Parents to get more study support

From the beginning of next year all students with children are to receive extra financial support. The government has promised an extra 480 kronor per month to all parents in further education.

but the Swedish National Union of Students says that doesn’t go far enough.

According to a report by CSN, which handles financial aid for students, 28% of female students and 13% of male students are parents.

“Everyone knows that students don’t have a great deal of money and it’s especially tough for children of parents who study,” said the minister for adult education Lena Hallengren.

Svenska Dagbladet noted that the increase was first promised in 2004’s spring budget but only now have the government, the Left Party and the Green Party been able to agree on how the support should be structured.

The payment for one child under the age of 18 will be 480 kronor for a four week period. A parent with two children will receive almost 800 kronor and the amount per child will decrease with more children. Where both parents are studying, the payment will only be made once.

The government estimates that the total cost will be 450 million kronor, which will be taken from a one billion kronor fund already earmarked for children in poorer families.

Lotta Ljungquist, vice chairman of the Swedish National Union of Students, SFS, told SvD that while she welcomed the government’s investment in parents, the SFS considered that the amount fell short of what they need.

“Our calculations show that a student with a child is set back 1,600 kronor a month, so this is too little money,” said Ljungquist.

“The study support system is built on the notion that you are forced to work on the side. It’s extra hard for students with children to find the time to work parallel with studying.”

The government has also announced that it will raise the age limit for student loans. As Dagens Nyheter explained, the options for a loan are reduced from the age of 41 and people over 50 are not entitled to a loan at all. These ages are to be raised to 45 and 54 respectively.

“If we are to have lifelong learning it is important that it is financially possible to study,” said Lena Hallengren.

Sources: Dagens Nyheter, Svenska Dagbladet