit took 9 months to process. I got a B permit and they asked me to pay the fees for which I had to manage to provide the money before august 31st and I was working so hard to save money. I was enrolled with all my studies for the program completed beforehand and for what I had to pay I only have the master thesis to be done in a very short time so I can graduate by the end of 2018 and get a refund for the spring term. This is not how I wanted my thesis to go and any delay will cost too much.

Being a student at the university of helsinki is a good experience. The flexibility of studies and being able to learn what you are interested in and having variation in teaching methods proves to be successful. Also as a staff member pursuing my interest in research it is an encouraging environment for research.I had been working in the private sector as a web developer for 6 years before coming to Finland and I found my skills appreciated here.

My thoughts about the tuition fees is that they are not fair. It would be more fair to pay for courses you are taking and some fees for the study place and other fees for courses and other services than having them in a chunk of 15 000. In my case 15 000 just to do my thesis which I am doing as part of my job.

I like being in Finland and I had to start over in terms of career and life and I plan to continue living here and continue my PhD studies. The delays with migri and the fear of being kicked out are a constant stress that all other people from outside EU are suffering from even though they are students and researchers. The constant struggle and the fear of not being able to extend your stay cuts the focus on the goal for being here. Life would be much easier if we had equal chances to be able to focus like everyone else who don't have to worry about these things and that will make a big difference."


More information:

Hannele Kirveskoski
Specialist (subsistence, international affairs)
050 543 9608

Anne Soinsaari
Specialist (higher education policy)
040 8291 256

The Student Union has selected new student representatives for the 93 executive groups of degree programmes for their next two-year term, 1 January 2019–31 December 2020. Two actual and two vice members will be representing students in each executive group.

During the fall, a total of 314 bachelor’s and master’s students applied to become a member in an executive group. A part of the degree programmes got more than four applicants and not all of our interested candidates could be selected. The names of the new student representatives proposed by HYY have been published on The Student Union’s website. On another hand, there were open positions left 55 executive groups. The Student Union will organise a further call for applications for these positions in January.

The faculty-specific selection committees have processed the applications during October and made their proposal to HYY’s Board on the persons to be selected to the executive groups. HYY’s Board has made its decision in its meeting on 22 November 2018, and the student members of the executive groups of degree programmes will be confirmed by the dean of each faculty.

Each bachelor’s and master’s programme at the University of Helsinki has an executive group that consists of the director of the degree programme, six other staff members and two actual student members along with their two personal vice members.

The preparation of curricula and deciding on the annual teaching schedule are particularly important influencing places in the executive groups: the groups determine the framework for what courses are taught in the schedule, which studies are compulsory to everyone, how much optional studies can be included in degrees, what kind of study material and teaching methods are used on courses and what methods to complete courses each course has. In addition to this, the executive groups process issues related to student admissions in the degree programme and the use of teaching and facility resources, for instance.

For further information, please contact:

Jenna Sorjonen
Specialist in educational policy

HYY annually awards honours to individuals who have had a significant impact in society or distinguished themselves in the Student Union’s activities. The recipients of the honours were published in HYY’s 150th Anniversary on Saturday 24 November. 

The badge of HYY’s chairs in the wide purple ribbon was awarded to President of the Republic Sauli Niinistö and Chancellor Thomas Wilhelmsson.

The justifications for the badge of honour awarded to President Niinistö are as follows: ‘This head of state acts as naturally in the arenas of world politics as when he is having coffee at the market or visiting the book fair. During a period of bubbles and polarisation, he has succeeded in uniting large crowds to support him with his unpretentious, at times even playful approach.’

‘The Student Union especially respects the way Niinistö has used his popularity and presidential authority to promote work to prevent bullying and the social exclusion of young people’, Chair of the Student Union Suvi Pulkkinen states.

‘Chancellor Wilhelmsson has already had a close relationship with the Student Union for several decades. He has provided the Student Union with interesting stories of both the University of today and the history of the student movement. A hall in the New Student House also carries his name’, Pulkkinen states of the justifications for Wilhelmsson’s badge of honour.

Standards to the Finnish Association for Mental Health and Lääketieteenkandidaattiseura

The Student Union’s standard may, at the Student Union’s discretion, be awarded to a community that has promoted the Student Union’s aspirations. The Student Union’s standard was awarded to the Finnish Association for Mental Health and the 85-year-old Lääketieteenkandidaattiseura.

‘The Finnish Association for Mental Health has been an active participant in societal discussion on issues related to mental health and social exclusion. With its activities, the association has meritoriously aimed to decrease stigmatisation related to mental health problems. Donations given to HYY during this Anniversary have also been directed to this association’, Pulkkinen mentions.

