And of course this big government entitlement is now cemented into Finnish thinking as…a right. Please do take note of how easy the bureaucrat at the Education Ministry labels higher education as being…free.
“Education is free, and so of course carries a certain obligation to complete a degree. This is especially true, as it’s known that we may be facing a labour shortage within a few years,” points out Ari Saarinen of the Education Ministry.”
NOTE: No their education is not free, every single student is subsidized by the Finnish taxpayer (whether they want to or not), including those who couldn’t quite make it into the university themselves and had to join the labor market.
A telephone survey of the nation’s universities found that almost every student who has asked for more time to complete a degree has been allowed to stay in degree programmes past the seven year limit.
The exception was a slightly more strict Aalto University, and a few individual cases elsewhere.
“Every student who had a clear study plan and intends to take a degree was granted more time,” explains Mikko Markkola, the head of the student affairs office at the University of Tampere.
A total of 240 students at Aalto University applied for an extension. The requests are still being processed, but the student affairs office there estimates that 210 of them will be approved.
Until 2005, in theory, students could stay enrolled forever without finishing a degree. This year is the first time that some students have faced a limit on study time.