This is a short story written by one participant in “Saako oppia” –project. They have recently started in open UAS (university of applied sciences) path studies in Finland. Their studies are supported by unemployment benefit from the TE Office. They hope that this is a path to become admitted as a degree student for full-time studies.
Participant has experienced studying in Finland as an amazing thing. They remember seeing ads of different schools on the metro wall or in their email, even before they realized that was what they needed.
They still feel like the choice between different programs has been challenging and required a lot of effort. They feel like it’s a lot of homework before you can choose your top programs for the application. They had to take consideration not only the program itself, but also the odds of getting accepted during the exams and policy. They mention the first-time application benefit policy and the fact that there is a Finnish section in the test.
Thoughts on studying in open UAS path studies?
Open paths were a new thing for the participant. It helped them to get a taste of the degree program before going through the application process. However, they feel like they were not getting enough information about what is going to happen after they reach the 30 credits from the open UAS studies. They feel like it’s a risk of the unemployment benefit if they use it all to study in the open studies, if in the end they won’t be able to join the full-time studies.
Accessibility: social integration and economic obstacles
Participant says that the student life is amazing, although it costs a lot. As an open-path student they don’t have any of those benefits from Kela. They feel like a school lunch or HSL ticket might bankrupt them. There are also a lot of wonderful student activities, but it requires an entrance fee or a membership fee. Because of those fees, they feel like it is very hard to actually join the normal student life. They wonder where all the money comes from for Finnish students.
Participant says that they have calculated how much money it takes to be a student. An overall, to feel like a part of the group it costs around 50 euros. Membership, that gets you into different student activities cheaper costs about 20 euros for a study season. Lunch and coffee in school day that would help the social life of a student with school snacks and refreshments also costs a lot. Also, the activities after school costs from 10 euros up to 100 euros. They are worried of all the costs of student life, but they are still willing to do anything to achieve a degree and to say goodbye to Kela -and cheap jobs.
Note about open UAS studies and path studies in Finland: Open UAS studies are open to anyone interested in studying. There are no previous education or age requirements. Path studies are a 30- or 60-credit entity, after which you can apply to become a degree student trough separate application process. You can read more from HUMAK open UAS studies (opens to a new website): https://www.humak.fi/en/education/studying-at-the-open-university/