Surprised: Leader of the Norwegian Student Organization, Therese Eia Lerøen, rejoices over the extension of the financial support. Stock Photo: Adrian Nielsen.
Surprised: Leader of the Norwegian Student Organization, Therese Eia Lerøen, rejoices over the extension of the financial support. Stock Photo: Adrian Nielsen.

Students concerned about their economy

37 percent of students are worried about their economy. Leader of NSO, Therese Eia Lerøen, believes an additional month of study support is a much needed step in the right direction.

Students' financial situation is a source of great or very great concern for more than one in three students. It shows the results of a recent survey conducted by Sentio on behalf of the Norwegian student organization (NSO) and Universitas.

– It really is a pity that so many students are worried about their economy. We want students to be faced with academic and not financial demands. Students have many concerns already, it is unnecessary that economy should be yet another stressful element, says leader of NSO Therese Eia Lerøen.

In a similar survey conducted at the same time two years ago 33 percent responded that they were concerned about the same issues. After two years with a new government, Lerøen is pleased that steps are taken to improve students' financial situation.

– Forced to work

According to the survey, more than 60 percent of students have a part-time job alongside their studies, and almost half of them are in a job that is of low or very low relevance to their studies. According to Lerøen, the current study support doesn’t cover more than the most elementary, referring to Statistics Norway's living conditions survey from 2010 where one finding is that 74 percent of the study support goes to living expenses.

– The solution is often an extra job, support from parents or both. We see also that students are forced into part-time jobs that are not relevant to the education they are taking. This reduces time spent on studies, and the feeling of belonging to campus. A feeling of belonging in the study period is shown to be important both for motivation and completing of studies, says the NSO leader.

– Right direction

NSO has long called for a greater boost of the financial support. Lerøen calls the government and the supporting parties’ student initiative, and now the extension of financial support, «historical».

– The 11th month of financial support means that students get their rent covered in June. It is an important contribution to enable students to focus on their studies and many are happy about the decision, she says.

– Were there many sighs of relief after the 11 months financial support was decided?

– Now, it is primarily new students and students early in the course of study that will benefit from this. But with new student housing and an additional month of study support we are heading in the right direction, says Lerøen.