Several recipients of honours

The badge of honour in the Student Union’s wide blue ribbon, given for notable and meritorious work for the University community, was awarded to Bishop Emerita Irja Askola, Licentiate of Social Sciences Maria Kaisa Aula and former Rector of the University of Helsinki Jukka Kola.

‘Askola’s activities personify the values of our Student Union: education, equality, humaneness, courage and responsibility. She has broken glass ceilings and held high the flag of equality and justice. She is a strong debater in society, and the themes of respecting diverging opinions and striving for dialogue were strongly visible when she acted as the Bishop of Helsinki’, Pulkkinen states the justifications for Askola’s badge of honour.

The badge of honour in a narrow blue ribbon for notable and meritorious activities benefiting the Student Union was awarded to Student of Educational Sciences Anna-Maija Riekkinen, Student of Arts Silva Loikkanen, Bachelor of Theology Minna Mäkitalo, Master of Education Susanna Jokimies, Master of Arts Emi Maeda, Bachelor of Science Elina Tyynelä, Student of Medicine Jonne Juntura, Bachelor of Social Sciences Ella Keski-Panula, Master of Theology Matias Koponen, Master of Science Hanna Piitulainen and Master of Science Elli Saari. In addition to this, the badge of honour in a narrow blue ribbon for 20 years’ work in HYY Group was awarded to UniCafe employee Anne Hanhimäki, Operative Manager Paula Korhonen and Chief Accountant Sirpa-Liisa Inkinen.

The 2018 Magister Bonus prize was awarded to University Instructor Jari Lipsanen (Faculty of Medicine) and the Best International Teacher prize to University Lecturer Henry Maina (Faculty of Forestry and Agriculture). The new Good Instructor prize was awarded to University Lecturer Tauno Saarela (Faculty of Social Sciences).

Further information:
Lauri Linna, Chair of HYY’s Board
050 543 9610

Titta Hiltunen, the candidate of the Student Union of the University of Helsinki (HYY) has been selected as a member of the Board of the National Union of University Students in Finland (SYL) for 2019.

Hiltunen, a student of political history, has been in charge of issues related to subsistence, advocacy work on county and parliamentary elections and urban and housing advocacy work in HYY’s Board.

‘A major objective for the student movement next year is to get students included in the comprehensive reform of social security. Students are people like anyone else, and social security that cover basic needs in life is their right just as it is everyone else’s’, Hiltunen states.

A total of seven candidates ran for a place on SYL’s Board, while four candidates ran for the chair’s position. HYY’s other candidates were Topias Tolonen for SYL’s Board and Krista Laitila for the chair’s position.

SYL’s Congress was held in Otaniemi on 16–17 October 2018. SYL looks after students’ interest on the national level, taking a stand on issues related to educational and social policy as well as international affairs.

Besides the Board, the Congress decided on next year’s action plan and SYL’s new policy paper. Sanni Lehtinen (Tamy) was selected as SYL’s chair. Besides Hiltunen, the persons selected to the Board were Heidi Rättyä (JYY), Helmi Andersson (ÅAS), Kim Kujala (VYY), Roope Tukia (Tamy) and Suvi Vendelin (AYY).

HYY congratulates the newly elected Board!


The full programme of the HYY150 Birthday Party and Sillis has been published! You will have to wait at least another 50 years for a programme as dazzling as this! Read the full details and get your tickets to the unforgettable HYY150 Weekend for your friends as well right now, if you have not already.

Buy tickets here:

PARTY LIKE IT’S 1868 – The celebrations at the HYY150 Birthday Party will be worthy of 150 years!

The entire HYY150 Anniversary year culminates in the unique Birthday Party held at The Circus on 24 November. The evening will be full of festive atmosphere, glitter, music, surprises and friends, as we celebrate our Student Union in the most memorable party of the century. The party kicks off at 10 pm, and the dance floor will not rest until the early hours – if even then, as the party continues afterwards at the epic after-afterparty! Grab your friends and secure your spots in the party of the century – it will be at least another 50 years before an opportunity as dazzling as this next presents itself!


The strength of the roof at The Circus will get tested when the party atmosphere raises towards the night sky thanks to the main act of the evening, one of the brightest stars of Finnish rock, Olavi Uusivirta!

We Love Helsinki DJs’ sparkling set full of hits will also be making the party people dance for 150 years’ worth.

You can experience your own 15 minutes of fame during the 150th Anniversary year in the karaoke room of the Birthday Party, where singalongs ring out all around! Share your favourite song on stage or enjoy the collective joy of karaoke in a more relaxed fashion among the audience.

