UiS will not follow UiB and OsloMet

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In a letter adressed to StOr and ISU, UiS explains why they will not establish a crisis fund for international students, like UiB and OsloMet has done. 

The UiS understands that this is a critical situation for the students concerned, though we believe that national schemes must be introduced if state aid is to be granted to various groups of students affected by the crisis“, the letter signed pro-rector for education Astrid Birgitte Eggen writes. She highlights the governments new salary compensation as a good national scheme.

Under the new scheme, the employers wage obligation is reduced to two days, and compensation to laid-off workers is guaranteed for 18 days after the employer has paid for the first two days.

– This means that those who are not entitled to unemployment benefits, such as students, will receive salary compensation for 18 days, said minister of labor- and social affair, Torbjørn Røe Isaksen last week.

A request for a crisis fund was put up by the student parliament on behalf of, among others, ISU. UiB and OsloMet’s crisis funds allow international students to apply for up to 10,000 kroner in funding, under certain conditions. The request was adressed by UiS’s strategic contingency management on Friday 17th of April.

Hope for a solution

– It is very difficult for the University to provide financial support if they don’t have anyone further supporting, but we believe there are some other ways for doing this and they should keep working on it. We hope a solution will come in the future, Hans Herrera Navarro of the ISU says to SmiS.

In ISU’s response to the Pro-Rector the write that they understand that the UiS cannot establish a crisis fund at this time.

“We understand that it will be very difficult to provide any kind of support for students if there is no further backing from the National Government. As we have expressed in our social media platforms, we are aware of a general intention to help vulnerable student communities throughout the country, and assistance has been provided until some extension”, the letter writes. 

– Despite International Students have had a couple of good news like salary compensation, it is still not guaranteed all students will be positively impacted. I am less concerned than before, but ISU is still concerned. Apart from the living expenses, there are other concerns about mental health that we are not reaching. Some students are insecure about if they will be able to finish their degree. Uni have been in contact, but we have to be sure if it is reaching them effectively, Navarro says.

SiS will adress the wish

ISU has for several weeks worked to better the terms for international students at UiS during the pandemic-situation. In their response the organisation highlights the survey they conducted last week, and that in most cases it is rent cost that are students biggest problem. They point out that many of their members are stressed out and anxious about their ability to complete their education.

Already some have asked SiS to reduce rent costs for vulnerable groups. So did Velferdstinget last week. Among the different corona-measures they request from SiS was the following:

SiS will give vulnerable groups (international students, students with children, sick- and disabled students) who has lost their income opportunities the possibility of reduced rental costs until it is believed that alternatives have been provided that safeguard these groups financially”.

The board of SiS will adress this matter, and the remaining measures at their board meeting on Thursday 23rd of April.

Read UiS’ whole statement here. 
Read ISU’s whole response here. 

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