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EU Representatives: "Internationals won't qualify for SU"

Danish politicians debating EU court ruling on SU didn't think that international students would qualify for the Danish grant scheme

When Danish politicians met to debate the recent EU court ruling that all EU citizens should be eligible for SU (the ‘Danish student wage’), they didn’t think that international students were likely to qualify for it.

Every month, Danish students receive DKK 5.753 (approximately EUR 750) before tax. The EU court ruled that this should be extended to all EU citizens studying in Denmark, raising fears that this could ruin the Danish education system.

The politicians, who debated at Europahuset (Danish for ‘the Europe House’) Thursday 19 September, weren’t too concerned: EU representatives Bendt Bendtsen of the Conservative People’s Party and Ole Christensen of the Social Democrats, and SU-spokesperson Mads Rørvig of Venstre, the Liberal Party of Denmark, didn’t think that many international students would qualify for SU in Denmark.

Educating for work

Instead, they were concerned with the SU system itself.

Bendt Bendtsen suggested that the amount of SU should vary from subject to subject. He thinks people should take degrees that are most likely to lead to a job in the future, and that SU should reflect this.

Ole Christensen protested: “Education is for life, not just work,” he said.

Loans could replace grants

Mads Rørvig would like to see a new SU reform within the decade, and thought that “Danish students are over-privileged,”. He doesn’t see the need for SU to last for six years, and wants reforms to encourage students to complete their degrees in less time.

If the SU system isn’t to collapse as a result of the EU court ruling, it could be changed from a grant to a loan, Bendt Bendtsen suggested. This could then be paid back in the form of a tax during the first six years after completing a degree.

“In this way the degree is ultimately paid for, but it doesn’t favour any particular social group as paying tuition fees upfront would. And it encourages graduates to stay in Denmark.” he said.

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