The party night will certainly not be found lacking in splendour with the fantastic Glitternisti conjuring a dazzling Birthday Party experience for us! The ECO glitters used at the party are not only shiny but also environmentally friendly. In addition to this, it is possible to snatch a unique commemorative golden HYY150 overall badge for yourself at the party! Not to mention the abundance of impressive surprise effects at the party!

To ensure that the memory of the night will always be with you, you can record your most unforgettable Birthday Party moment with a polaroid camera and send yourself your regards for the next day’s Sillis where you can pick up your photo. The action obviously does not die down when the official party ends, as the party simply moves to the magical, phenomenal HYY150 After-afterparty at Gustavus Rex. Everyone participating in the Birthday Party is welcome to attend the after-afterparty!

The Anniversary weekend fever does not even stop at sunrise at the after-afterparty, as we will make our way to the HYY150 Sillis in Kumpula after noon on 25 November.

Dress code for the Birthday Party: a sparkling birthday outfit that reflects yourself and lends you the energy to dance till dawn.

Official hashtag of the party: #hyy150bday


The HYY150 Sillis gets students and alumni together to celebrate the culmination of the HYY150 Anniversary weekend in Physicum on the Kumpula campus (at Gustaf Hällströmin katu 2). Put on your sweatsuit or animal costume, or just continue in your festive attire for the entire weekend to celebrate a sill Chillis! The party beast is released at noon and you have the permission to sill out until the evening. Do you prefer the chiller option of mocktails and yoga or the thrills of pong and gaming – or do you go for both like a proper sillist? The Sillis mood is set by the Chill and Thrill areas as well as the Sillis stage area, and the programme is sure to include something for every participant!


On the Sillis stage, the chill mood is guaranteed by the main act, a group that hails from the savannahs of the University of Helsinki and has fast established themselves as one of the top acts in Finnish rap: Gasellit!

Sillis participants will also get to revel in the rhythms provided by the awesome Saattue DJs.

In the Chill area, you can enjoy relaxing yoga, take a strategic rest in the nap room or escape into the movies in our film room. The tenseness of the previous night is driven away from your muscles and your mind invigorated by a professional masseur from VALA Group Lounge and a refreshing juice bar!

In the Thrill area, you can test your skills chittering away in a livelily avian way – in the bird karaoke! You can also conquer the karaoke crown in the awesome Singa karaoke that is sure to include all your favourite songs. Some speed to this thrilling Sillis is provided by the console games in the game lounge and, of course, the student classic beer pong.

The steaming thrilling/chill/sill mood is raised to the optimal temperature by the Sillis hot tub and sauna, so definitely remember to grab your swimming and sauna gear with you!

Take a helping of herrings or a mouthful of mocktails – the Sillis obviously would not be much without food and drinks, provided by our tasty cooperation partners, including Hoviruoka, Aitokaura and Baba’s food. We will be serving treats such as mocktails, pulled oats pizza, vihis and lihis pastries, salads, hummus, quark snacks, soft ice, popcorn and cotton candy.

NOTE: With the food offered at the Sillis, we have prioritised the most vital part – nourishing the participants. Please bring your own bottles if you wish to have some bubbly or other drinks. We have a storage space for bubbly drinks available during the Sillis to ensure that your festive drinks remain at your reach, safe and cool!

There will be lots to experience at the Sillis, but please remember to also immortalise your unforgettable HYY150 Sillis moments at the Sillis photo wall – and grab your friends along too!

The official hashtag of the party: #hyy150sillis



The Student Union of the University of Helsinki is celebrating its 150-year journey this year. In November, HYY is organising over 30 Anniversary events of various sizes. The Student Union will celebrate its 150th Anniversary at the Old Student House on 24. On HYY’s actual Anniversary date, Monday 26 November, we will host the influencing event Tomorrow is shaped NOW in the Old Student House, turning our eyes towards the future. The HYY150 Festival, preceding the Anniversary weekend, is also full of interesting events.

HYY150 Festival on 10–24 November 2018

The HYY150 Festival puts together the most exciting events of the organisations, student nations and committees operating under HYY. The events will be organised for two weeks on the campuses of the University and in key areas of Helsinki. The programme includes concerts, discussion events and seminars. See the full festival programme here.


The Festival is opened by the grand concert of the Student Union’s musical corporations, titled Tulen synty (‘the origin of fire’). The concert is held in the Great Hall of the University on Saturday 10 November and features symphony orchestra Ylioppilaskunnan Soittajat, male choir Ylioppilaskunnan Laulajat, female choir Lyran and male choir Akademen. The evening’s programme offers a taste of the wide skillset of the musical corporations.

