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Education fund

During the last election term, there were significant reforms to the loan fund system, the Icelandic Student Loan Fund was replaced by the Student Education Fund. That change was accompanied by, among other things, a 30% reduction in the principal amount and price reductions if studies are completed within a certain time, for the benefit of students. The current student loan system is due to be reviewed in the upcoming election period, and therefore a unique opportunity for us to make an impact, there is much that can be improved. The free income limit for student loans must be abolished, but as it stands, rights to student loans are reduced by 45 ISK for every 100 ISK. that the borrower earns more than ISK 1,410,000. in a year. The basic maintenance of the student loans must be increased so that they are based on the typical consumption standards of the Ministry of Social Affairs. Both are useful for improving students' financial situation. Consider putting an interest rate cap on the student loans. Finally, the transparency of the fund needs to be increased so that the applicant knows what to expect when applying for a student loan.

Correction of basic student support

The basic support of the Student Education Fund is not in accordance with the cost of living in Icelandic society. Single students in rented or owned housing receive around ISK 185,000. per month before cuts from the Education Fund, but for comparison, basic unemployment benefits are ISK 289,510. based on 100% compensation and a minimum salary of ISK 300,000. This is uncomfortable, and Vaka demands that the student loans be greatly increased.

Higher free income limit

In the summer of 2019, the free income limit for students was finally raised from ISK 930,000. and up to ISK 1,330,000. before tax. Vaka celebrates that significant milestone, but it is important to continue the fight and do better. The exemption limit sets the limits that if students work for more than ISK 1,330,000. before tax, in one year the student loans are reduced by ISK 45. for every 100 ISK which are earned in excess of the exempt income limit. The exemption limit and low basic support keep students in a poverty trap as the loans are not high enough to support and students are prevented from working for the difference. Vaka believes it is preferable to tie the free income limit to the salary index so that students do not end up sitting on the hook for more years.

Lower academic progress requirement

Vaka wants the study progress requirement for student loans to be reduced to 18 credits, as it was before. It is important that students have flexibility when it comes to academic progress, as unpredictable circumstances can affect student performance. Vaka wants to ensure that everyone is on an equal footing and has the right to student loans. It would be possible to implement this so that the learning progress requirement is based on the learning rate in percentages and not the number of credits.

Students on loan fund councils

Vaka believes it is important that students have a voice in loan fund matters. In this way, we can have a real impact on our interests. Student representatives have already received two seats in the consultation group of the Student Education Fund, and Vaka wants students to be guaranteed continued involvement in the work of such issues.

Refine the subsidy system

Vaka proposes that students be given a year's flexibility, i.e. two semesters, in order to complete their studies without their rights being impaired, since students' situations are different.

Changed the arrangement of child support loan

Vaka believes that there is a great need for a changed payment arrangement for child support loans. Students should be able to receive child support loans from the Students' Fund during the summer, but the current system does not allow this. It would also be preferable for the child support loan to be paid out monthly to the municipal collection agency, as will be done in the new bill with traditional student loans.

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