Ylioppilaskunnan Laulajat will also perform on Thursday 22 November on the stage of Apollo Live Club. The YLtamat concert is full of light music and includes quartets and pop songs arranged for a male choir, for instance.

The Perspectives ’18 – Electronic music in HYY concert organised by Synkooppi ry, the organisation of musicology students, celebrates the shared history of the electronic music studio of HYY and the University of Helsinki. The concert is inspired by HYY’s 100th anniversary record, Perspectives ’68 – Music in Finland, released in November 1968. The concert is held in the Orion cinema on Saturday 17 November.


Many of the Festival’s other events take a look at the Student Union’s past. The historical photo exhibition Pioneers by HYY’s Development Cooperation Committee showcases the student movement’s role in development cooperation from the 1950s to the present day. The exhibition is open to everyone and tours the campuses of the City Centre, Kumpula and Viikki on 12–24 November.

You can also learn about HYY’s history in the Anniversary seminars of the Friends of the History of the Student Union of the University of Helsinki, open to everyone. The We never made it to finals seminar provides an overview of students’ party culture on Wednesday 14 November. The English-language Let the imagination reign! – Long term impacts of the 1968 student revolt, on the other hand, deals with the legacy of the 1968 student movement in the spirit of the occupation of the Old Student House 50 years ago. The latter seminar is held in the Music Hall of the Old Student House on Thursday 22 November.

For those interested in the history of student nations, there are guided tours available in two student nation houses. The theme of the tour held at the house of Nylands Nation on 19 November is the occupation of the building in 1918. On 12 November, open doors at Hämäläisten talo allow you to view both the house itself and an art exhibition featuring rarely exhibited pieces of art.

Discussion events

The HYY150 Festival also includes seminars and discussion events where expert speeches are combined with student perspectives. The theme of the FutureWorks event organised by HYY’s working life sector is the work of the future. The large working life event is organised at the Think Corner on Wednesday 21 November and features keynote speeches on issues such as digitalisation, robotisation and technological development as well as discussion panels and workshops. The event is free and open to everyone. Sign up here!

The Luokka & Yliopisto (‘Class & University’) discussion panel organised on Monday 19 November by the Independent Left deals with the status of students with a working-class background in an academic environment. The panellists discussing the theme are Social Scientist, Psychotherapist Katriina Järvinen and Doctoral Researcher Susanna Mikkonen.

Kompleksi ry’s event at Terkko Health Hub on Friday 16 November, on the other hand, focuses on encountering sexual and gender minorities in patient work. The event is hosted by Trasek ry’s vice chair, Kasper Kivistö.


RunoSoul 2018, a poetry event organised by students of Finnish literature and comparative literature, brings debutant poets and music onto the Vintti stage of Korjaamo Culture Factory on Wednesday 14 November. The traditional event is held for the fifteenth time this year, featuring poets Stina Saari, Miia Kontro, Tuukka Pietarinen and Nelli Ruotsalainen. The jury includes essayist and translator Antti Nylén and poetry researcher Katja Seutu.

HYY’s members have produced supplementary activities to celebrate the Anniversary year in connection with the Helsinki Art Museum HAM’s Gilbert & George exhibition, too. In THE MAJOR STUDENT DAY event organised on the museum’s premises on Thursday 22 November, the exhibition will be supplemented by activities such as a zine workshop by the Groteski magazine, Sub ry’s work of art appro and Kumous ry’s discussion panel on the future. Those who have a student card will also have free entry.

Anniversary Weekend 24-25 November

The festival will culminate in HYY’s 150th Anniversary at the Old Student House on 24 November.

After the HYY150 Anniversary, the party continues at The Circus in the form of the HYY150 Birthday Party – the most legendary party of the Anniversary year which you simply cannot miss. The Birthday Party is open to all HYY’s members and starts at 10 pm.

The Anniversary weekend is crowned by the epic, unbridled and delightful HYY150 Sillis on Sunday 25 November. You can look forward to good food, music, completely novel programme and, of course, glorious company.

Buy tickets to the events here!

Tomorrow is shaped NOW, 26 November

HYY’s actual Anniversary is celebrated on Monday 26 November, and the Tomorrow is shaped NOW influencing event is held on the date. The event will fill the Old Student House with future-oriented speeches and topics that cover a wide spectrum of society.

The two stages in the event will host discussions on wide-reaching themes related to the future from the perspective of the student movement. The topics include sustainable development, corporate responsibility, students’ social security, the work of the future, students’ mental health, climate anxiety and leadership.

In the event, we will also look back on the occupation of the Old Student House, which happened 50 years ago.

Come and celebrate the 150-year-old Student Union of the University of Helsinki!

Learn more:

Press release, 7 November 2018

The Representative Council elections of the Student Union of the University of Helsinki have ended. Voter turnout in the elections was 33.26%, whereas the turnout in the previous elections in 2016 was 31.61%. Voting in the elections, held electronically for the second time, was organised on 31 October–2 November and 5–7 November.

Maailmanpyörä, formed by HYY’s Greens and the Independent Left, was the winner of the elections

Maailmanpyörä, consisting of HYY’s Greens and the Independent Left, emerged as the winner of the elections. The alliance now achieved a total of 20 seats on the council, with HYY’s Greens getting 11 and the Independent Left 9 seats. The Greens increased their number of seats by two and the Independent Left by one seat.

Besides Maailmanpyörä, the group to have increased their number of seats in HYY’s Representative Council the most was Svenska Nationer och Ämnesföreningar, consisting of Swedish-language student nations and subject organisations, which increased its number of seats from three to six.

HYAL, formed by subject organisations, received the second most seats after Maailmanpyörä. As such, it remains the largest independent group with its 16 seats. HELP, which consists of subject organisations from veterinary medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, medicine and law, retained its 9 seats, and the electoral alliance of student nations has four seats.

The subject organisations’ HYAL had been the largest electoral alliance in the Representative Council elections throughout the 2010s, with Maailmanpyörä in second place.

Some political groups failed to achieve any seats

In addition to HYY’s Greens and the Independent Left, the political groups to retain seats on the Representative Council are Edistykselliset, consisting of students of the National Coalition Party with four seats and Centre Students Finland’s Keskeiset with one seat. The Social Democratic Students’ Association (OSY) dropped out of the Council after losing its two seats.

The other political groups – the Finns Party’s electoral coalition, the Liberal electoral coalition and the Pirates – remained without seats. These groups have no seats in the present Representative Council either.

The new political electoral alliance to nominate candidates for the elections, Vapauden puolesta, which was formed by Blue Reform and Christian Democrats, also received no seats.

Candidates with the most votes in the elections

The candidates that received the most votes in the elections were Sebastian Österman from HYY’s Greens with 143 votes and Jessika Isomeri from the HYAL Kumpula list with 100 votes. Österman was elected into HYY’s Representative Council in 2016, whereas Isomeri was elected into the Council as a new representative.

Candidate numbers remained nearly the same

There were 591 candidates in the elections. In the previous elections in 2016, the number of candidates was 597. There were 11 alliances that nominated candidates for the elections, with some of these groups likely to act in the Representative Council as several separate groups. The groups participating in HYY’s elections have varying backgrounds: some are independent groups formed by subject organisations or student nations and some are political groups.

HYY’s Representative Council elections are held to elect the Student Union's highest decision-making body, the 60-member Representative Council. All HYY’s members, around 26,000 students at the University of Helsinki, were eligible to vote in the elections. The Representative Council has the highest decision-making power in HYY and makes decisions on issues such as the Student Union’s budget of several million euros, its major policies on the organisations operating within the Student Union, the University and society, and the business direction of the company the Student Union owns, HYY Group. In addition to this, the Representative Council appoints HYY’s Board and chairs as well as the student members of the Board of the University of Helsinki.

The election result and the results for previous years are available at


Maailmanpyörä 20 (+3)
HYAL 16 (-2)
Representative Council group HELP 9 (0)
Svenska Nationer och Ämnesföreningar - SNÄf 6 (+3)
Edistykselliset 5 (-1)
Osakuntalainen vaalirengas 4 (-1)
Social Democratic Students’ Association (OSY) 0 (-2)
Finns Party’s electoral coalition 0 (0)
Vapauden puolesta – Blue Reform and Christian Democrats 0 (0)
Pirates 0 (0)
Liberal electoral coalition 0 (0)

Further information

Secretary General Aaro Riitakorpi
040 0816 426

Chair of the Student Union Suvi Pulkkinen
050 404 1810

Election Coordinator Silva Loikkanen
046 921 7850

Whether you are satisfied with your Student Union’s current direction or ready to change course, use your right to vote at

Elections are conducted on 31st of October to the 2nd of November and  5th-7th of November.

The policy decisions made by the Representative Council affect every single one of the around 27,000 students of the University of Helsinki, whose voice HYY’s Representative Council is elected to represent. By voting in the elections, you are having your say on what kind of issues the Student Union focuses on and how it uses its funds. As HYY cooperates closely with the City of Helsinki, your vote also affects developments related to student housing and public transport. In other words, these are elections you should vote in!

If you are still wondering which candidate you should give your vote to, use the candidate matcher to help you! It is available at

Further information on the elections is available here